How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Colorado
Nurse administrators are leaders within their communities from a care and business perspective. Their skills run the gamut from interpersonal to clinical, and they’re often counted on to bring a sense of connection and business acumen to their place of work.
A nurse administrator supervises nurses and certain healthcare team members in everything from hospital departments to physicians’ offices to long-term care facilities and more. They’re often responsible for hiring and reviewing nurses as well as overseeing work schedules, budgets and continued training. From a larger organizational perspective, nurse administrators may also write and enforce policy while ensuring everything runs smoothly for patients and staff alike. Becoming a nurse administrator in Colorado makes for an exciting career choice.
How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Colorado
To be a nurse administrator, you’ll want to start by becoming an RN. This typically requires a four-year baccalaureate degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but some programs are a bit more flexible if you’re working on a longer timeline. Once you’ve earned your BSN and become a nurse, you’ll want to give yourself at least one to two years to practice as an RN before pursuing a graduate degree in nurse administration. Graduate degrees aren’t required to become a nurse administrator, but you’re often a more competitive candidate the more education and leadership experience you have under your belt.
Graduate degrees will also help prepare you to take national exams like the Nursing Executive certification (NE-BC), which is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE). The ANCC and the AONE are national organizations that set the standards for healthcare credentials and leadership. While you could still attain a position as a nurse administrator if you’re a seasoned leader and RN, working toward these additional certifications could give you an edge on the market. The projected growth rate for the nurse administrator profession is 32%, which means there will be ample opportunities for jobs now and in the future. The average salary of a nurse administrator in Colorado is $110,319. Leadership is a complex and evolving field in the medical world and stepping up to fill those higher-level roles requires a particular set of skills. If you’re in a place where you want to work full-time while going to school, you’ll want to check out some of the online and hybrid programs below. Choosing the right fit will set you up for success and allow you to make the most of your continuing education.
Best Nursing Leadership Programs in Colorado
The University of Colorado College of Nursing (CU Nursing) is part of a public university system with four campuses throughout the state in the cities of Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver. CU Nursing has a prestigious reputation for being the original birthplace of nurse practitioner programs. The school features the most extensive medical campus in the Rocky Mountain Region. It enrolls around 4,500 health professionals, 1,400 of whom are pursuing master’s degrees.
CU Nursing offers an online MSN in Nursing Leadership and Health Systems through i-LEAD (Innovation in Leadership and Administration in Nursing and Health Care Systems). Because the degree can be completed online, the program works to keep tuition costs low for both in-state and out-of-state students. Another highlight of the program is that, upon completing the master’s, students can earn a post-master certificate in Health Care Informatics to grow their skills and further boost their eligibility on the market. Students will take classes in healthcare informatics, leadership and systems theory, as well as policy. The program also includes an administrative internship that can be done in the student’s local community.
To qualify for admission, prospective students must complete an application and submit the $50 fee. Additionally, students should hold a BSN with a 3.0 GPA and an active RN license, meet CU’s technical standards and have taken undergraduate statistics courses. To finish the application process, you’ll also need to submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a CV and complete an interview.
The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a public doctoral research university with 113 graduate degree programs. It enrolls around 2,900 students while maintaining a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school is situated between the Rocky Mountains and the high plains in the northern part of the state and works to acknowledge the indigenous history of the land upon which it sits.
UNC offers an MSN with a concentration in Leadership, Quality & Safety that can be completed entirely online and allows you to do your practicum hours at your current place of work or a healthcare facility nearby. Students in the program will take coursework that focuses primarily on safety and evidence-based best practices. The classes include topics like nursing theory, management of clinical outcomes and environment, as well as integrative clinical concepts. While this program doesn’t prepare students for an advanced practice role, it could be a great option to grow your knowledge and skills. Students will have to pass a comprehensive exam.
To be accepted, students must apply to the UNC Graduate School and submit two professional references. Additionally, you’ll need to send in your official transcripts proving you hold a bachelor’s degree, CV, a personal statement and a copy of your RN license.
Regis University (RU) is a private Jesuit university in Denver with over 120 degrees and programs and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. RU received a number one ranking for best nursing programs in Colorado in 2021 from niche.com.
At RU, you can get an MSN in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems that can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format with students coming to campus for in-person classes. The program focuses on developing leadership skills that will equip graduates to become Nurse Managers, Directors, Clinical Nursing Instructors and more. Students can expect to take courses on ethics, healthcare policy, financial management, etc. This program also offers optional certificates in Healthcare Education, Business Management, Quality and Patient Safety and Informatics for those who want to focus on a specific subject.
To meet acceptance criteria into RU’s program, students must complete an online application and submit official transcripts and a resume or CV. You’ll also need to hold a BSN from an accredited program with at least a 2.75 GPA, have an active RN license, and complete a statistics course with a grade of “C” or better.
Colorado State University Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) is a public university located in Pueblo, Colorado, about 100 miles south of Denver. CSU-Pueblo enrolls around 4,000 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1.
CSU-Pueblo offers an online MSN in Nurse Manager and Leader that allows students to create an individualized plan with projects specific to their goals. Coursework for the program includes classes on subjects like research, biostatistics, ethics, policy, human resources and more. To graduate, you’ll need to maintain a 3.0 GPA, pass all courses with a “B” or higher, take an oral exam, or submit a directed research project or a thesis.
To get into CSU-Pueblo’s program, prospective students must hold a BSN with a 3.0 GPA and a Colorado nursing license, as well as have completed at least one undergraduate statistics course with a grade higher than a “C.” You’ll also need to have a CPR certification, submit an immunizations record, three letters of recommendation, a CV and a letter of intent.
Colorado Technical University (CTU) is a private university with its main campus sitting in Colorado Springs that has been ranked in the top online master’s in nursing programs for four consecutive years.
CTU’s MSN in Nurse Administration centers on relationship-building strategies, ethics and fiscal responsibility, empowering their graduates to be advocates for positive change within their working environments. Outside of completing a practicum, the MSN can be completed entirely online and benefits those who are continuing to work as they pursue their degree. Students take core courses in healthcare informatics, policy, advanced nursing practice, promoting diversity and more. Once those core courses are complete, students take classes specific to complex administrative scenarios they might encounter in the field. Those classes include subjects like finance, quality care, healthcare systems and strategic planning. To graduate, you’ll also be required to complete a practicum, which can be done at your current place of work.
To be accepted into the program, you’ll need to hold an active RN license and a BSN with a 3.0 GPA. Suppose you do not have a 3.0 GPA but meet all other general admissions requirements. In that case, CTU may admit you on a provisional basis. This way, you’d be able to take two courses toward your master’s degree before being officially admitted into the MSN program. Additionally, prospective students will need to submit transcripts and an application for review. Further details about the application process can be found here by entering your details and chatting with an admissions advisor.