How Can I Become an Assisted Living Administrator?

Research what it takes to become an assisted living administrator. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Assisted Living Administrator?

Assisted living administrators are responsible for managing the operations of assisted living facilities, which provide residential housing and personal support services for older adults who are mostly independent and do not need intensive medical care. Administrators of assisted living facilities coordinate services such as meals, social activities, housekeeping and medication distribution. They also supervise staff and handle billing and budgeting.

Check the average salary and required skills for this career in the following chart:

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Health care administration
Key Skills Compassionate, organized, management skills
Licensure/Certification Administrators in nursing homes need to be licensed
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for all health care administrators)*
Average Salary (2015) $106,070 (for all health care administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Work Will I Do as an Assisted Living Administrator?

As an assisted living administrator, you oversee and manage the delivery of healthcare for a system or facility. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), administrators plan, coordinate, execute and supervise the activities and operations necessary to keep everything running smoothly (www.bls.gov). While working as an administrator, you make decisions on matters regarding finances, personnel and patient issues.

In this role, you will work long hours because these facilities must operate 24 hours and problems may arise unexpectedly. You'll usually work in comfortable surroundings, although you may have to travel to other locations if your facility is part of a larger group or system.

How Do I Qualify For This Career?

If you plan to earn a bachelor's degree in health services administration, you may start out as an assistant before gaining experience and earning a promotion. However, with a master's degree, you may earn an administrator position immediately. It's important that the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), which confers accreditation on healthcare management education programs, accredits the program you choose ('www.chme.org').

If you have previous healthcare experience, you'll be at an advantage for consideration into a graduate degree program. Most graduate programs take two to three years to complete, and your coursework will include courses involving organization and management of hospitals, biostatistics, ethics, law, economics, health information systems and accounting.

Nursing home administrators must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree plus successful completion of a state-approved training program and licensing exam. Continuing education is also required as part of the profession.

What is the Salary and Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, 2015 average earnings for health services administrators came to $106,070 per year. As with many health care fields, health care administration positions are growing rapidly. The BLS predicts that the field will grow 17% between 2014 and 2024, due largely to the increase in an aging population.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Jobs for administrators are available at many different kinds of personal care and health-related facilities, including nursing homes, hospitals and physician's offices. You could also get a job as a manager at a community or social service organization. Like assisted living administrators, these professionals are responsible for supervising employees and making sure that all business-related aspects of the organization run smoothly. For this job, you would need at least a bachelor's degree.

Alternatively, if you are looking to work directly with elderly people in long-term care facilities, you could think about becoming a nursing assistant, which involves helping people with daily activities like eating and bathing. You might also be involved in basic health consultations and taking vital signs. For this job, you need to complete a postsecondary certificate program and pass a licensure exam.

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