Written by: Staff Writer
Last updated: May 2020

Individuals wondering how to become a nursing home administrator can find all the information they need on this page, including education and licensing requirements. The vast majority of these professionals hold a bachelor's degree in health administration or a related field, though some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree. 

All 50 states require these professionals to hold licensure, although requirements for receiving this requirement vary by state. Keep reading to learn more about the steps that must be taken to fill this role, including salary information.

Educational Requirements for Nursing Home Administration

Nursing home administrators in training must complete a bachelor's degree in health administration or a similar topic. These programs require at minimum four years of full-time study. Part-time programs exist but take longer than four years to complete. Common topics of study include healthcare law, health informatics, and public health regulatory issues. In addition to working as a nursing home administrator, graduates of these programs can also find work as medical and health services managers. 

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As the field matures, more and more employers expect candidates to possess a master's degree in healthcare administration. Most of these programs require two years of full-time study, but accelerated and part-time programs are also available. Coursework taken in these programs includes managerial accounting for healthcare, health insurance and reimbursements, quality management and patient safety, and managerial epidemiology.

Experience Requirements

With the immense amount of responsibility and authority given to nursing home managers, employers look for candidates who possess related experience in the field. Many master's in healthcare administration programs include a supervised experience component to help learners build experience while still in school. Because many of these professionals possess experience in clinical roles, the industry also favors those who previously worked as registered nurses or in other client-facing positions.

If entering the field from a non-clinical background, seeking out assistant manager positions allow job seekers to gain experience in the field prior to taking on a senior-level position. These experiences allow individuals to learn the ropes of the industry and build leadership skills prior to being the one in charge. There are plenty of good jobs that can give field experience. Those who don't know where to start can reach out to nursing home administrators and ask about the professional path they took to their current position.

Licensing Requirements for Nursing Home Administrators

As mentioned previously, all states require nursing home administrators to hold an active and unencumbered license. This qualification ensures that professionals meet and adhere to professional standards set by the industry and stay up-to-date on continuing education and professional development regarding emerging trends and issues.

Individual states set licensure requirements, making it important for candidates to contact their state board to learn more. In Washington, for instance, candidates must possess a bachelor's degree, postgraduate work experience, and evidence of completing an administrator-in-training program. They must also pass the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards and supply any additional information and/or documentation as required.

Career and Salary Outlook for Nursing Home Administrators

Nursing home administrators earn substantial salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found the average annual wage for medical and health service managers was $100,980 in 2019. Professionals in the top 10% of earners received more than $189,000 during the same time period. Roles in the government tend to offer the highest salaries, while those in physicians' offices offer the least. 

The BLS projections for career growth 2018-28 forecast that nursing home administration jobs will grow 18%, which translates to nearly 71,600 new jobs. Individuals not yet ready for this type of senior level position can choose from a selection of entry-level roles in healthcare administration to build up their experience. If pursuing the required bachelor's degree does not work with their schedules at this time, students can also begin their studies with a health informatics associate degree.