Becoming a Nursing Home Administrator: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
Nursing home administrators are considered health service managers, who earn a median salary of around $92,000. Is it worth the licensure requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about your potential career outlook to find out if becoming a nursing home administrator is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators fall into the broader field of medical and health services managers, according to categorizations by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Consider the pros and cons of working in this capacity in order to decide if this career path is right for you.

Pros of a Health Services Management Career
Bachelor's degree is the entry-level requirement*
Work in offices in a medical setting*
Faster-than-average growth predicted for this field (23% from 2012-2022)*
Pay is good (median hourly wage was about $44 in 2014)*

Cons of a Health Services Management Career
All states require nursing home administrators to be licensed*
May face competition from those with a master's degree*
May be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays*
Tasked with overseeing staffing as well as business operations*
Must be able to adapt to new technologies, laws and regulations*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Info

Job Description and Duties

A nursing home administrator's main goal is to improve the quality and efficiency of care given to nursing home residents. These professionals often represent the nursing home on governing boards and must stay up-to-date on current laws and regulations involving the facility. In this role, you can expect to manage finances, organize records, admit new residents and supervise all staff. You may also be responsible for the maintenance and care of the building. Expect to work full time, including some shifts on weekends or evenings.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers earned a median annual wage of about $92,000 in May 2014. Furthermore, the job outlook in this profession is good. The BLS estimates a 23% growth in employment from 2012-2022. This growth is most likely due to the aging of the baby boomer generation and the increased need for long-term care facilities.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

The entry-level requirement for a career in medical and health services management is a bachelor's degree in health administration, although the BLS states that most employers prefer to hire candidates possessing a master's degree in areas such as business administration, public health or health services. You may be able to specialize in nursing home administration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses in accounting, human resources administration, ethics and health information systems are often part of health administration programs.

Licensure Requirements

Upon graduation, you need to pass your state's licensing examination for health administrators in order to work in a nursing home. Though requirements vary by state, an individual who completes an accredited baccalaureate program in a relevant field typically then needs to satisfy 1-2 years of approved training. This candidate then needs to sit for and pass the state's examination.

Top Skills for Nursing Home Administrator Careers

Advertisements for nursing home administrators often seek candidates who are organized, detail-oriented and responsible self-starters. Here are examples of what some real employers looked for during April 2012:

  • A continuing-care retirement community in Ohio advertised for a licensed nursing home administrator with a bachelor's degree in health care administration, although an advanced degree was preferred. Candidates also needed at least five years' experience in long term care administration.
  • A long-term care organization based in Indiana advertised for a nursing home administrator with between five and seven years of experience. Candidates were required to have a state license in health facilities administration with a minimum of four years of work experience in an administrative role.
  • A human services company based in Colorado advertised for a state-licensed nursing home administrator with at least one year of experience working in a management role. Candidates also needed to be certified in Basic Life Support.

How to Maximize Your Skills

For the best job prospects as a nursing home administrator, you may wish to pursue a graduate degree. The more education you receive in both business and medicine, the more you will stand out. Experience from the bottom up may also make you look like an attractive candidate: Begin as an assistant administrator, and then aim for a position as a department head in a long-term care facility; ultimately, you can pursue a nursing home administration role.

Alternative Career Paths

If you like the sound of this job but don't wish to work in a nursing home, you can consider becoming a human resources manager or community service manager. These professionals perform similar duties to those done by a nursing home administrator, but for other organizations - and they don't need to be licensed.

Human Resource Manager

According to the BLS, human resource managers face a 13% job growth outlook from 2010-2020. Their median annual pay in was roughly $99,000 in May 2011. Like nursing home administrators, they can get started with only a bachelor's degree; however, they should focus on organizational management, business or human relations rather than health care.

Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers earned a median annual wage of nearly $59,000 as of May 2011. These professionals work with community organizations and programs. The BLS predicted that from 2010-2020, these managers could expect a job growth of 27%, which is even higher than that expected for nursing home administrators. Potential fields in which to earn a bachelor's degree are social work or public administration.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Qualitative Research)
      • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Quantitative Leadership)
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Administration
      • Master of Science in Health Administration with an Emphasis in Health Care Quality and Patient Safety
      • M.S. in Health Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Bryant & Stratton College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BBA Medical Services Management
      • Health Services Administration - BS
    Associate's
      • AS - Medical Administrative Assistant
      • Medical Reimbursement & Coding, AAS
      • AS - Medical Reimbursement and Coding
      • Health Services Administration - AAS
      • Medical Administrative Assistant - AAS
    Certificate
      • Health Services Admin Diploma
      • Medical Office Assisting Diploma
      • Health Services Assistant - Diploma
      • Medical Billing and Coding Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Associate's
      • Associate of Applied Science in Health ScienceNo Concentration
      • Associate of Applied Science in Health SciencePreprofessional
      • Associate of Science in Health Science
      • Associate of Science in Health SciencePreprofessional
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Medical Billing and Coding
      • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences: General
      • Doctor of Health Sciences: General
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

    The University of Alabama

  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • New York, NY

    New York University

Featured Schools

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Qualitative Research)
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Bryant & Stratton College

  • BBA Medical Services Management
  • AS - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Health Services Admin Diploma

What is your high school graduation status?

Purdue Global

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health ScienceNo Concentration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health SciencePreprofessional

Which subject are you interested in?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Medical Billing and Coding
  • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist

What is your highest level of education?

Liberty University

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences: General
  • Doctor of Health Sciences: General

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your highest level of education?