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Nursing Home Adminstrator's Education Requirements

by Maureen Malone

Nursing home administrators not only oversee the finances, staff and maintenance of the facility, they also manage the admission and care of residents. Managing a nursing home is a demanding job that sometimes requires administrators to work nights, weekends and holidays to handle emergencies. All states require nursing home administrators to be licensed. Specific requirements vary but all states require administrators to pass a national or state licensing examination.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Most states require nursing home administrators to complete at least a bachelor's degree. According to the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, a few states, such as Colorado and Alabama, allow applicants to take the licensing examination with only an associate degree. Some states require applicants to complete specific coursework in addition to the bachelor's degree. For example, in New York, nursing home administrators must complete 15 credit hours in nursing home administration, health care financial management, legal Issues in health care, gerontology and personnel management.

Graduate Level Degree

Although a master's degree in nursing home or health care administration is not required as a minimum qualification, a graduate level degree helps make health care administrators more competitive in the job market and may be required for advancement. In addition, it may take the place of work experience required by some states. For example, in California, administrators with only a bachelor's degree must also complete at least 1,000 hours in an Administrator-In-Training program. Administrators who complete a master's degree only need to complete a 480-hour internship or residency to qualify for licensure.

Other State Requirements

Some states offer alternative qualifications. For example, in California, individuals with at least 10 years of work experience in a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility may complete 60 semester credit hours and the 1,000 hour Administrator-In-Training program as an alternative to the bachelor's and master's degree qualifications. In Michigan, administrators who do not have a bachelor's degree may also qualify by holding a current registered nursing license. They may also qualify by completing Michigan State University’s nursing home administration continuing education program, Madonna University's nursing home administration certificate program or Oakland Community College’s health care administration certificate program.

Continuing Education Credits

Most states require nursing home administrators to complete continuing education courses to maintain a current license. These courses also keep administrators current in the trends of long-term and nursing home care facilities. For example, according to the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, administrators in Delaware must complete 48 continuing education credit hours every two years. In Louisiana, administrators must complete 15 credits per year to maintain a current license.

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