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Nursing home administrator career spotlight

Start a Fulfilling Career as a Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing homes provide care and support for elderly and disabled individuals who cannot care for themselves at home. Some are operated by the state, while others are privately owned. Regardless of how they're run, however, all nursing homes need administrators to manage the facility and to direct staff. A nursing home administrator serves as the point of contact for the venue, making critical decisions and managing the budget. Like other health administrators, they use their years of experience, knowledge of federal regulations, and background in health care to make a difference in the lives of others. In addition, as the aging population grows, this crucial role is likely to be in greater demand.

Some nursing home administrators work in facilities with other names, such as senior homes or retirement communities. They might also work in an assisted living facility. Each of these long-term care facilities provides a different level of care to residents, but professionals in the administration position serve similar roles. A nursing home typically provides more care to residents, including those who are unable to move or speak on their own.

But what is a nursing home administrator? What career goals should you prioritize to become one? And what does a successful career in this field look like?

What can you expect from a nursing home administrator job?

Understanding the nursing home administrator job description will help you decide if this is the best career choice for you. You might wonder, "What does a nursing home administrator do?" Here are a few of the roles they assume during the work day.


  • Hiring, training, and firing nursing home staff members, from clinical workers to administrative personnel.
  • Conducting performance reviews on employees to determine effectiveness and work ethic.
  • Meeting with prospective residents to tour the facility and to learn about the services provided.
  • Communicating with residents and prospective residents as well as their families.
  • Working with clinical staff to create a plan of care for each resident and to oversee residents' progress and condition.
  • Advocating for residents so they receive the standard of care they deserve.
  • Instituting policies, rules, and procedures for the facility to protect everyone involved and to comply with governmental regulations.
  • Establishing a practical budget for the facility and allocating funds to specific departments or expenses as needed.
  • Overseeing the billing of residents for services rendered.
  • Managing janitorial and support staff to ensure the facility remains clean and well-run.
  • Leading teams in the nursing home to ensure all staff members meet goals and fulfill residents' expectations.
  • Deciding when to send residents to other health care facilities, such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
  • Overseeing the transportation of residents to other facilities or locations.
  • Serving as an agent of change to ensure the nursing home evolves with the times.
  • Upgrading equipment and technology in the facility to reflect the changing needs of its residents.
  • Making presentations to the nursing home's board of directors or other executive team.
  • Brainstorming solutions for financial or practical problems that arise during the facility's operation.
  • Providing regular safety training for all personnel.
  • Helping families cope with their loved one's condition and progress.
  • Coordinating visits from other health care professionals, such as physicians and occupational therapists.
  • Scheduling social or physical activities for residents based on their abilities.

Nursing Home Administrator Jobs

Work environment

As part of a facility's management team, a nursing home administrator works in an office setting, though they might also move to other parts of the facility when needed. Since an administrator has to oversee and fill out significant amounts of paperwork, he or she might spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk.

They can sometimes endure high stress levels depending on the working conditions. For instance, some days might involve numerous patient transfers and other events that require coordination. Consequently, administrators must know how to manage stress effectively and how to stay calm during stressful situations.

Since nursing home administrators often have clinical experience, they might have to assume health services roles throughout the day. For instance, if an aide or nurse calls in sick, the administrator can pick up the slack. Patient care remains a top priority in any facility, so administrators must prioritize patient care over administrative duties.


Though most nursing home administrators work typical business hours, many positions require overtime to ensure that all of the administrator's obligations have been fulfilled. Since nursing homes remain in operation 24 hours per day, including holidays, administrators might have to come to work in the evenings and on weekends.

This is especially true during an emergency situation. Administrators have to advocate for their patients and residents to ensure they receive the highest level of patient care. If a family member of a resident voices a concern, he or she often talks directly with the administrator to resolve the problem. After-hours issues can extend the work day, so administrators have to be prepared for this.

What qualifications are required to become a nursing home administrator?

Nursing home administrators have two separate skill sets — clinical and managerial — so they must develop their educational and experiential backgrounds to reflect both areas.


Nursing home administrators can follow varied paths to their careers. For instance, some obtain their master's degree in health care administration or related areas of the study, which prepares them for the managerial aspects of this job. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many nursing home administrators serve as registered nurses (RNs) for several years before they pursue administrative positions. Let's dive in to the general educational requirements for such a position.

An RN must complete an appropriate program to obtain a license. They typically get their associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing, which can take three or four years of schooling. They must then pass a state-administered exam to receive their nursing licenses.

Getting both a master’s degree in health care administration and an RN degree can help fuel your career trajectory toward an administrative position. For instance, many RNs go back to school to get their master's degrees. Earning advanced degrees allows them to expand their employment options and salary potential in the health administration field.


Nursing home administrators need several years of clinical experience so they can manage clinical professionals well. They might work in clerical roles, as well, or serve as administrators in other health care venues, such as assisted living facilities or rehabilitation centers.

There is no set amount of experience you'll need to land a job as a health administrator. However, increased experience will give your resume more weight and improve your chances of getting the position.


You'll need the following skills to excel in long-term care administration:

Personnel management: You'll be responsible for hiring, training, and managing all of the staff members at your facility.

Organization: Nursing homes can prove busy and chaotic, so you must have excellent organizational skills.

Communication: All administrators have to communicate effectively with residents and their families as well as nursing home staff and outside medical professionals.

Technology: Many nursing homes use electronic health records systems and similar technology, so you'll need to know how to use them properly. Technical skills will serve you well in this role, particularly as health information technology evolves.

Analysis: Knowing how to analyze a situation or problem and to find a workable solution will serve you well in this career.

Leadership: You must set an example for your employees and create a safe environment for personnel and residents.

Salary expectations

How much do nursing home administrators make? It depends on their experience and the location and the size of the facility. The average annual salary for this position nationally is $78,500 . Follow the link and enter your location to compare average salaries for nursing home administrators in your area.

Job outlook for nursing home administrators

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Projected growth

The BLS includes nursing home administrators in its "medical and health services managers" category, a field projected to grow much faster than average across all industries and occupations. Employment for this job is projected to increase by 32 percent between 2020 and 2030, which means that these professionals will have plenty of career opportunities to find work over the next decade. As the baby boomer generation gets older, more and more older adults will need beds in nursing homes, which will require facilities to hire more employees.

Additionally, many people do not become nursing home administrators until later in their careers because of the increased emphasis on experience. Consequently, the turnover is higher than in other positions as administrators age and retire. This creates new job opportunities for younger professionals who have obtained the necessary experience and education.

Career path

If you're thinking about becoming a nursing home administrator, plan your educational goals and work experience accordingly. Consider obtaining your RN credentials and working in this position at a hospital, nursing home, or similar facility. You might pursue your master's degree while you work so you have the administrative credentials to move up. Alternatively, look for administrative-focused positions related to health care.

After you've worked as a nursing home administrator, you might find ways to move up in your career by joining the board of directors or becoming an executive.

Nursing home administrators occupy a critical role in the lives of the residents in their facilities. They create safe, supportive environments for both patients and staff, maintaining high quality standards of care. If you're thinking about getting a job as a nursing home administrator, start searching for new job openings today.

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