How to Become a Nursing Home Administrator
If you’re interested in healthcare, especially senior care and gerontology, you may want to look into how to become a nursing home administrator. It’s a growing field with a good salary and job security.
The need for nursing home administrators is significant and poised to become more so. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older — totaling 73 million. While there has been a focus on senior citizens living longer and staying active, the reality is that many will need nursing care.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 28% growth in jobs over the next decade for medical and health service managers, the category that includes nursing home administrators. That’s much faster than the growth rate projected for all other positions.
What Is a Nursing Home Administrator?
A nursing home administrator manages the staff and daily operations in a nursing home, residential care facility, adult care center, or retirement community. They may be the only person in a smaller facility in a management position. More extensive facilities may have a nurse manager, financial manager, or other non-medical staff.
What Does a Nursing Home Administrator Do?
Along with overseeing the daily operation of a residential facility, much of an NHA’s work is to ensure the facility complies with state and regulatory guidelines. An NHA also hires and manages medical staff, creates and monitors budgets, and advocates for residents. Additionally, they are responsible for certain clinical aspects of care.
Here’s a list of some typical responsibilities of nursing home administrators:
- Planning budgets
- Writing proposals
- Interviewing employment candidates
- Managing staff
- Organizing records
- Monitoring compliance with government guidelines
- Creating and overseeing patient care standards
Most facilities are governed by a board of directors who oversee the NHA. Look at this job description for a list of more specific NHA job duties.
What Education Do NHAs Need?
A registered nurse can return to school for a degree in healthcare administration to learn how to become a nursing home administrator. Others come into the profession directly with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare administration. However, having some experience working as an RN will likely be preferred by employers. Note that some facilities may require a master’s in health administration (MHA) for this position.
Along with education, all NHAs must be licensed by their state according to standards set by the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). To take the nursing home administrator license exam, you must pass a background check and complete Administrator in Training (AIT) hours set by your state, which average 1,000 hours. Some states offer additional licenses. Check the NAB website to see which are recognized by your state:
- Residential Care and Assisted Living (RCAL)
- Nursing Home Assistance (NHA)
- Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
Nursing home administrators must also take continuing education classes to maintain their status. This is overseen by NAB, but each state sets its own rules for how many classes you must take, and how often.
How Much Do Nursing Home Administrators Make?
The median licensed nursing home administrator salary is $126,100. Depending on your geographic location and experience, an LNHA’s salary ranges from just over $99,000 to more than $153,000.
States with the highest salaries for medical and health services managers are:
- New York
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
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