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Certified Assisted Living Administrator: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified assisted living administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties, and certification to find out of this is the career for you.

Certified assisted living administrators assist elderly patients with their everyday needs and any additional health care services they may require. They usually need at least a bachelor's degree and, typically, licensure in order to operate in their state. They may also pursue additional certification through the American College of Health Care administrators.

Essential Information

Certified assisted living administrators supervise health care services for older adults who require regular care and assistance with daily tasks. They may supervise workers and assistant administrators, and administrators often work long hours and remain on call after normal business hours. Most states require an assisted living administrator to be licensed. Most employers prefer to hire candidates that possess the Certified Living Administrator professional certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure is typically required
Certification Certified Assisted Living Administrator Certification offered by the American College of Health Care Administrators
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $94,500 annually (medical and health services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Assisted Living Administrator Job Description

Assisted living administrators manage, outline and coordinate services geared toward older adults who may require assistance with eating, bathing, taking medication and other basic functions. They oversee the day-to-day operations of the assisted living facilities and ensure that all staff are providing the best service possible. Administrators supervise all security, transportation and monitoring needs at their location.

Most certified assisted living administrators work in an office setting. They are in constant communication with all workers and typically have assistant administrators on staff who handle various daily decisions and report any concerns to the administrator. Because assisted living facilities are open around the clock, assisted living administrators often work long hours and remain on call after hours.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that health and medical services managers, including assisted living administrators, earned a median annual salary of $94,500 in 2015. Those working in New York and District of Columbia earned the most during that year, with average salaries in each state exceeding $128,000 per year. The BLS lists a 17% job growth prediction for the medical and health services management field between 2014 and 2024; demand for assisted living administrators in particular is expected to rise in connection with the country's increasing aging population.

Certified Assisted Living Administrator Requirements

Licensure Requirements

Some states require assisted living administrators to be licensed. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) offers a licensure exam that can be taken for state-licensure where required or voluntarily by administrators in states without licensure requirements.

Education and Work Experience Requirements

In order to take the NAB exam, administrators must have a minimum of a high school diploma and two years of work experience, with one of those years in a management position. Candidates with an associate degree must have a minimum of 18 months experience, with six of them in a leadership position. With a bachelor's degree, candidates need only six months of assisted-living leadership experience.

Relevant work experience in an assisted living environment gives administrator candidates an understanding of the unique responsibilities present in dealing with the needs of older adults. Because assisted living administrators oversee valuable equipment and facilities, they must possess and constantly hone their financial and analytical skills to pursue the most cost-effective strategies for their location. Genuine concern and sensitivity for the welfare of tenants and the challenges of aging is essential.

Certification Requirements

The Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) professional certification is available from the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA). The CALA credential is awarded to administrators who meet education and experience qualifications and pass the ACHCA examination. Certification must be renewed every five years.

In order to become licensed, assisted living administrators must meet the educational and experience requirements for the NAB exam. Those with a bachelor's degree only need six months of experience in order to sit for the exam and may also have more job opportunities due to their higher level of education. Professional certification through the ACHCA also has educational and experiential prerequisites, but will likely increase candidate credibility.

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