Geriatric Care Manager: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for geriatric care managers. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Adult Health Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Geriatric Care Manager?

Geriatric care managers are health services managers who direct operations for facilities that provide care for the elderly. These include nursing homes, retirement facilities, home health agencies and other institutions. Geriatric care managers perform diverse tasks such as handling admissions, maintaining health information, managing facility finances, and supervising nursing and other staff. Some states require them to be licensed to work.

Learn more about this career from the table below.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree (minimum)
Master's degree (more advanced)
Education Field of StudyHealth Services Administration
Business
Public Administration
Key ResponsibilitiesSupervise staff
Handle or oversee facility's finances
Handle admissions
Meet with and provide information to potential users of the facility and their families
LicensureState-mandated training and licensing exam
Job Growth (2014-2024)17% for all medical and health services managers*
Median Salary (2015)$48,446**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Kind of Work Will I Do as a Geriatric Care Manager?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), your duties as a geriatric care manager might include planning and directing activities for nursing homes, retirement facilities, home health agencies and other institutions and facilities that provide care for the elderly (www.bls.gov). Specific responsibilities might include managing the facility's finances, handling admissions and maintaining health information, as well as supervising nursing and other staff.

In a larger organization, your work may be more specialized, such as directing the accounting department. In a smaller facility, you might be in charge of the entire operation, from hiring personnel to managing the finances and overseeing housekeeping. You will often work long hours, handling issues as they arise at any time of the day or night.

What Kind of Education Will I Need?

To gain employment at most institutions, you will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in health services administration, business, public administration or a related discipline. To advance your career, especially if you wish to relocate to a larger facility, you will typically need a master's degree in an accredited health services program. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) lists accredited programs in health care management services in the U.S. (www.cahme.org).

According to the BLS, your graduate-level coursework will usually include accounting, health information systems, health services management, finance, ethics and marketing. For many of these programs, a 1-year supervised internship is also included, providing you with practical working experience. A degree in nursing or another medical discipline, combined with business-related courses, would also be very helpful.

Do I Need to Be Certified or Licensed?

If you wish to be an administrator of a long term care facility, the BLS states that you will need to satisfy licensing requirements, which usually include a minimum of completing a bachelor's degree and state-approved training and passing a licensing exam. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) administers the licensing exam and offers licensing and related career information on its Web site (www.nabweb.org).

You will also need to complete ongoing continuing education to keep your license current. Depending on the state requirements, you may also need to be licensed if you are the administrator of an assisted-living center. With most other facilities, such as those in home health management, licensing and certification are not typically required.

Certification obtained through a professional organization, such as the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA), may enhance your reputation as a trained professional. Joining professional and trade groups can help you develop a network of business contacts that could aid you in advancing your career (www.achca.org).

How Much Could I Earn?

According to PayScale.com, the median annual income of geriatric care managers was $48,446 in 2016. The BLS reported that managers and administrators employed in nursing care facilities earned a mean annual salary of $87,970. For those that provided home health care services, the mean annual salary was $95,260.

What Is the Outlook for This Career?

The BLS projects that employment of health care managers in general will grow 17% between 2014 and 2024, due largely to the rapid increase in the aging population. As insurance, Medicare and Medicaid regulations become more stringent and demand more accountability from health care facilities, there will be an increased need for trained, experienced administrative and staffing personnel.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Management positions are available in many different settings within the health care field. Instead of working in a geriatric care facility, you could manage a physician's office or a specific department within a large hospital or medical center. You could also consider a supervisory job at a social or community service organization. For any of these management positions, you would need at least a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, if you are looking for a job working directly with patients in geriatric care facilities, you might want to get a job as a nursing assistant, where your main job would be to provide assistance with daily activities. Nursing assistants need to complete a postsecondary certificate program and pass a licensure exam.

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