Why This Matters

  • 12% OF MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER JOBS REQUIRE A MASTER’S

    While 65% of jobs in this field require only a bachelor’s, 12% require a master’s. A master’s degree will also make you more competitive when applying for jobs with lower education requirements.

  • JOB GROWTH OF 32% PROJECTED FOR HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATORS

    While 33% of nurse administrators work in hospitals, close to 40% work in other environments including doctor’s offices. They hire and train nurses and oversee the financial health of the business.

  • MSN EARNS 40% MORE THAN BSN

    Top jobs for MSN nurse administrators include Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and Nursing Director, which earn about $126,000 and $114,000 per year, respectively.

Our Research

This list covers over 50 of the nation’s top master’s programs that focus on nursing administration. All of the options featured in this guide offer online programs between 30 and 90 credits.

In addition to school accreditation with federally recognized regional entities, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), all nursing programs must be approved by the state board of nursing. They must also be accredited by at least one of the two governing bodies, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Each organization sets the standards for nursing education, including new roles and responsibilities as well as research.

  • 52 hours to write this article
  • 150 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 254 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Master’s in Nursing Administration Programs

Best Online Master's in Nursing Administration Programs Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
University of St. Francis
01
Best in the South
Kennesaw State University
01
Best in the Mid Atlantic
Liberty University
01
Best Full-Time Option
George Washington University
01
Best in the West
Western Governors University
01
Best in the Northeast
Saint Joseph's College of Maine
01
Best in the Midwest
Saint Xavier University
01
Best for Adult Learners
Stony Brook Medicine
01
Most Customizable
Clarkson College
01
Best Mentoring
The University of Texas at Arlington
01
Best Catholic Option
Sacred Heart University
01
Best for Vets
Indiana Wesleyan University
01
Best BSN to MSN
University of Mary
01
Most Flexible
Ball State University
01
Best MSN/MBA Option
California University of Pennsylvania
01
Most Affordable
Fort Hays State University
01
Best No-GRE Option
Lamar University
01
Best Residency Program
Vanderbilt University
01
Best Practicum
University of Houston
01
Best for Clinical Nurse Leadership
The University of Texas Medical Branch
01
Best for AONE Certification
University of Colorado
01
Best for Transfer Students
Benedictine University
01
Best for CLN Certification
Drexel University
01
Best No-Residency Option
Queens University of Charlotte
01
Best Bridge Option
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
01
Best for ANCC Certification
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
01
Best Minor Options
Texas Woman's University
01
Best DNP Preparation
Penn State World Campus
01
Best Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Saint Mary
01
Best Faculty
Duke University
01
Fastest to Completion
Capella University
01
Best Accelerated Direct-Entry Program
University of Cincinnati
01
Best Regional Public Program, South
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Distance Education
01
Best Thesis Option
Bradley University
01
Best Credit for Prior Experience
Excelsior University
01
Best Cohort Program
Endicott College
01
Best Christian Option
Lenoir-Rhyne University
01
Best Health College Program
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
01
Best for Working Nurses
Baker University
01
Best Second MSN Degree Program
Gonzaga University
01
Best Business Focus
Roberts Wesleyan College
01
Best Start Dates
Purdue University Global
01
Best Part-Time Option
The University of Texas at Tyler
01
Best Hybrid Option
Union University
01
Best Accelerated Program
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - College of Nursing
01
Best for International Students
American International College
01
Best for Health Informatics
Regis University
01
Best Practicum
Mercy College
01
Best Executive Option
Nova Southeastern University
01
Best Student Organizations
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

What You Should Know About This Degree

All programs offering Master of Science degrees in nursing must be accredited by ACEN or CCNE, which is governed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The MSN degree has several disciplines such as nurse practitioner (NP). The difference between a nurse administrator and an NP is that the NP is a patient-facing role. They provide advanced practice to diverse populations while nurse administrators, who are also registered nurses, are more like executives in the organization, in charge of hiring and policy implementation.

The outlook for nurse administrators is bright, as the job growth is much faster than average, especially with the increasingly complicated medical landscape.

All nurse administrators must be fully licensed RNs and can have any number of certifications, including the Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC) for RNs with at least two years of experience working in a managerial capacity. For those with the NE-BC and more than two years of administration, there’s the Nurse Executive, Advanced Certification (NEA-BC).

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online masters in nursing administration programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Online MSN programs are known for being flexible, allowing students to learn full or part time as well as accommodating professional and personal commitments. Admissions are rolling throughout the year.
  • What licensing or certifications are required? In addition to the NE-BC and NEA-BC, administrative officials with extensive skills and knowledge can become a Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (cHAP). MSN graduates with at least two years in nursing leadership positions can also become Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) or a Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML).

Keep track of what information you need for each program as well as submission deadlines. Submit your application to the school as soon as you have everything in order to avoid missing the cut-off.

While online nursing programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts, you can find scholarships, grants, and other opportunities to reduce out-of-pocket expenses by filling out your FAFSA application.