Certified Assisted Living Administrator: Job Description and Requirements
Assisted living administrators supervise health care services for older adults who require regular care and assistance with daily tasks. The certified assisted living administrator credential can be earned after meeting minimum education and experience requirements.
Certified Assisted Living Administrator Job Description
Assisted living administrators manage, outline and coordinate services geared toward older adults who may require assistance with eating, bathing, taking medication and other basic functions. They oversee the day-to-day operations of the assisted living facilities and ensure that all staff are providing the best service possible. Administrators supervise all security, transportation and monitoring needs at their location.
Most certified assisted living administrators work in an office setting. They are in constant communication with all workers and typically have assistant administrators on staff who handle various daily decisions and report any concerns to the administrator. Because assisted living facilities are open around the clock, assisted living administrators often work long hours and remain on call after hours.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that health and medical services managers, including assisted living administrators, earned a mean annual salary of $98,460 in 2012. Those working in New York, California and Connecticut earned the most during that year, with average salaries in each state exceeding $110,000 per year. The BLS lists a 22% job growth prediction for the medical and health services management field between 2010 and 2020; demand for assisted living administrators in particular is expected to rise in connection with the country's increasing aging population.
Certified Assisted Living Administrator Requirements
Some states require assisted living administrators to be licensed. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) offers a licensure exam that can be taken for state-licensure where required or voluntarily by administrators in states without licensure requirements (www.nabweb.org).
Education and Work Experience Requirements
In order to take the NAB exam, administrators must have a minimum of a high school diploma and two years of work experience, with one of those years in a management position. Candidates with an associate degree must have a minimum of 18 months experience, with six of them in a leadership position. With a bachelor's degree, candidates need only six months of assisted-living leadership experience.
Relevant work experience in an assisted living environment gives administrator candidates an understanding of the unique responsibilities present in dealing with the needs of older adults. Because assisted living administrators oversee valuable equipment and facilities, they must possess and constantly hone their financial and analytical skills to pursue the most cost-effective strategies for their location. Genuine concern and sensitivity for the welfare of tenants and the challenges of aging is essential.
The Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) professional certification is available from the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA). The CALA credential is awarded to administrators who meet education and experience qualifications and pass the ACHCA examination. Certification must be renewed every five years (www.achca.org).
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