Nursing Home Management Degree and Certificate Programs

Apr 02, 2021

Essential Information

Associate of Science in Healthcare Management programs give students a foundational knowledge of healthcare management and prepare graduates for further education or to pursue entry-level management positions. These programs take two years to complete.

Every state requires that nursing home administrators be licensed, and some states call for licensing for administrators of assisted living facilities. A bachelor's degree and a licensing exam are requirements in every state. Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management programs offer a concentration in long-term care. These four-year programs give students information on the business aspects of operating a long-term care facility. For both associates and bachelors degrees, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission.

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, along with some work experience, can expand their knowledge of elder care and nursing home administration through a Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Care Management program.

Associate of Science in Healthcare Management

Curriculum for an associate degree program includes studies in management theories, healthcare law and informatics and a survey of the United States healthcare system. Students are introduced to the delivery of health services in the United States, issues in healthcare organizations and methods of improving health services to underserved populations. Studies in management explore topics like business planning and organization, staffing personnel, managing conflicts and ethical and professional behavior in the workplace. Other areas of focus include medical terminology, office management and medical coding. Sample courses include:

  • Medical procedures
  • Electronic medical records
  • Medical billing
  • Patient confidentiality
  • Healthcare regulations

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

These bachelor degree programs are offered with the option of a concentration in long-term care. Coursework in financial management introduces students to concepts like budgeting, reimbursement systems and financing for healthcare programs. A course in gerontology examines the psychology of aging, issues in elder care, development across the life span and death and bereavement. Other areas of focus include healthcare laws and ethics, healthcare informatics, patient care and human resource management.

Coursework might include:

  • Disease prevention
  • Health promotion
  • Mental health
  • Assisted living
  • Long term care management

Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Care Management

The graduate certificate curriculum offers a comprehensive survey of issues in gerontology, including community resources for the elderly, psychological aspects of aging, ethical gerontological care and the delivery of health services to elderly populations. Studies in geriatric care management examine topics like patient assessment, depression and dementia and techniques for interviewing elderly clients. A family studies course explores the dynamics of family when faced with the responsibility of caring for elderly parents and the use of family planning programs to ease the burden of adult children. Students also learn to oversee the daily operations of a nursing home and explore methods for promoting the health of aging populations. Coursework covers topics in:

  • Public resources
  • Case management
  • Aging process
  • Psychosocial assessment
  • Long term care financing

Popular Career Options

Graduates of associate degree programs go on to careers in a variety of settings, including hospitals, offices of physicians, insurance companies and more. Popular career options for graduates include:

  • Medical office manager
  • Billing coordinator
  • Health services technician

Graduates of bachelor's degree programs find employment in long term care facilities, senior and rehabilitation centers and more. Potential job titles for graduates are:

  • Nursing home administrator
  • Residential and assisted living administrator
  • Director of managed care

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers held about 402,540 jobs in the U.S. in 2020 ( The BLS also estimated that jobs in this profession would grow by 32% between the years 2019 and 2029. Medical and health services managers earned $104,280 as a median annual wage in 2020, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Because most states require nursing home administrators to hold a 4-year degree, graduates of associate degree programs might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program to fulfill the education requirements. Degree options include a Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration, gerontology or health science.

Bachelor's degree program graduates are eligible to sit for the NHA Examination for Nursing Home Administrators, offered by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). Because licensing requirements vary by state, graduates should refer to their state boards for specific licensing requirements. In order to be eligible to take the RC/AL examination for residential care and assisted living administrators (also offered through NAB), an applicant must have at least six months experience in management and leadership. In addition, they have to take a residential care and assisted living licensure course (40 hours) and pass an exam for licensure plus state law(s) exam if necessary.

Nursing home management is a very lucrative field. There are a number of academic programs at a variety of levels to help students learn the management and business skills necessary to be successful in the field.

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