How to Become a Nurse Administrator in New Jersey

We rely on many different kinds of specialists to run a successful healthcare system. Though being a doctor, pharmacist, and nurse is a popular career path to pursue, if you have an interest in healthcare but don’t want to be directly involved with patients, becoming a nurse administrator may be the job for you.

Nurse administrators take on a more managerial role than their patient-facing counterparts in healthcare. Some duties of a nurse administrator may include:

  • Hiring new nursing staff
  • Training nurses
  • Overseeing nurses
  • Handling the hospital budget
  • Writing reports
  • Ensuring patients receive the best care

Nurse administrators boast an impressive $107,251 median salary in New Jersey, with the 90thpercentile making nearly $130,000 per year. The average income in New Jersey for a household is $85,245, so as you can see, nurse administration is a lucrative field. If you are looking to generate a positive difference in your community while earning a high salary, consider taking on the role of nurse administrator.

First Steps to Becoming a Nurse Administrator

Before becoming a nurse administrator, you must first gain experience as a traditional nurse. Naturally, in order to manage and train other nurses, you need hands-on experience in the field. Luckily for those wishing to study in New Jersey, there are many great options for nursing schools in the state.

While some job positions may require a master’s or doctorate degree, it’s best to start with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). If you believe that your options could be limited with just an undergraduate degree, it may be worth pursuing an advanced degree to increase your job prospects. Some people even choose to enroll in dual-degree programs where they can get multiple degrees at once, reducing the time to get an MA or Ph.D. The path you wish to take is ultimately up to you, your goals, your budget, and your dedication.

Here are some of the top-rated and well-known nursing schools in New Jersey:

1. Rutgers University

Rutgers University consistently receives high rankings from US News & World Report for its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The university has several campuses and offers various programs for anyone on their journey to become a nurse administrator. It provides traditional 4-year degrees, Second Degrees, and RN to BS in Nursing programs for registered nurses who wish to earn a BS in nursing but previously majored in a different subject. Rutgers also has extensive graduate programs. You can study for a Master of Science in Nursing, a Ph.D. in Nursing, and even get a post-master’s certificate at this prestigious university.

2. Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University is the first accredited nursing school in New Jersey. With its extensive and rich history, it is an excellent choice for future nurse administrators. Seton Hall offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs for its students. It also features an accelerated BSN program where learners can get their degree in 14 months if they have already acquired a bachelor’s degree in a different field. With many online courses available, this university is the ideal choice for anyone interested in remote learning.

3. The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) is another excellent selection for nursing students. TCNJ offers the typical BSN and RN to BSN programs as well as a few graduate programs to get you on the best track to follow your nurse administration goals. TCNJ also provides small class sizes for an intimate learning environment. The school also has an excellent NCLEX pass rate and 100% of graduating students are placed within six months. With numbers like these, TCNJ is definitely a place to consider jumpstarting your career.

4. William Patterson University

William Patterson is another great option for New Jersey students. With over 50 years’ worth of experience training future nursing professionals, this university has cultivated a strong curriculum for its undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate students. William Patterson also stands out because of its extensive online offerings, much like Seton Hall University. Remote learners are sure to find a path that they can comfortably take on their journey to nurse administration.

5. Monmouth University

Though there are many more great nursing schools in New Jersey, Monmouth University rounds out our list. Like the other schools mentioned, Monmouth offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate courses. It also has continued education programs, which are necessary for license renewal. Monmouth also boasts a great financial aid package. 99% of students receive at least some form of financial aid, and the average scholarship/grant package is over $20,000. Monmouth is a clear frontrunner for those concerned with funding their education.

Each of these schools offers a unique experience and comes with a different price tag. If you are a resident of New Jersey, state schools will provide you with discounted tuition. When applying, be mindful of your transcripts, recommendation letters, and experiences and set realistic goals. Also, make a note of tuition fees and possible scholarships. Never pay full tuition if you don’t have to!

Passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses

After you complete your schooling, the next step is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN. This exam is designed to test your competency and knowledge base as an entry-level nurse. It is a pass/fail exam that is taken for five hours and has between 75 and 145 multiple-choice questions in total.

If you want to register for the exam, you can contact the New Jersey Board of Nursing and apply for licensure and go through Pearson VUE to pay a registration fee. Your university or college should prepare you for the exam, but it is important that you take the time to study for it on your own. Because of the wide variations between each test, you should try to anticipate any challenge you might encounter. Also, keep in mind that the test will be updated in 2023, so it is important to be prepared for future changes to the exam.

After Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam

Now that you’ve passed the necessary exam, you’re almost ready to become a nurse administrator. Nurse administration requires you to work for at least a few years as an actual nurse before moving onto this managerial position. Each job position will have different requirements, so it’s best to search for what kind of job you want and then try to hone your skills and experience to match what the employer is looking for. This way, you can cater your path toward jobs that you actually want to do.

Try looking for jobs on websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. They are constantly updating their sites with new job postings, making it easier for you to gauge what the current market is like. Use these resources to put your nursing skills to use and find the right job that suits your needs.

Continued Education

Once you’ve found a job, your duties as a student are far from over. The state of New Jersey requires that registered nurses take at least 30 contact hours of continued education every two years. This rule is very strict. Even if you decide to practice outside of New Jersey or retire, you must still maintain your continuing education courses in order to keep your license.

Many accredited courses can be found online. You may also get approval for coursework from your workplace if they have been approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. However, if you choose to upkeep your license, make sure to do so in order to keep your position.

Extra Resources

Connecting with your fellow nurses and nurse administrators is integral to success at your workplace. Thankfully, there are many resources and groups available for healthcare professionals.

First, look into the American Nurses Association (ANA). A membership with this group offers myriad benefits: discounts for continued education, webinars, career development resources, and networking opportunities. The ANA also works on a national level to try to advocate for the rights of nurses. If you choose to get involved, you can make a huge impact on your profession.

For a more local organization, consider the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA). For $15 a month, you can have access to a network of New Jersey nurses and stay up to date on medical news. Additionally, the NJSNA provides scholarships and deals for large purchases such as car insurance. They also have an active Facebook page for people interested in communicating over social media.

In closing

Becoming a nurse administrator is not easy, but the rewards speak for themselves. A great salary, respect from your peers, and gratitude from patients are some of the highlights of entering this field. Beyond this article, be sure to do more research to find what programs and career paths best suit you. There is no one-size-fits-all mold for launching your career as a nurse administrator, so it is important that you carve your own way.