How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Arizona

The role of a nurse administrator is to guide, supervise, and train nursing staff while also ensuring the team provides quality patient care. Nurse administrators are typically registered nurses (RNs) who have completed an advanced degree in nursing, healthcare leadership, or both. There are no legal licensing requirements, but to become a nurse administrator in Arizona, you must have relevant education and work experience.

What Do Nurse Administrators Do?

Nurse administrators are in charge of teams of nurses in many different healthcare settings. They are generally nurses first, so they understand the job. Their roles include manager, administrator, leader, mentor, and coach. Some of the regular duties of a nurse administrator are:

  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and mentoring nursing staff and sometimes support staff
  • Organizing professional development opportunities
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations
  • Managing finances
  • Improving the quality of patient care
  • Creating staffing schedules
  • Organizing and maintaining patient records
  • Communicating with doctors, board members, and other leaders

What Do You Need to Be a Nurse Administrator in Arizona?

Arizona does not set education, training, or licensing requirements for nurse administrators like other states. However, most employers only hire nurse leaders with certain degrees and certifications. In general, you will need to take these steps to be ready to work in nursing administration:

Once you are an RN, you will need to gain some work experience as a nurse. Very few employers will hire a nurse administrator who has never actually worked as a nurse. A few years is ideal but aim to work for at least one year as a nurse in any healthcare setting.

Either while working as a nurse or during a break from working, enroll in and complete a relevant graduate degree. This can be a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, but there should be a leadership component. You might also consider seeking a Master of Business Administration degree. The job of a nurse administrator requires both nursing skills and knowledge of business and management.

Arizona Nurse Leadership Programs

Arizona schools offer a variety of programs that can help you advance your career from nurse to nurse administrator. Your options include online programs, master’s degrees in nursing or healthcare leadership, and doctoral nursing degrees.

1. The University of Arizona, Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Nursing offers a variety of programs and degrees for many different career goals, including many online options. For nurses interested in leadership roles, there are a few choices.

The Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership degree prepares graduates to lead teams in a variety of healthcare settings. The program emphasizes interprofessional collaboration, evidence-based quality care, healthcare technology, coordinated care transitions, and the application of theory in patient care systems.

The MSN degree is offered completely online. Depending on how you schedule courses, you can finish the program in as little as 15 months. Coursework includes foundations of systems leadership, leadership and patient-centered care, health information and technologies, population health, and more.

If you’re more interested in business-related healthcare leadership, choose the Master of Healthcare Management degree. The program focuses on healthcare economics, finance, healthcare information technology, healthcare accounting, and healthcare quality.

Arizona also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice. This degree program is general in its scope and can prepare graduates for a variety of careers, including those in nursing leadership and administration.

2. Arizona State University, Tempe

The Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU offers a Master of Science degree in Nursing for nurses hoping to advance their careers. While the Edson College campus is in downtown Phoenix, the MS program is delivered online.

The program trains nurses interested in taking a new step in their careers. There are four key areas of study offered in the program: patient safety and healthcare quality, evidence-based practice, informatics, and leadership. This is a general nursing degree but one that can lead to a career in leadership and nursing administration.

Coursework in the program includes advanced practice nursing, individual and innovation leadership, advanced health assessment, healthcare evidence, informatics and analysis, and collaboration for improving patient safety and healthcare quality outcomes. Students also complete clinical hours in a role that best suits their future career goals.

For a more general degree that prepares students to be leaders in healthcare, consider the online Master of Healthcare Innovation degree. The program adopts a multidisciplinary approach to provide graduates with what they need to thrive in an industry that is always changing. You must have a bachelor’s degree to be admitted to this program, but you do not need to be a nurse or have a nursing degree.

Online Nurse Administrator Programs in Arizona

Many nursing degrees from a lot of schools are now offered online or in a hybrid format. This makes location less important. Arizona’s two large universities are complemented by a couple of smaller schools based in the state with entirely or almost entirely online programming:

  • Midwestern University. Midwestern has a campus in Glendale in the suburbs of Phoenix. Its College of Health Sciences offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree in Nurse Leadership in Global Health. The program takes 18 months and trains nurses for leadership roles in a variety of healthcare settings. In addition to virtual coursework, students complete 160 hours of practical experience. The school helps students find several practicum sites in their area so that they get a range of experiences.
  • The University of Phoenix. The University of Phoenix allows you to seek an online Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Nurse Administration that includes 36 credit hours and takes about 21 months to finish. The program covers topics like organizational and systems leadership, mentorship, nursing theory, and organizational change. Students who earn the degree are qualified to work as nurse managers, directors, or administrators in hospitals, clinics, and other settings.
  • Grand Canyon University. GCU offers nurses a variety of master’s degree options. The MS in Nursing degree program includes concentrations in public health, informatics, education, and care quality and patient safety. For future administrators, the nursing leadership in health care systems concentration is ideal.

Nursing Administration Certifications

As a nurse administrator, you don’t need to hold certain credentials or a license. All requirements are up to employers. Most require that you are an RN and have a graduate degree. Further certifications might not be necessary, but they can help you advance your career, land a new job, and communicate your skills and training.

One option is to earn the American Nurses Credentialing Center‘s Nurse Executive Certification. This credential is for nurse leaders supervising one staff group. You can also earn the organization’s Nurse Executive Advanced Certification in preparation to lead larger or multiple staff groups. This second certification focuses more on high-level decisions, budgeting and finance, and policy development.

Another professional organization offering certification is the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. The Certified in Executive Nursing Practice credential is a widely-recognized certification for nurse leaders.

Outlook and Salaries for Nurse Administrators in the US and Arizona

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and health services managers will grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030. This is much faster than average job growth and faster than many other healthcare professions. For nationwide median salaries, the BLS reports $101,340 per year and $48.72 per hour.

Projections Central reports even stronger career growth for health service managers for Arizona. This field is growing by 39% and will continue to grow for years to come. The median salaries in Arizona are slightly lower than the national rates but still comparable at $99,900 per year and $48.03 per hour.

Finding Work in Arizona as a Nurse Administrator

Such strong growth in the industry means that it should not be difficult to find a position in Arizona. As long as you have the education and work experience to do the job, employers will be excited to hire you in this region.

Nurse administrators work in all kinds of healthcare settings and throughout the state, wherever people receive medical services. Here are recent examples of job listings in the state to give you an idea of the options:

  • Home health director of nursing, American Premier, Phoenix, $90,000 to $100,000 per year
  • Ambulatory surgery center nurse administrator, Clinical Management Consultants, Paradise Valley, $100,000 to $135,000 per year
  • Clinical supervisor and registered nurse, Aleca Home Health, Phoenix, $85,000 to $95,000 per year
  • Quality improvement nurse, Canyon Surgery Center, Phoenix, $63,800 to $80,800 per year

These are just a few of many lucrative examples of jobs waiting to be filled by qualified nurse administrators. If you want to enjoy a meaningful leadership role in healthcare, this could be the career for you.