Career Choice: RN with an MBA

Career Choice: RN with an MBA
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    Like other healthcare professionals, registered nurses with MBAs can pursue top administrative positions in healthcare.


Making a difference in health with an MBA.

Students considering a career as a registered nurse may want to keep in mind what lies just beyond working in an emergency room or tending youngsters in a pediatric ward. Noble positions as these are, the RN with a desire to effect broader change may decide to continue on with her education, pursuing an MBA to become a healthcare administrator. RN salaries with an MBA can be lucrative, as such nurses are able to pursue administrative positions across the healthcare industry.


Like other healthcare professionals, registered nurses with MBAs can pursue top administrative positions in healthcare. At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Mary Dee Hacker is the Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. [1] Ms. Hacker began her career at that hospital as a staff nurse in 1975, obtained her MBA from Loyola Marymount University in 1982. Ms. Hacker’s salary is not published, however government data offers a salary range of $49,500 to $161,800 for medical and health services managers in California.

O*NET OnLine, an official website for the U.S. Department of Labor, includes healthcare administrators, as well as “Director of Nursing,” under the category of Medical and Healthcare Managers. The average pay for this position was $81,850 as of 2009. Education is important in this position, with 52 percent of workers possessing a bachelor’s degree and 41 percent possessing a master’s degree. [2]

Healthcare Administrators

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition for Medical and Health Services Managers, that registered nurses are able to advance to administrative positions as they combine their patient experience with their administrative skills. The bureau notes that a master’s, including one in business administration “…is the standard credential for most generalist positions in this field.” [3]

For the RN pursing an MBA degree or other master’s level education, the job outlook is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment will grow faster than average, estimating a 16 percent growth from 2008 to 2018. Candidates with extensive backgrounds in healthcare and who possess strong business management skills are most in demand. [4]

Career Path

How should you approach an MBA if you’re still working on your bachelor’s degree? Very carefully. One course of action is to complete your undergraduate studies and begin your nursing career. Once you’ve gotten several years under you belt and are compelled to advance yourself, then consider an MBA program that allows you to work with your schedule.


[1] Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Mary Dee Hacker

[2] O*Net Online: Summary Report for: 11-9111.00 – Medical and Health Services Managers; 2010

[3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; Medical and Health Services Managers

[4] CareerOneStop: Occupational Profile: Medical and Health Services Managers: California


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Categories: Career Planning