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Certified Nursing Home Administrator: Certification Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified nursing home administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Nursing home administrators are required to have a bachelor's degree in health services administration or business administration. Some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree. A state license is also required, and certification is optional.

Essential Information

Nursing home administrators oversee the staff, finances and general operation of a nursing home facility. This position requires one to first acquire a degree--while a bachelor's degree is accepted, the master's degree is becoming the standard--in a field related to healthcare administration. Secondly, the individual must become licensed by their state board and complete continuing education requirements. Requirements for education and licensure vary by state. Many nursing home administrators also seek professional certification, but this is not required.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; some employers want a master's degree
Other Requirements State license required; optional certification available from the American College of Health Care Administrators
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% for all medical and health services managers
Mean Salary (2015)* $87,970 for medical and health services managers working in nursing care facilities

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education Requirements for a Certified Nursing Home Administrator

Most states require that a nursing home administrator have at least a bachelor's degree. Some employers may prefer applicants who possess a master's degree. Coursework should be completed in the following areas:

  • Nursing home administration
  • Financial management and business courses
  • Gerontology

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asserted a master's degree in health services administration or business administration is becoming the standard for most administrative positions in healthcare. Credible experience in the healthcare field or another related field may act as a substitute for a degree (www.bls.gov).

Nursing home administrators take on many tasks in overseeing the operations of a nursing facility. The administrator must manage the facility and reinforce its policies. They must also handle finances, manage employees and ensure the safety of the facility's patients and visitors. Those interested in working in this field must be properly licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state.

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Becoming Licensed

Most states have their own Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Board. For example, in New Jersey, the licensing examination is generally given through a contracted examinations service, such as the Professional Examination Service (PES). The National Association of Boards of Examiners for Long Term Care Administrators (NAB) is comprised of separate state boards, and is responsible for awarding licensure to qualified candidates.

According to the BLS, after becoming licensed by the board, all nursing home administrators must complete continuing education courses. Continuing education credits may be acquired by:

  • Attending state board approved continuing education programs
  • Attending internal continuing education programs from an employer
  • Undergraduate and graduate coursework
  • Publishing text or teaching in the field of nursing home administration
  • Home-study courses approved by the state board

Salary and Career Outlook

The BLS reported in 2015 that medical and health services managers working in nursing care facilities made a mean salary of $87,970 per year. The BLS predicts faster-than-average 17% job growth for medical and health services managers in general from 2014-2024; within the field, demand for nursing home administrators is expected to be high as the baby-boomer population ages.

Certification for nursing home administrators is optional, but may increase job prospects. Nursing home administrators look after the finances of the nursing home, oversee staff, and are ultimately responsible for the daily operations of the facility. Most nursing home administrators have a master's degree in their field, and they are required to take continuing education courses.

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