Director of Nursing Salary

By Henry R. Steele - January 8, 2018
Reading Time: 12 minutes

The following article discusses the career path of Director of Nursing. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Director of Nursings.

Job Duties

Directors of nursing hold responsibility for all of the nursing activities within their health care setting. They evaluate, plan, and direct programs and care and make sure that all staff follow the philosophy and goal of the hospital. They manage staff, guiding and disciplining them as needed, and have recruitment and budgetary responsibilities as well. They also put communication methods in place between nurses, physicians, and other members of staff, thereby ensuring that patient needs are met. They make high-level decisions that have an impact on overall health care outcomes.

Other job duties of a director of nursing include:

  • Coordinating and managing all services for patients
  • Ensuring that the right personnel are recruited, trained, and retained appropriately
  • Putting appropriate care standards in place and ensuring that all personnel adheres to them
  • Providing supervision for all personnel involved in delivering patient services

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 352,200 medical and health services managers in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals were:

  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: 36%
  • Offices of physicians: 11%
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: 10%
  • Government: 8%
  • Outpatient care centers: 7%

How to Become

The education requirements for a nursing director vary depending on where they work. However, a BSN (bachelor’s degree in nursing) is usually required as a minimum, as well as a state license. It is also advisable to have other certifications, such as CPR. These professionals must demonstrate awareness of nursing best practices and must enforce them in their clinical setting. They are also expected to have strong leadership skills.

Education Requirements

Usually, a director of nursing will hold a master’s degree before taking on this position, although exact requirements do vary depending on the institution. One of the reasons why the graduate degree is generally required, is because these programs often include a period of supervised administrative experience.

Many directors of nursing have a nursing background, having completed the BSN. Others enter the field by completing graduate degrees in areas such as business administration, public health administration, health management, or health administration. These degrees all focus on both business and the health care sector as a whole, meaning they include courses on health information systems, health economics, law and ethics, strategic planning, human resources administration, budgeting and accounting, and health services management.

Some roles will require licensing in some states. The requirements for these licenses vary greatly, but most include a specific level of education and work experience as well. It is important to check whether or not licensure is required. It is quite common for directors of nursing to hold their RN (registered nurse) license. Voluntary certification options also exist through a variety of professional bodies.

Traits & Qualities

The most effective directors of nursing have the following traits to some degree or other:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Very detail oriented
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Being a true and inspirational leader
  • Having the necessary technical skills
  • Being committed to lifelong learning

Minimum Education

Master’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Director of Nursing was $95,821. This number is estimated from over 1,730,124 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $49.91 and monthly of $7,985.

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$32,000

$194,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Director of Nursing salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, California had the largest quoted salary of $124,233 while Oklahoma had the smallest quoted salary of $65,748.

Alaska Idaho Mississippi Pennsylvania
Alabama Illinois Montana Rhode Island
Arkansas Indiana North Carolina South Carolina
Arizona Kansas Nebraska South Dakota
California Kentucky New Hampshire Tennessee
Colorado Louisiana New Jersey Texas
Connecticut Massachusetts New Mexico Utah
DC Maryland Nevada Virginia
Florida Maine New York Vermont
Georgia Michigan Ohio Washington
Hawaii Minnesota Oklahoma Wisconsin
Iowa Missouri Oregon Wyoming
Alaska$96,842 Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and Indian Health Service.

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$40,000

$178,000

Salary Distribution
Alabama$82,649 Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Medical Advantage, StaffPointe, and First Step Recruiting.

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$30,000

$160,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$75,670 Rank: 41st
The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like DeVore Recruiting, Pro-Touch Nurses Inc., The Lakes at Maumelle, and Cla-Clif Nursing and Rehab Center.

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$30,000

$142,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$94,615 Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Hire Resolve, Corizon Health, Clinical Management Consultants, and CMC Limited.

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$39,000

$173,000

Salary Distribution
California$124,233 Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, Medical Forefronts Management Solutions, Clinical Management Consultants, and ProEnlist.

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$53,000

$225,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$91,210 Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Consult Hire Certified, 360 Healthcare Staffing, Life Care Centers of America, and Vibrant Living Services, LLC.

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$39,000

$164,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$109,467 Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like New York City Care and Rehab Centers, Rapp Solutions, LLC, MSI International, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$55,000

$178,000

Salary Distribution
DC$116,837 Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Clinical Management Consultants and CMC Limited.

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$59,000

$194,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$80,408 Rank: 32nd
The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Acuity Professional Placement Solutions, University of Miami Miller School of Med, University of Miami, and CMC Limited.

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$26,000

$163,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$82,697 Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like The HealthCare Initiative, DeVore Recruiting, StaffPointe, and 360 Healthcare Staffing.

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$34,000

$152,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$106,859 Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Express Employment Professionals and 360 Healthcare Staffing.

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$54,000

$169,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$69,430 Rank: 46th
The average salary ranks 46th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like The HealthCare Initiative, Favorite Healthcare Staffing, HCR ManorCare, and Atrium Village Inc.

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$24,000

$136,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$86,571 Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like DeVore Recruiting, gpac, Safe Haven Health Care, and StaffPointe.

