When someone thinks of a nurse, they think of the person that nurtures and takes care of them while visiting a hospital or clinic. There are multiple career paths a registered nurse can take ranging from midwife to certified anesthetist. Nurses can become overwhelmed having a wide array of choices, especially with the nationwide shortage allowing for easy entrance into the field of their choosing. If you see yourself as a leader, then a nursing administration career path might be the choice for you. Nurses need leaders and administrators to help keep order in the chaotic work environment of healthcare. Here are the top 6 nursing administration and their tentative salaries (payscale.com).

6. Staff Nurse ($41,590 – $85,639)

Staff nursing is an entry level position requiring a certified registered nurse license and little to no work experience. Depending on what type of office they are working for, staff nurses manage registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse assistants and nurse technicians. They assist with running tests and/or diagnosing, administering medication along with giving them advice and educating patients and patient families on how to self-care.

This is a great place for any registered nurse to being her career. After obtaining some work experience, it allows you to either continue providing general care or dive into a specialized career path based on what you are looking for.

5. Charge Nurse ($46,917 -$84,771)

Charge nurses require a certified registered nurse license along with a few years of experience to be considered for hiring. They are responsible for overseeing a specific department during their assigned shift. They manage the staff nurses by delegating nursing assignments, preparing schedules and overseeing admissions and discharges. Depending on where they work, some charge nurses may also have a patient load in addition to their existing managerial responsibilities.

4. Assistant Nurse Manager ($55,872 – $109,520)

An assistant nurse manager requires a bachelor’s of science in nursing and a few years of work experience. They assist with maintaining the budget, managing and delegating day-to-day tasks within a unit. The healthcare system has many state and federal regulations, of which the assistant nurse manager must ensure that all regulations are being met.

3. Nurse Manager ($56,575 – $106,392)

Nurse managers require a master’s of science in nursing, certification from either the American Organization of Nurse Executives or the American Nurses Credentialing Center and years of work experience. Think of nurse managers as the “CEO + HR” of each individual unit. Not only are they responsible for recruiting, hiring, supervising and evaluating staff, they also have to maintain the budget for the entire unit by forecasting and developing a sound financial guideline. Being the “CEO”, they also must provide leadership and assistance to anyone in their unit.

2. Nursing Director ($53,683 – $115,039)

Nursing directors tend to manage all units within a healthcare facility. Although they normally do not provide direct patient care, they supervise and ensure that all policies and procedures are being followed. Being in the leadership position, she is direct contact between the nurses and administration and assists in developing and maintaining overall budgets and bringing ideas to the table on strategic planning for the future of the organization.

To become a nursing director you will need a master’s of science in nursing, certification from either the American Organization of Nurse Executives or the American Nurses Credentialing Center and many years of experience in nursing and leadership roles.

1. Chief Nursing Officer ($77,798 – $179,428)

Chief nursing officers are part of administration within a healthcare organization. They are tasked with creating a collaborative and positive work environment, providing leadership and direction for the nurse directors and nurse managers. They are also seen as the spokesmen for the nurses, bridging the gap between the nurses and administration along with providing strategic business and financial planning.

Similar to nursing director, to become a chief nursing officer a master’s of science in nursing or doctorate is required. National certification and strong work experience encompassing multiple avenues within the healthcare world will assist on getting hired for this position.

If leadership or administrative roles do not fit your style, do not forget there are many different nursing career paths available. Doing research on the responsibilities within each nursing career choice will help ensure job satisfaction. With a national shortage and a growing demand for a variety of nursing careers, you cannot go wrong with entering the nursing field.


By Samantha Stauf

Samantha Stauf graduated from University of Idaho. She spends all of her time reading and writing about the medical field.