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MSN in Nursing Administration Salary: 5 Common Questions Answered

Nursing leaders are some of the most sought-after professionals in the healthcare industry. Nurses who choose to work in an administrative capacity fall into the category of medical and health services managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the demand for these roles will increase by 32% between 2020 and 2030, with demand particularly high in states like California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Salaries for nurse administrators are a huge draw for RNs that are looking to make a career move and an MSN degree can be a key way to make this transition. This article will help you understand the earnings potential of nursing administrators and the best way to maximize your value in the job market.

How Much Do Nurse Administrators with an MSN Make? 

According to Lightcast™, nursing administrators with an MSN can expect a large salary range—from $72K on the low end to over $160K on the high end. The median advertised salary for nursing administrators with an MSN is $103.2K. 

Earning an MSN has a significant impact on salary expectations, as the median advertised salary for administrators without an MSN degree is only $90K. 

In addition to base salary, nursing administrators often also receive compensation in the form of paid time off, healthcare benefits, retirement fund contributions, pension funds and social security contributions. When considering jobs as a nursing administrator, keep in mind how much value your total benefits package provides.

Where Do Nurse Administrators Make The Most Money?

Where you live and work is one of the primary influences on what you can expect to get paid as a nurse administrator. Highly populated states offer more career opportunities at larger medical facilities, which often results in higher pay. That’s why it’s no surprise that the top-paying state for nurse administrators is New York, with an average annual salary of $155,430. On the other hand, the lowest paying state for nurse administrators is Arkansas, with an average annual salary of $92,110.

Average Pay for Nurse Administrators by State

StateAverage Annual PayAverage Monthly Pay
New York$155,430$12,953
New Jersey$136,580$11,382
North Dakota$134,320$11,193
Rhode Island$132,080$11,007
New Hampshire$126,700$10,558
North Carolina$121,430$10,119
New Mexico$118,670$9,889
South Carolina$112,310$9,359
South Dakota$112,070$9,339
West Virginia$109,290$9,108

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What are the Top-Paying Jobs for Professionals with an MSN in Nursing Administration? 

Earning an MSN focused on nursing administration will allow nurses to climb to the top ranks of leadership within healthcare organizations, which results in high-paying positions such as:

  • Clinical Nurse Manager | $98.6K: Supervise nursing staff in a hospital or clinical setting, which includes managing personnel hiring, onboarding and scheduling.
  • Vice President of Nursing| $108.5K: Lead planning, administration and implementation of standards and policies concerning patient care and nursing philosophy.
  • Executive Nursing Director | $110.8K: Lead teams of nurses, as well as oversee operational aspects for departments including budgeting, staffing and ensuring that regulatory requirements are met.
  • Director of Patient Care | $114.9K: Oversee all aspects of an organization’s patient care services—including clinical operations, quality assurance and staffing—to ensure patients are receiving the highest level of care.
  • Chief Nursing Officer | $125.2K: Ensure all daily nursing operations for a health facility or system run smoothly while developing a nursing environment that values excellence in clinical care and research.

What are Other Factors that Impact Nurse Administrator Salaries?

An MSN degree has the ability to increase salary expectations for nursing administrators. There are also three other important factors that play into the salary equation. Let’s look at why experience, professional certifications and industry are important considerations for determining salary.

Years of Experience

Increased experience in the profession is directly correlated to increased salary expectations. Nursing administrators should experience significant wage growth over the course of their careers, with advertised salaries nearly doubling after 10 years of experience.

Professional Certifications 

Professional certifications are a great way to stand out within the nursing administration profession. These credentials can help you compete for top positions by giving you immediate credibility in the eyes of future employers. Popular certifications for nursing administrators include:

  • Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC): This certification showcases that an RN has the skills and knowledge to work in a management position on a daily basis and the ability to efficiently manage an entire unit.
  • Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML): For nurse leaders in the nurse manager role, this certification proves expertise in human resources, strategic management, finances and performance improvement.
  • Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP): Designed for nurses in executive leadership, the CENP covers topics such as business skills, relationship building, communication and leadership to showcase a nurse’s management skills at the highest levels


The industry in which you choose to work will play an important role in determining your salary. If maximizing your salary is a top goal for you as a nursing administrator, consider working in large healthcare organizations, such as hospitals and government agencies, which are proven to pay more. On the other hand, smaller care facilities such as physician offices or residential care facilities have lower median annual wages. 

IndustryMedian Annual Wages
Outpatient care centers$99,540
Offices of physicians$98,230
Nursing and residential care facilities$83,550

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find the Right MSN Nurse Administrator Program For Your Career Advancement

Getting an MSN degree is pivotal to advancing your career as a nursing administrator and increasing your salary expectations. 

Franklin University offers a specialty MSN track dedicated to preparing nurse administrators. Franklin’s online M.S. in Nursing - Nurse Administrator program will help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide strategic planning and administrative oversight, while also creating a clinical environment that supports advanced training and education for nurses. You can finish your degree in as few as 16 months, putting you on the fast track to advancement.

Explore Franklin’s MSN - Nurse Administrator program to see how it can help you reach your career goals.

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