How to Become an Administrator at a Nursing Home

To become a nursing home administrator an individual must complete several steps culminating in state licensure. In nearly every state, nursing home administrators are required to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing home administration or a similar degree and have relevant work experience in order to be licensed by the state.

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There are several key academic and professional steps that must be taken in the process of becoming a nursing home administrator.

Graduate from High School

A high school diploma or its equivalent is generally required to pursue postsecondary studies. Although some schools and programs admit students who have not completed high school, most degree programs relevant to nursing home administration require students to have high school diplomas at minimum. Taking additional courses in business and the sciences while in high school may serve as preparation for nursing home administration programs.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree

While many majors exist for individuals interested in managing nursing homes, a bachelor's degree in nursing home administration is consistently the most recognized for licensure by the state. Other majors that may satisfy licensure prerequisites include the following:

  • Health services administration
  • Healthcare administration
  • Long-term care administration

Gain Work Experience

Relevant work experience is also a requirement for nursing home administration licensure. States require applicants to either have completed relevant work experience at a healthcare facility or to complete an approved internship program. For example, New York requires an applicant to either have completed a board-approved internship or have work experience as a director of nursing services or as a department head in a healthcare facility.

Obtain a License

All U.S. states and the District of Columbia require nursing home administrators to be licensed. While licensure requirements vary by state, requirements for licensure typically include meeting the necessary education and experience standards in addition to earning satisfactory scores on licensing exams. Most states require students to take a national licensing examination, but some may also have state-specific exams. Continuing education is often required to maintain a nursing home administrator license.

Earn a Master's Degree

While not technically necessary for licensure, individuals may consider pursuing advanced degrees in or related to nursing home administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some employers prefer to hire medical and health services managers who hold master's degrees; a graduate degree may improve job prospects in the field as well.

Individuals who want to become nursing home administrators need to have a bachelor's degree and work experience in the field before they can become licensed. A master's degree may improve job prospects.

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