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Becoming a Nursing Home Administrator

Those looking to grow into a rewarding new career in the field of health care may consider becoming a nursing home administrator. As a nursing home administrator, one is responsible for supervising clinical and administrative affairs of nursing homes and related facilities. Typical duties also include overseeing staff and personnel, financial matters, medical care, medical supplies, facilities and other tasks required to run a nursing home facility. After completing a master’s degree in health care administration, one needs to gain state licensure in order to become a nursing home administrator.

Qualification and Exams

As one of the first requirements in this field, one must qualify to take the state and national Nursing Home Administrator Examinations. They must also attain a passing grade of at least 75 percent on the state and national Nursing Home Administrator Examinations. To find out a specific state’s requirements, visit www.nabweb.org.

Exam Preparations
The Nursing Home Administration Examination is intended to assess the knowledge and understanding of information and tasks, essential for entry-level licensure as a nursing home administrator. As a result, one must be well-versed in all nursing home administration areas. Nevertheless, there are study materials available to better prepare one for the exams.

The state examination is different in every state and practice materials for each state are available. For the national examination, there are sample questions for each section of the test in the NAB Study Guide, which can be ordered online. Additionally, there are many online resources such as publications and forums to obtain study information.

Taking the Exam
As the State Nursing Home Administrator Examination varies from state to state, the number of questions pertaining to specific areas of study is also different. On the national level, the questions for the examination come from current health care administrators across the country. Practicing administrators create exam questions and submit them to the National Associate of Boards, where they are reviewed by a number of people. If questions pass the review stage, they are placed in a question bank to be used on future examinations. The national exam is made up of 150 questions and covers the following five topics:

  • ::  Resident Centered Care and Quality of Life (38%)
  • ::  Human Resources (13%)
  • ::  Finance (13%)
  • ::  Environment (15%)
  • ::  Leadership & Management (21%)

Similar to the SATs and other standardized tests, it is beneficial for exam participants to answer all questions, even if they are not sure of the correct answer. On the National Nursing Home Administration Examination, students are not penalized for wrong answers, but graded on the correct answers. If you fail at your first attempt at either examination, you are able to retake the tests. However, once a student fails either examination three times, additional training is required before they are able to take the exam again.

Continuing Education

In addition to meeting certain qualifications and passing both the state and national exams, one must also complete a continuing education program. Continuing education courses provide a number of benefits - not only do these courses help professionals stay sharp in their skills, but also, completion of courses ensures they are up to speed with the latest advancements in their field.

Continuing education requirements vary by state. For example, in California, a NHA licensee must complete 40 hours of NHAP approved continuing education courses with 10 hours in the area of patient care or aging. However, in New York, 48 continuing education credits are required unless you are notified otherwise. It is the responsibility of the NHA licensee to research and enroll in continuing education classes, keeping the state requirements in mind. To find requirements for your state, check with the Department of Public Health.

If you aspire to be a nursing home administrator, obtaining an online master’s degree in health care administration is a step in the right direction. Conversely, there is more to the career than the completion of a degree program; keep in mind that business and health care experience, a passing grade on both the state and national examination and completion of the state’s continuing education requirements, are necessary to pursue a health care administration career.

Though it takes a great deal of hard work to get there, a career in nursing home administration is rewarding, as one works to create a safe and functional environment for others in need. Additionally, the nursing home administration industry is growing and evolving, thus creating more opportunities for skilled individuals. As a result, the future in the nursing home administration industry is an exciting, rewarding, and bright career for those looking to pursue a master’s degree in health care administration.