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How to Become an Administrator at a Nursing Home

To become a nursing home administrator, an individual must finish high school, complete postsecondary studies, get on-the-job experience prior to entering the workforce and obtain a license. Many students may do well to earn bachelor's degrees. Some jobs, however, may require students to earn master's degrees.

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Steps to Becoming a Nursing Home Administrator

Step 1: Graduate from High School

A high school diploma or its equivalent is generally required to pursue postsecondary studies. Although some schools and programs admit students who have not completed high school, most degree programs relevant to nursing home administration require students to have high school diplomas, at minimum. Taking additional courses in business and the sciences while in high school may serve as preparation for nursing home administration programs.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Many majors exist for individuals interested in managing nursing homes, including health services, long-term care, nursing administration, health sciences or public health. Because many nursing home administration jobs require students to pursue graduate education, those earning bachelor's degrees usually start out as assistant administrators. Additionally, students who wish to take on degree programs in nursing administration must be registered nurses prior to enrolling.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Some graduate programs look for students with professional experience in healthcare. Because entry into graduate programs may be competitive, students with work experience in the healthcare industry may have a slight advantage, noted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Work experience can be gained through internships completed prior to the end of the bachelor's degree program or through part-time or full-time jobs held while in high school or college.

Step 4: Earn a Master's Degree

While not required for all jobs, master's degrees are becoming the norm for many jobs in nursing home administration. Some master's degree programs allow students to specialize in particular types of facilities, such as hospitals or nursing homes. Some programs also include supervised administrative experience through internships.

Step 5: Obtain a License

All U.S. states and the District of Columbia require nursing home administrators to be licensed. Requirements for licensure include earning at least a bachelor's degree, completing a state-approved training program, passing a state licensing exam and pursuing continuing education.

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