How To Become A Nursing Home Administrator: Steps And Requirements

how to become a nursing home administrator

Providing adequate care for the elderly and disabled in nursing homes is necessary in order to maintain a healthy living. While providing care for them is very important, the job is not easy. This is because the job requires someone who has tolerance and patience. Now, a nursing home administrator plays the role of providing this care for the old and disabled in senior living facilities.

Nursing home administrators work in nursing homes to provide medicare to patients who do not need to be in a hospital but cannot take care of themselves. Patients receive services including physical, speech, occupational therapy, and medical treatment from these professionals.

While a variety of professionals work in nursing homes, one of the major roles within the facility is the nursing home administrator.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs of nursing home administrators are projected to grow 32 percent from 2020 to 2030. Nursing home administrators will continue to be in demand as the U.S population ages. Additionally, there will be a need for more long-term care facilities that will require experienced professionals to manage their operations.

If you wish to become a nursing home administrator, it will require you to put in a lot of hard work, patience, tolerance, and dedication.

So, in this article, we will discuss the processes involved in how to become a nursing home administrator, the job description, the salary, and the job outlook. Continue reading below.

Who is a Nursing Home Administrator?

A licensed nursing home administrator (LHNA) is a health care professional who is responsible for overseeing the clinical and administrative operations of nursing homes and other associated facilities.

The core responsibilities of LNHAs include overseeing staff and personnel, financial matters, medical care, medical supplies, facilities, and other responsibilities required to run a nursing home facility.

LNHAs must possess a working knowledge of the physical and psychological effects of the aging process before they can examine the daily needs of old people. The knowledge will enable the LNHA to implement the necessary care, rehabilitation, and drug administration so as to treat the resident or improve their standard of living.

On the other hand, NHAs or LNHAs are responsible for conducting employee interviews whereby they evaluate the skills of applicants to get the best fit. NHAs also train new employees so that they will have knowledge of the protocols and regulations guiding nursing homes.

LNHAs manage the financial aspects of nursing homes by collaborating with accounting and payroll software systems that enable budget and expense reports. While managing the affairs of the facility, NHAs ensure the smooth running of nursing homes by complying with federal and state laws.

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What are the skills required of a nursing home administrator?

While the minimum educational requirement for NHA jobs is a Bachelor of Science degree, there are skills that you must possess in order to thrive well in the field. When you have these skills along with your degree, you will be open to more senior living jobs anywhere and any time.

Therefore, the necessary skills for the nursing home administrator job include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Orientation to detail
  • Analytical skills
  • Decision making
  • Strong interpersonal communication
  • Technology skills
  • Financial management

Where does a nursing home administrator work?

Generally, nursing home administrators (NHAs) work in long-term care facilities where the elderly and disabled receive healthcare. They work by managing the operations of the facility. NHAs may also work in other settings.

The typical settings that NHAs work include:

  • Adult daycares
  • Memory care facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Senior homes
  • Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) nursing homes
  • Continuing care retirement communities  

READ: Best Nursing Homes In Texas In 2022

How To Become A Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

Like every other career in the healthcare field, the journey of the NHA begins with acquiring a bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, some aspiring NHAs go to nursing school first before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration.

The above shows that you must acquire a certain level of education before you can enter the field. While this is a basic requirement, there are other steps you need to take in order to become an LNHA.

Below are the steps to becoming a licensed nursing home administrator:

1. Go to nursing school

Some aspiring NHAs attend nursing schools and graduate to become nurses. However, this is not a requirement to becoming an administrator.

If you wish to take this pathway, you will need to acquire either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You must acquire any of these degrees from an accredited nursing program. Afterward, you take and pass the NCLEX-RN and gain some work experience as a nurse.

2. Acquire a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration

If you gained an RN license after completing your nursing school education, you will not need it for the role of a NHA. You must acquire a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration before you can enter the field.

Candidates who are not nurses can go straight for the bachekor’s degree in healthcare administration.

3. Acquire a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration

While a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration is the basic requirement to get into the field, a master’s degree will take you far.

Nursing home administration requires a master’s degree as you will have to carry out several administrative tasks. These tasks include budget planning and proposals, federal regulations, and human resource (interviewing prospective employees and managing safe staffing ratios). 

4. Get a license

Every state has its own requirements for gaining licensure as a nursing home administrator. So, before you can enter the field of nursing home administration, you must acquire licensure as federal and state laws guide senior living facilities.

The national license for NHAs is administered by the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). Additionally, aspiring NHAs may choose to complete any of the licensure below:

  • Residential Care and Assisted Living (RCAL)
  • Nursing Home Assistance (NHA)
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

NOTE: Not all states recognise the certifications listed above. Therefore, it is advised that you check the NAB website for state licensing.

Each state has its own requirements for licensure exams but a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related field is required by all the states. In addition to the bachelor’s degree, candidates must be between 18 and 21 years of age, pass a background check, and have anywhere from 200 to 2,040 training hours.

READ ALSO: Best Nursing Homes in Indiana 2022

What is the job outlook for nursing home administrators?

Statistics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that about 1.3 million people occupy approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the U.S. Each of these nursing homes have an administrator managing their affairs.

The U.S Census Bureau reports that about 10,000 baby boomers have been turning 65 years on every passing day since 2010. This figure is expected to double over the next four decades. These people are getting older hence, they will always need constant healthcare.

In addition, the old or elderly will get the required healthcare from using homes, adult daycares, and retirement communities. These facilities will have to be managed by NHAs.

The job outlook of nursing home administrators is very good. This is because of the aging baby-boom population and that fact that senior administrators are reaching retirement age hence, making more available spaces for candidates.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook of NHAs is expected to grow 17 percent by 2024. There will be a high demand for NHAs as the U.S. population ages and these people will need more long-term care facilities.

FAQs on How to become a Nursing Home Administrator

Is healthcare administration a stressful job?

Administrators in senior facilities are responsible for improving operations in facilities and patient outcomes. The job of administrators come with lots of stress as they work for irregular hours, take several phone calls at home, keep up with government policies, and manage other personal issues.

What are the specializations for a nursing home administrator?

Adminstrators in a senior living are expected to know it all because they manage all the operations in those facilities. However, they may choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Healthcare Financial Management
  • Legal Issues in Healthcare
  • Gerontology
  • Personnel Management
  • Healthcare Informatics

Is the NAB exam hard?

Reviews from past candidates show that the NAB exam is hard. Passing the exam requires non-stop studying.

How many times can I take the NAB exam?

You can take the NAB Core of Knowledge Exam (CORE) and/or the NAB Nursing Home Administrator Line of Service Exam (NHA LOS) up to four (4) times in only one year.

What score do I need to pass the NAB exam?

You will need to score 75% or higher in order to pass the NAB exam.



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