Online Assisted Living Administration Degree Programs

Completion of a program in the field of assisted living can lead to a career as a state-licensed administrator of an assisted living or nursing home facility. Review the coursework and requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs in these fields, and find out how online classes work. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are My Online Degree Options in Assisted Living Administration?

At the undergraduate level, you can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in long-term care or health care administration. If you're seeking a master's degree, you can enroll in a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) program in gerontology with a concentration in assisted living or long-term care administration. Master's degree programs in health care administration may also be available. Program content varies based on degree level, but most programs will give you the business, sociology and health sciences knowledge necessary to prepare you for a career as a licensed assisted living or nursing home administrator.

Online Degree Options Associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree
Undergraduate Topics Gerontology, finance, administration, health information systems, facility operations
Graduate Topics Advanced gerontology, health sciences, human resources, fundraising, caregiving
Online Requirements Internet access and personal computer, specific in-person coursework requirements which can be completed at local facilities, not necessarily on campus
Median Salary (2018) $84,260 (for medical and health services managers in residential care facilities)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 18% growth (for all medical and health services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Undergraduate Programs Entail?

Some undergraduate programs focus on basic health care administration; others offer specializations in nursing home or assisted living administration. The latter programs generally meet the state educational requirements necessary to obtain nursing home or assisted living administrator licensure in the school's home state, however, requirements may be different in the state in which you want to work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that licensure is required in all states for nursing home administrators, but only in some states for assisted living administrators (www.bls.gov).

Regardless of degree program level or type, required courses will generally teach you how to supervise business operations and patient services in residential assisted living facilities. Business-related courses may cover health information systems, human resources, marketing, operations management, finance or other administrative duties. Patient services courses may encompass gerontology, relevant social service programs, psychology of aging and patient communications. You'll also need to complete an assisted living or nursing home administration internship and at least one clinical applied studies practicum.

What Do Graduate Programs Entail?

Master's degree programs in gerontology with assisted living or long-term care administration concentrations will give you an in-depth education in all aspects of caring for the elderly. Most programs mandate completion of about 30 credit hours' worth of advanced gerontology courses. Some programs also require you to have completed foundational health sciences courses before being admitted. While a master's degree isn't typically required for assisted living or nursing home administration licensure, the BLS reports that most administrative executives in long-term care facilities are master's-degree-holders (www.bls.gov).

Many courses typically required in a master's degree program focus on administrative policies in assisted living facilities. You'll learn how to hire, train and manage employees, solicit funding, create budgets and develop policies governing facilities. Courses also cover the various services you may provide to elderly residents as an assisted living administrator, including assessment and case management, caregiving, nutrition, leisure and counseling.

Topics covered in additional commonly required courses may include elder care ethics and safety, biology of aging and social programs for the elderly. At least one course in gerontology research is virtually always required, as is completion of a thesis or research-based capstone project.

How Do Online Programs Work?

Distance-learning programs allow you to complete the majority of your course requirements through online course delivery platforms, typically without ever having to report to campus. The only exceptions to this rule are applied studies requirements and occasional prerequisites.

Although many programs have extensive clinical requirements, which can't be fulfilled online, you can generally complete these from a relevant site near you without having to report to campus. Also, because these are training programs to work in health care facilities, some programs carry such health sciences course prerequisites as anatomy and kinesiology, which also can't be completed online. Actual visits to campus are only required in very rare cases, however.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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