What is a Nurse Executive?

A Nurse Executive is a high-level nurse leader who oversees nursing staff and healthcare services within an organization. Their role involves shaping policies, enhancing patient care quality, and ensuring efficient healthcare delivery.

NE-BC Certification


The Nurse Executive-Board Certified (NE-BC) certification confirms your nursing management and leadership expertise. It is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and designed for nurses in managerial roles seeking to improve their leadership capabilities.


To be eligible for the NE-BC certification exam, candidates must hold a current, active RN or APRN license with a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing and have at least two years of experience in a mid-level administrative or higher position. Additionally, candidates must have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing administration within the last three years.

NEA-BC Certification


The ANCC also offers the Nurse Executive, Advanced-Board Certified (NEA-BC) certification. This certification is aimed at senior-level nurse executives responsible for strategic planning and organizational leadership.


To qualify for the NEA-BC certification exam, candidates must hold a current, active RN or APRN license with a master’s degree or higher in nursing or a related field and possess at least two years of experience in a nurse executive position. Candidates must also have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing administration within the last three years.

NE-BC vs. NEA-BC Certification

What is the difference?

The primary difference between NE-BC and NEA-BC certifications is the level of experience and educational requirements. NE-BC is suitable for mid-level nurse managers, while NEA-BC is tailored for senior-level nurse executives.

Which certification is better for career advancement and salary?

Both certifications can enhance your career and salary prospects. The NEA-BC certification, being more advanced, often leads to higher-level positions and potentially higher salaries. However, the NE-BC certification is an excellent stepping stone for those seeking senior leadership roles.

Comparing the salaries of NE-BC, NEA-BC, and RNs provides valuable insights into how advanced certifications can impact earning potential in the nursing field.

Average Salary Comparison

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) in the United States is approximately $86,070 annually as of 2023. This figure can vary significantly based on location, experience, and the specific healthcare setting. RNs working in hospitals or urban areas typically earn more than those in smaller clinics or rural settings.

Nurse Executives with NE-BC certification, who generally manage nursing staff and operations at the unit or departmental level, have higher earning potential than RNs. The average annual salary for NE-BC-certified nurses ranges from $130,000–$160,000. This salary reflects their additional responsibilities in leadership and management compared to general nursing roles.

Nurse Executives with NEA-BC certification, who are responsible for more complex, system-wide healthcare management, tend to earn even more. The annual salary for NEA-BC-certified professionals ranges from $130,000–$180,000. These roles require advanced education and extensive experience, which is reflected in the higher compensation.
The significant salary increases from RN to NE-BC and further to NEA-BC, highlight the financial benefits of pursuing advanced certifications. These certifications enhance earning potential and open up opportunities for higher-level positions and greater job responsibilities.

Study Tips to Pass the ANCC NE-BC® Exam

Passing the Nurse Executive exam requires strategic preparation. Here are some top tips:

  • Use Evidence-Based Study Techniques: Research shows that studying in shorter, more frequent sessions is more effective than cramming. Try methods like spaced repetition, active recall, and practice testing.
  • Set a Study Schedule: Create a study plan that breaks down the material into manageable sections. Allocate specific times for studying each topic to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  • Utilize Nurse Executive Practice Questions: Practice questions are crucial for exam preparation. They help you become familiar with the format and types of questions that will appear on the exam.
  • Join Study Groups: Collaboration with nursing peers can provide support and different perspectives and enhance your understanding of complex topics.

Top Resources to Pass the ANCC NE-BC® Exam

Invest in your nursing career today with the right certification and the best resources. Whether you choose NE-BC or NEA-BC, Pocket Prep is here to help you succeed on your first attempt