How to Become a Nurse Administrator in North Carolina

If you are already a registered nurse with exceptional leadership qualities, routinely take on more managerial roles and are very neat and organized, you might be ready for a role as a Nurse Administrator.

A nurse in North Carolina looking to advance their career to an administrator role has many options. With the right degree and plenty of experience in leadership and administrator roles, you could be ready for more responsibility in this advanced role.

You’ll need at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) before employers consider a candidate for a nursing administrator position. Others may prefer a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as these jobs have more demanding responsibilities. Advanced education and more responsible roles will certainly make your resume stand out from the crowd. All the nursing programs listed here offer both BSN and MSN programs.

Role of Nurse Administrators

While the majority of Registered Nurses are deep in the front lines of patient healthcare, taking vital signs, assisting doctors, and administering medications, Nurse Administrators (NA) have a different set of tasks to maintain. They work more in the management role by supervising employees, implementing training, decision making, working directly with budgets and finances and communicating with CEO’s.

Nurse administrators may also be known as the head or charge nurse, director of nursing, nurse manager, or director of patient services. But they all have similar managerial roles, usually behind a desk, and have less direct interaction in patient care.

Outlook for Nurse Administrators

Over the next five to seven years, it is estimated that job openings in healthcare and nursing management will rise by over 30%. To become qualified for these positions, an RN should start working on getting the needed experience and education to transition to leadership roles.

RNs should look to gain valuable experience by volunteering to assist current administrators with their work, attempting to fill in when needed, and stepping into leadership and supervisory roles when applicable. Getting an advanced degree is another way to get into this role.

Top Degree Programs for Aspiring Nurse Administrators in North Carolina

When looking to further your education in the competitive and lucrative nursing field, make sure the university or college you are looking into is accredited and approved by the North Carolina Nurses Association. All of the schools located in this article are all accredited and approved nursing schools, but if you search out your own school, make sure the accreditation is up to date.

1. Duke University School of Nursing

Duke University is well-known nationwide. It is a private institution, so the cost will be much higher than most of the other options on this list, but the exceptional education might be worth the added fiscal responsibility. It’s on top of the list because the program at Duke University is held in such high esteem and is nationally recognized. Surely a graduate from Duke University will have an outstanding resume.

Duke University has an accelerated BSN program you can finish in 16 months. In this program, you can also earn up to 9 credits toward an MSN while working on getting your bachelor’s. Not only will you work toward 58 credit hours in the BSN program, but you’ll also receive 800 hours of clinical experience while pursuing this degree. These clinical sites will be at multiple Duke University Health Systems located around the Raleigh-Durham area, so you’ll get a world-class experience.

Duke’s MSN Nursing and Healthcare Leadership program are perfect for those nurses looking to advance their careers in leadership, administration and managerial roles. This program is also fully online, giving students the ability to continue to work while gaining needed experience while pursuing an advanced degree. The MSN program is ranked #1 best online nursing major and the #1 MSN program by US News & World Report.

2. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

UNC Chapel Hill is another highly ranked, distinguished, nationally known school with a long history of providing students with the tools to excel in their careers. UNC has both a typical bachelor’s degree and an accelerated degree program for those who have already completed a BS degree. If students still want to pursue a higher degree, there is also an MSN Health Care Leadership and Administration program.

This advanced degree program focuses on management and leadership roles as well as financial experience, human resources management and quality control. This program will prepare students with the skillset and knowledge required in management roles in the healthcare field.

The MSN Health Care Leadership and Administration program are online with full-time and part-time options. Some campus visits are required for residency experience each semester, but everything else can be completed online so that students can continue to remain employed while furthering their education.

Students who pursue the part-time online option will finish their degree in three years, while full-time students can complete their degree in five semesters.

The in-state full-time cost to attend UNC Chapel Hill is approximately $10,000-$12,000 per semester. This cost includes the required insurance, but not books, and other expenses.

3. Appalachian State University

This program from Appalachian State is specifically designed for Registered Nurses with Associate’s degrees to continue their education and gain a BSN degree. The RN to BSN program gives students the required skills and knowledge to be able to start advancing in their nursing careers.

The curriculum is presented in three semesters with a total of 64 semester hours through online classes. Concepts offered in the program include care of the older adult, health assessment, informatics, leadership roles, research and theory to prepare students for more directed roles in nursing.

Appalachian State’s MSN degree is an online program that can be completed part-time in 24 months. During this time, students will complete 39 credit hours and have to complete two practicums. These clinical rotations will be completed during summer semesters. The first one will be a clinical application, while the second practicum will focus on nursing education.

The classes in this program focus on leadership, research, educational creativity, and nursing practice and prepare nurses for roles in education, staff development and other academic positions.

The average cost to attend Appalachian State University is approximately $20,200 per year for North Carolina residents. This cost includes averages for room and board, books, supplies and other fees.

4. Western Carolina University

While WCU isn’t as nationally recognized as Duke or UNC, this school still has a lot going for it. It is consistently highly ranked in public undergraduate programs. Though Western Carolina University is located in the sleepy mountain town of Cullowhee, students will get state-of-the-art facilities at the campus along with a stellar education.

Western Carolina University has a 100% online RN to BSN degree program that can be completed in as little as four semesters. This program will build upon your existing degree to enhance your leadership potential and prepare you for the tasks ahead in your career. The cost of this online education is approximately $3500 for the entire program, and that includes textbooks.

If you want to go straight from RN to MSN, WCU can offer an Early Entry Pathway for students already enrolled in the RN to BSN program. While in this program, students can take eight semester hours from the BSN degree and apply them toward the MSN degree, which will reduce the time to complete both of these degrees by a full semester. Students wanting to go straight into the Early Entry Pathway will have to complete at least 12 of 24 hours of BSN coursework while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. For the MSN Nurse Administrator degree, students will have to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) scores. These are exams that are often required for graduate program applications. Students must also hold an unrestricted RN license to complete the required clinical applications.

For students who enrolled in another school for their BSN or already have that degree and want to pursue the MSN in Nursing Leadership they can finish this degree part-time while still working. Students will complete 40 to 41 semester hours and complete the program in 18 months. Students enrolled in the MSN program at Western Carolina University will still be required to complete clinical practicums, but they can be completed locally. This could be good news for students that don’t live around Cullowhee.

Nurse Administrator Average Salary

The average annual salary of a Nurse Administrator in North Carolina will fluctuate depending on several factors. These could include experience level, certifications, city or town you live in and what company you are working for. With that in mind, the average pay across North Carolina for a Nurse Administrator is $92,296 per year.

The highest paying city in the state is Greensboro because the top ten percent of Nurse Administrators are averaging $205,360 annually. Raleigh is the second highest paying in the state, but Durham-Chapel Hill—incidentally where UNC Healthcare System is located—offers the highest average pay in the state at $125,000.