Nursing Home Administrator Degree Program Overviews

Prospective nursing home administrators can choose from degree programs that meet state licensing requirements, including an associate's degree in long-term care administration, a bachelor's degree in healthcare management and a master's degree in health services administration.

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Essential Information

Many of these programs offer extensive studies in business leadership and practices to prepare students to oversee finances, personnel and facilities management for nursing homes or long-term care establishments. Students can also expect to take courses in gerontology, health policy development, patient care management and assisted living practices. Advanced studies often provide internships in actual nursing homes or similar settings. The master's degree can usually be earned in about two years.

In terms of admissions requirements, a high school diploma or GED is required for associate's and bachelor's level study. Master's programs require a bachelor's degree, satisfactory GMAT or GRE scores, letters of reference, a personal essay and professional experience. Students may also be interested to know that some online courses and programs are available.


Associate of Applied Science in Long-Term Care Administration

An associate's degree program in long-term care administration prepares students to work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for the elderly. Students are prepared to perform administrative tasks like budgeting, activity development and managing a long-term care facility. Business courses teach leadership and ethics, while financial courses focus on financial management and payroll accounting. Major coursework includes studies in healthcare operations, patient care and facilities regulations.

Coursework prepares students to effectively administer the daily operations of a long-term care facility, including caring for and promoting the health and independence of elderly patients. Courses in this degree program include:

  • Assisted living
  • Long-term care marketing
  • Nutrition management

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

Students can choose from several specializations in healthcare management, including community health and long-term care administration. Both of these programs fulfill the education requirements for the Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Examination. Healthcare management courses prepare students to maintain the financial stability of a healthcare organization, while also achieving the highest level of patient care. Students in the long-term care concentration complete additional courses in gerontology, patient rights and nursing home administration.

Healthcare management courses provide the foundation for developing effective leadership skills to manage the daily operations of a healthcare facility. Students take additional coursework in psychology, sociology and statistics. Other courses include:

  • Ethics
  • Human resource management
  • Healthcare laws

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  • Medical Claims Examiner
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  • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
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Master of Science in Health Services Administration

A health services administration master's degree program prepares students for state licensure as nursing home administrators. Students learn to manage health information systems, plan health promotion programs and budget programs in health, government and non-profit organizations. Other topics might include United States healthcare laws, organizational theory and disease. Students must complete a thesis project and an internship at the close of the program.

In addition to coursework involving business management and administration, courses focus on financial aspects of the healthcare industry. Courses that are common to this degree program include:

  • Healthcare policy
  • Healthcare marketing
  • Risk management

Popular Career Options

Graduates go on to work in a variety of positions in long-term care facilities, including patient care, activity development and administrative services. Popular career choices for graduates include:

  • Activity assistant
  • Caregiver
  • Nursing home administrator

Graduates go on to a variety of careers in the healthcare industry, including administrative and managerial positions. Popular careers for graduates include:

  • Nursing home administrator
  • Residential program director
  • Home health care manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical and health services managers in nursing care facilities held 19,940 jobs in the United States (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that employment is projected to grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024. The mean salary for medical and health services managers in nursing care facilities in May 2015 was $87,970.

Continuing Education and Licensing Information

Graduates can go on to an administer in training program, which is a requirement of many states to take the Nursing Home Administrators Examination through the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards. Some states require a state-issued examination, and other continuing education options are a bachelor's degree program in healthcare management.

Graduates are eligible to sit for the Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Examination. Opportunities are also available to enroll in a variety of master's degree programs that prepare them for nursing home administration licensure, including healthcare management, public health and gerontology.

Graduates can take the Nursing Home Administrators Examination or continue on to a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) program. Colleges and universities offer Ph.D. programs in healthcare administration, health services administration, health policy and public health. All of these programs prepare students for careers in research and teaching at higher education institutions.

Prospective nursing home administrators can choose from a range of degree levels and programs, including an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree. In terms of employment prospects, students often go on to careers as a caregiver or nursing home administrator.

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