There are few things as rewarding as dedicating your time to helping demographics who are often ignored and marginalized by the general population. Opportunities in the health care field have grown exponentially in recent years, and the need for trained professionals will only continue to accelerate as more and more individuals reach the age of requiring advanced medical care. Follow these steps to take advantage of this rewarding field – nursing home administration.
1. Assess Your Current Skill Level
Although not every nursing home administration program has the same prerequisites, you'll find it much easier to grasp certain concepts if you've had experience with administration or health care in the past. This stage will help you in identifying – and accepting – a program that's right for you.
What Is Your Work Experience?
If you work in the health care industry, or have received a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field, you're ahead of the curve, especially if you've spent time with elderly patients. Have you ever taken on tasks in the workplace that show you what it's like to work in an administrative capacity? Most organizations will be happy to let employees explore new roles; discuss this with your manager and work out a plan that will help you reach your full potential.
Advanced leadership and management skills are also key to help you transition into a nursing home administration career. In most cases a master's degree will provide the additional training and education that employers look for in candidates seeking to make this nursing home administration career shift.
What Is Your Volunteer Experience?
Your day job isn't the only avenue for gaining experience that can be leveraged into a nursing home administrator role. If you've had volunteer experiences at hospitals or medical centers, you should take into consideration the valuable abilities you've gained. If not, you can always approach local organizations to find institutions that provide group orientation or training for potential volunteers on a recurring basis. Here's an example of health care volunteer requirements; an online search will usually show you similar information for local volunteer opportunities.
2. Identify and Apply to a Program that prepares you for Licensure
There are plenty of great Master of Science in Health Care Administration programs out there to choose from, but make sure that you're informed before committing your time and resources to a specific program or institution. Do your research and search for a program that will prepare you for your particular state's licensure requirements.
Investigate State Licensing Requirements
Each state has its own requirements when it comes to approving courses of study in the health care field. Make sure the program you choose covers all of the topics necessary to prepare you for the license you expect to receive, and thoroughly examine the licensure qualifications for areas that may prevent you from obtaining your license. For example, in some states age restrictions are imposed. Possession of a bachelor's degree is often necessary. In addition, many areas will administer a background check before licensing. Conduct your research early so you don't have to repeat coursework or find out that a degree you've worked hard for isn't accepted by your state licensing board. Below are several Department of Health websites with additional information. Don't see your state listed? Search online for the Department of Health website in your local area.
- California Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Colorado Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Florida Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Georgia Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Michigan Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Minnesota Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- New Jersey State Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- New York Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Tennessee Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Texas Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Vermont Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
- Virginia Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements<
- Washington State Department of Health Nursing Home Administrator License Requirements
Choose Your Ideal Study Method
Although the end goals are the same, not every learning institute helps you get your master's in health care administration in the same way. Class size, individual instructor attention, and format all contribute to the success of the program. If it's important to you to be able to study while you continue to work, take that into consideration as well. If this is the case, online courses may be a worthy choice for your new learning endeavor.
Research Your Organization
Make sure that the institution you choose is properly accredited. Read materials provided by the organization as well as student testimonials. Another suggestion is to talk with others who have completed the course of study and learn about their experience in the field.
Gather Materials and Apply
Once you've identified a master's degree program that will support your preparation for a nursing home administration license, you'll want to gather the necessary materials and information. Find out whether the organization you want to attend requires entrance exams. Order official transcripts and fill out the application paperwork.
3. Get the Most from Your Health Care Administration Education
Congratulations, you've made it into a great health care administration master's degree! It's a big commitment to study for an advanced degree, especially if it's not the only thing going on in your life. An existing career, caring for family, volunteering and other community activities can all contribute to having less time to work on your higher education.
Join or Form Study Groups
You've already committed to your courses and paid your tuition, but when time pressures get intense, it can be easy to procrastinate. Participating in a regular study group, or checking in frequently with accountability partners, will make a big difference in your ability to keep plugging away when the going gets tough.
Ask for Additional Help
Programs of study are meant to work for the majority of enrolled students, but not everyone will fit into the pre-defined mold of traditional teaching methodology. You might find that certain methods of teaching don't help you absorb the information you need to learn, or that it takes you longer than it takes other students to get comfortable with certain topics. Don't be afraid to seek out extra attention from professors or teaching assistants, attend office hours, or get help from knowledgeable friends or tutors. And whenever you find yourself having trouble, communicate!
Gain Required Experience
In order to properly prepare for getting your license, you'll need some on the job training in addition to your educational coursework. Rules vary from state to state as to how and where you can fulfill your experience requirements, so make sure that you understand what you're expected to do to satisfy state regulations.
4. Take Your Licensure Exam
Ideally, you will have fulfilled your experience requirements before or during studying in a health care administration program, and you'll be ready to take your test while the information is still fresh in your mind. Many educational institutions have courses that will help you prepare for your exam, and you can also find test preparation resources online.
Following these steps will give you a big boost in achieving your dream of working as a professional in this industry. With hard work and determination, you'll have an engaging, useful, and rewarding career path ahead of you.
Think you're ready to get your nursing home administration license? Learn more about a Master of Science in Health Care Administration degree from Utica College!