How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Alabama

Nurse administrators play an essential role in the healthcare field and will be in high demand as time progresses due to the aging US population. You can begin a new career as a nurse administrator with the proper education and training. Nurse administrators manage the daily activities of nurses and auxiliary medical staff. As a nurse administrator, you might find yourself working in one of the following locations: hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools or clinics.

Employment Outlook for Nurse Administrators in Alabama

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse administrators employed in Alabama can expect an average salary of $79,660 annually. The bottom 10 percent average earnings of $58,920 per year while the top 90 percent average $149,990 per year. Salaries typically vary depending on your experience, education and certifications. They are also affected by your employer’s location, the nature of their business and the requirements of your job.

What a Job as a Nurse Administrator Entails

Your main goal as a nurse administrator is to maintain the daily routine of the nursing staff so that they achieve the highest level of consistent patient care. It will be your responsibility to ensure that all nurses are properly trained and maintain the required certifications to continue providing top-notch care. You might also find yourself creating policies, adhering to budget requirements and caring personally for patients when necessary.

A strong sense of leadership is key to being a success in this field, but you will also report to other staff members who may dictate certain portions of your job and expect you to implement them to their satisfaction. Usually, you’ll find yourself reporting to the head of the nursing care staff or a member of the health facility’s administration, but it will depend on what setting in which you find yourself employed.

Requirements for Becoming a Nurse Administrator in Alabama

To become a nurse administrator in Alabama, you must first become a registered nurse. This requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an unencumbered nursing license, but certain employers might also require that you have a master’s degree. You will also find that most employers will look at your work experience to make sure you have considerable experience working in the nursing field.

Currently, 16 colleges in Alabama offer the BSN degree. Tuition will depend on which school you select, the type of degree you intend to complete, and whether you opt to take classes online, in person or a combination of the two. You can expect to pay between $32,196 and $51,829 in tuition at a public university, but you will also need to consider supplies, books, room and board, all of which may add to this cost. Out-of-state students also pay substantially more tuition than those living in Alabama.

Overall, Alabama boasts one of the highest National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) passing rate averages in the United States at well over 92 percent, putting their nursing schools at the top of the list for quality education. There is no doubt that one of the schools below will look good on your resume when you apply for that nurse administrator job in the future.

Top Ranking Advanced Nursing Programs in Alabama

1. University of Alabama (UA), Tuscaloosa

The University of Alabama offers both a BSN and an RN to BSN program. A whopping 95.1 percent of the students who receive their BSN from this university go on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. UA provides nursing education through its Capstone College of Nursing (CCN). Graduates of CCN leave the program with the skills required to achieve licensure and perform all aspects of a job as a registered nurse. The faculty consists of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced nurses turned professors in the field—all dedicated to passing their skills on to generations of nurses to come so that they are prepared for the next leg of their journey into active nursing or graduate schools.

2. Auburn University (AU), Auburn

AU offers both BSN and RN to BSN programs. A solid 93.3 percent of students achieving a BSN from AU go on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The AU School of Nursing curriculum is designed to provide the skills needed to enter a career as a registered nurse, offering substantial coursework for those just starting their nursing education and those who wish to further an existing associate degree. Graduates of this program are well trained to begin work as a healthcare professional, but it also serves as a foundation for advanced studies. This well-respected program provides a well-rounded academic background that will serve students well who wish to pursue a career as nurse administrators.

3. Samford University (SU), Birmingham

SU offers BSN and Accelerated Second Degree BSN programs. 93.7 percent of students who graduate with one of these degrees go on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and 92 percent are offered employment as registered nurses at the time of graduation. The Moffat and Sanders School of Nursing at SU has been preparing students to enter the workforce as registered nurses for over a century. Their nursing programs provide the education and hands-on skills required to be a success in whatever healthcare setting they choose to pursue. Those graduating from their rigorous curriculum pass the NCLEX-RN with rates well above the average, both statewide and nationally. Moving on to become a nurse administrator should be a breeze.

4. The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), Birmingham

UAB in Birmingham offers a BSN degree as well as an Ra hN to BSN option. 92.8% of the students who complete their BSN program pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The UAB School of Nursing is dedicated to providing the education and skills needed to prepare its graduates to provide top-notch care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings. Graduates of their program enter the workforce in schools, hospitals, clinics and other such healthcare industries. Many go on to achieve higher educations that lead them into the world of scientific research or high-level consultation in fields such as legal or pharmaceutical industries. Students seeking a career as a nurse administrator can’t go wrong with choosing UAB for quality education.

5. University of South Alabama

This university offers a BSN degree, an Accelerated Second Degree BSN, and an RN to BSN Degree Completion curriculum. 88.3 percent of the students who complete their BSN here move on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The BSN program establishes a solid educational base for students who wish to become registered nurses. Once the core curriculum is achieved, students can enter the nursing program which is designed to prepare them for careers as healthcare professionals. In addition to their undergraduate program, they offer an accelerated second-degree program that allows those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field to complete the required education to obtain licensure as a registered nurse. They also offer a program for completing an associate degree or diploma in nursing to achieve a BSN, allowing graduates to start a career as an RN and move into the job of nurse administrator.

While these are the top schools, they are not the only ones. Your location, costs and other personal circumstances may dictate where you choose to attend school. There are many more universities that can provide you with the education you need to be successful in your career. Research the ones you are interested in attending and choose what best suits you and fulfills the requirements to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse administrator.

Additional Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator in Alabama

Once you’ve achieved your BSN degree at a suitable university, you will need to pass the Alabama Nursing Board (ABN) exam to become a licensed registered nurse. The ABN requires that you provide proof of successful completion of the applicable degree program, college transcripts, proof of US citizenship or documentation showing legal residence to request testing.

Next, you will be required to pass the NCLEX-RN to be granted a nursing license in Alabama. Once you’ve submitted all of your information, you will be permitted to take the NCLEX, which will be administered by Pearson VUE. Proper government identification will be required on the day of the exam.

Applying to Become a Nurse Administrator

After being issued a license as a registered nurse, you can begin applying for jobs as a nurse administrator. Your main obstacle at this point will likely be a lack of experience. You might overcome this if you have transitioned from a licensed practical nurse, converted a previous diploma-based RN degree to a BSN, or previously worked in some health-related occupation that might garner interest in you as a potential candidate.

If your experience is limited, you will want to begin work immediately as a registered nurse to gain the experience, skills, and knowledge required to become an effective leader in your field. While working as RN, you will need to complete all continuing education credits required and maintain your license in good standing. Any lapses can reflect poorly on your ability to organize and affect your employment as a nurse.

The competition for a position as a nurse administrator is much stiffer than what you’ll find when applying for a position in the general field as a registered nurse, but with a good education, solid work reputation and determination, you can achieve your goal of obtaining this career.