How Can I Become a Nursing Home Administrator?

Research what it takes to become a nursing home administrator. Learn about the job responsibilities, education requirements, licensure, and employment outlook to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance and Health Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Nursing Home Administrator?

Nursing home administrators oversee the care provided to patients in a nursing home facility. Their work is split between business and healthcare duties. They must balance budgets and make sure that their facility complies with all laws and regulations. They also work to make sure that healthcare in the facility is provided efficiently and that the patients receive quality care. Nursing home administrators may meet with department supervisors they oversee to address operational issues, and they must often communicate with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required Bachelor's usually required
Master's degree in related field highly recommended
Licensure Required in all states; requirements vary by state
Key Responsibilities Oversee direct operations
Determine staffing needs
Report to governing body and regulatory organizations
Manage public relations
Special Skills Ability to empathize with resident population and families, sensitivity, good communication skills, leadership and business skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% for all medical and health service managers*
Median Salary (2015) $94,500 for all medical and health service managers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Job Responsibilities Be as a Nursing Home Administrator?

As a nursing home administrator, you will oversee and direct operations of a nursing home in a way that implements the policies and mission of the facility's board of directors or other policy-making group and that complies with government regulations. You may determine and manage staffing needs. You might also serve as the spokesperson for public relations and media relations functions. Additionally, you'll prepare reports both for the facility's board and regulatory agencies. In smaller facilities, you may also have direct involvement in resident care and activities.

What Education and Licensing Do I Need?

Nursing home administrators in all states need to become licensed, but the education requirements for earning licensure vary by state. Some states require that administrators have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a business or healthcare field and pass an examination. A master's degree is often preferred. Others will accept an associate's degree or a nursing program diploma combined with a specified amount of documented, supervised experience. Degrees held by nursing home administrators include medical and nursing degrees in healthcare administration, gerontology and other related fields.

The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) comprises all of the state examining boards. The NAB website provides a searchable list of state examining boards (www.nabweb.org). Many states use the Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Examination offered by the NAB for licensing. The NAB also provides information on approved continuing education courses, which are often required to maintain licensure.

What Other Skills or Characteristics Are Important?

Traits that can help you to be successful as a nursing home administrator include empathy and sensitivity to the needs of the disabled and elderly individuals you will serve. You should also be a good communicator and team leader, with strong business skills and the ability to analyze data. Well-developed presentation skills may help you address issues with the nursing home's governing group, community groups, and the media.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Social and community service managers and school principals share some common duties with nursing home administrators. Social and community service managers need a bachelor's degree, although a master's degree may sometimes be preferred. They are involved in providing community health services to help combat issues like hunger and mental health problems. They must identify the needs of those they work with and ensure that they offer programs and resources to meet those needs. They are also involved in developing program budgets, overseeing programs and assessing how effective the programs are.

School principals have more in common with the administrative aspects of a nursing home administrator's work. They meet with staff and teachers to address concerns, and they work to ensure that a quality education is offered to their students while developing and maintaining program budgets. School principals need a master's degree and a teaching license.

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