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$43,000

$138,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$84,512 Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Absolute Opportunities, CMC Limited, The HealthCare Initiative, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$32,000

$161,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$77,250 Rank: 36th
The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Sanders Search Group, Tobin & Associates, Inc., Identified Talent Solutions, and D-Best Home Care.

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$23,000

$162,000

Salary Distribution
Kansas$76,471 Rank: 39th
The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like HealthCare Services, Inc Staffing Agency, 360 Healthcare Staffing, Healthcare Staffing Direct, and New Paradigm Solutions.

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$33,000

$138,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$83,875 Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like 360 Healthcare Staffing, University of Kentucky, CMC Limited, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$30,000

$163,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$71,567 Rank: 43rd
The average salary ranks 43rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like The GEO Group, Inc., Carelink Home Care Services, and Federal Government Jobs.

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$23,000

$145,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$106,300 Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like AB Home Healthcare, LLC, BAMSI, Inc., Bunker Hill Community College, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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$48,000

$186,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$109,093 Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like DeVore Recruiting, Genesis HealthCare, State of Maryland, and Anne Arundel Home Health Care.

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$44,000

$202,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$91,340 Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Greenwood Center Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, Clinical Management Consultants, and CMC Limited.

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$29,000

$188,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$75,635 Rank: 42nd
The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like 360 Healthcare Staffing, Quadrant Resource LLC, eSource ER, Inc., and StaffPointe.

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$38,000

$126,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$76,981 Rank: 37th
The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Minnesota Department of Human Services, 360 Healthcare Staffing, Confidential Job Post, and Alo Home Health Care, Inc..

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$34,000

$136,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$69,866 Rank: 44th
The average salary ranks 44th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Medical Advantage, CCRC-Skilled Nursing, Department of Mental Health – SLDDTC – St. Charles and South County Habilitation Center, and Healthcare Staffing Direct.

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$30,000

$125,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$82,554 Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MS State Veterans Home-Jackson, 360 Healthcare Staffing, Larry White Associates, and StaffPointe.

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$27,000

$168,000

Salary Distribution
Montana$69,769 Rank: 45th
The average salary ranks 45th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like gpac, NewCareers, Rayco Technical Solutions, LLC, and Phillips Staffing Solutions.

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$35,000

$106,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$81,002 Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like 360 Healthcare Staffing, GISS – CS, Meadow Wood skilled Nursing, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$35,000

$146,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$68,127 Rank: 47th
The average salary ranks 47th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like GOOD SAMARITAN SOCIETY/GI, 360 Healthcare Staffing, and State of Nebraska.

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$29,000

$124,000

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$86,595 Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Presidential Oaks and Georgia Search Consultants.

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$27,000

$179,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$91,258 Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Preakness Healthcare Center, General Healthcare Resources, Inc., Clinical Management Consultants, and CMC Limited.

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$34,000

$176,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$92,552 Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Clinical Management Consultants, Govig & Associates, 360 Healthcare Staffing, and New Mexico State Personnel Office.

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$41,000

$163,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$105,715 Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like College of Southern Nevada, State of Nevada, Innovative Management Solutions, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$51,000

$179,000

Salary Distribution
New York$103,153 Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nursing Home Rehab Center, US Skilled Nursing, GW Consultants, Inc, and Business staffings.

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$40,000

$193,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$79,142 Rank: 34th
The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Comqore, Healthcare Staffing Direct, CareSpring, and Vistech LLC.

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$31,000

$147,000

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$65,748 Rank: 48th
The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health, State of Oklahoma, Strategic Talent Services, and JIm Taliferro Community Mental Health Center.

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$14,000

$155,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$108,459 Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Portland Community College, Provider Management, McCall & Lee, LLC, and Nehalem Valley Care Center.

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$43,000

$203,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$91,096 Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like health and science center, The Watermark at Logan Square, General Healthcare Resources, Inc., and South Mountain Restoration Center.

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$35,000

$173,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$98,968 Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Shady Acres, Inc.

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$39,000

$184,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$88,125 Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like DeVore Recruiting, All’s Well, 360 Healthcare Staffing, and FGP International.

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$33,000

$169,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$75,827 Rank: 40th
The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Good Samaritan Society-Canistota.

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$29,000

$144,000

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$76,684 Rank: 38th
The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Larry White and Associates, ONMM, 360 Healthcare Staffing, and DeVore Recruiting.

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$31,000

$142,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$87,569 Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Addison Health, St. Joseph Medical Center, Clinical Management Consultants, and CMC Limited.

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$38,000

$157,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$78,407 Rank: 35th
The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Lomond Peak Nursing & Rehab and AGA Home Health, Inc..

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$31,000

$146,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$83,220 Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like International Search Consultants, Consulate Health Care, 360 HealthCare, and eLinkConnection.

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$25,000

$175,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$116,238 Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CMC Limited and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$53,000

$203,000

Salary Distribution
Washington$106,867 Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CMC Limited, Clinical Management Consultants, Protocol Agency, and Leighton Partners.

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$38,000

$209,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$79,296 Rank: 33rd
The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Absolute Opportunities, Pine Haven Christian Communities, 360 Healthcare Staffing, and Pro-Touch Nurses Inc..

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$35,000

$141,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$100,191 Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like 360 Healthcare Staffing, The HealthCare Initiative, State of Wyoming, and Health Career Associates.

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$46,000

$174,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Director of Nursing. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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