There is a growing demand for talented, educated and experienced nursing home administrator candidates, and filling this demand will become much more challenging in the future. If you are interested in becoming a healthcare administrator in a nursing home setting, the very first step will be attaining your degree. Once you earn the appropriate degree, you will need to gain the appropriate professional experience to compete in a highly competitive industry. While the need for nursing home administrators is predicted to grow, many people are studying to pursue this demanding career because it is both fulfilling and financially rewarding. If you are interested in taking the most direct path to become an administrator, here is your guide to the steps you will need to take.

Studying to Fulfill State Licensing Requirements

To become the administrator who oversees the operations of a facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you must be licensed by the state. Each and every state has a nursing home administrator licensing requirement, but the actual amount of training required to earn a state license can vary. In general, the licensing bureaus within the state will require applicants to have a Bachelor's or a Master's degree in a relevant subject area. Some of the majors that qualify as relevant include: Accounting, Health Care, Healthcare Administration and Business Management.

In addition to formal training at an accredited college, some candidates will be required to complete a state-approved Administrator in Training (AIT) program. The length of these programs can vary, but on average, students must complete 1000 hours of training over a period of 6 to 12 months. Upon completion of this state-approved program, which can be completed in conjunction with your degree, you will be eligible to sit for the state licensing exam. Because the requirements for educational experience and training vary, you will need to check with your state's Board of Examiners to discover how much schooling is required before you will be granted a license.

Gaining Experience in an Assisted Living Facility

Administrators must keep up with constant regulation changes and changes in industry standards. Because of this, nursing home administrators will need experience working within a nursing home facility before they will be considered for an open position, even when they have earned their license. Typically, individuals are hired as an administrator only after they have working in lower level or entry-level administration positions. Some relevant work experience that will look favorably upon a candidate for an administration position in an assisted living facility include: management positions in healthcare settings, employment at a nursing home, residential care facility marketing positions and volunteer work within a nursing home. Positions within hospitals and doctor offices are also preferred.

If you would like to enter a career where you will oversee all of the departments within a nursing home so that you can ensure that residents receive quality care, the first step is earning your degree. If you already possess a relevant Associate's or Bachelor's degree, review the state requirements and enroll in an Administrator in Training program if required. Once you complete this program, sit for your licensure exam. Those who pass will be licensed, which will give them the leverage they need to compete in a growing and changing employment sector. Benefit from the growing demand, and study to become a nursing home administrator as the aging population grows.