Long-term care facilities are focused on providing ongoing residential medical and personal care around-the-clock for patients who are unable to live independently in the community. Long-term care facility managers are highly trained leaders who oversee the daily operations of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day cares, rehabilitation centers, and some home health services. Like other health administrators, long-term care facility managers wear many hats in handling the staffing, budgeting, marketing, legal, billing, record-keeping, and other business aspects of their center. Long-term care facility administrators play an important part in using their administrative expertise to improve the quality of patient care services.
According to the BLS, the overall mean annual salary for health administrators in America is $103,680, which could be equated to an average hourly wage of $49.84. In particular, long-term care facility managers receive a lower average annual income of $82,820 in nursing homes, $83,010 in rehabilitation centers, $79,130 in assisted living facilities, and $81,800 in other community-based elderly care services.
When just starting out in long-term care administration, managers can expect to land in the bottom tenth percentile of earnings with a yearly salary under $55,890. Although this may seem low, it's important to remember that senior long-term care facility managers with years of experience in executive administration can make upwards of $161,150 each year.
Long-term care facility administrators have the primary responsibility of planning, organizing, and supervising the delivery of care to residential patients. Managers work hard to make certain their long-term care facilities are adhering to the latest healthcare regulations for high-quality service. On a typical workday, the long-term care facility manager may be involved in managing patient fees, creating work schedules, keeping service records, communicating with medical staff, directing fun activities for live-in patients, overseeing the admissions process, training new employees, and purchasing medical equipment. Long-term care facility administrators will often attend meetings regularly with physicians, therapists, families, and local governing boards.
In order to succeed in long-term care administration, you'll need to fine-tune your interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with staff, collaborate with executive directors, and speak with health insurance representatives. Long-term care facility managers must be knowledgeable about the latest new healthcare laws and have the analytical skills to make needed policy changes. Being detail-oriented is helpful for long-term care administrators to keep the record-keeping process as streamlined and organized as possible. Leadership, critical thinking, managerial, problem-solving, and ethical decision-making skills are also important. Long-term care facility managers should have a certain level of technical ability for using electronic health technologies too.
Degree and Education Requirements
Before becoming a long-term care facility manager, you must obtain at least a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Most administrators start out their career by earning an undergraduate major in health administration, business, public health, health services management, or public administration. To make sure you're prepared for leading long-term care facilities, take elective courses related to nursing home administration, health economics, human resources management, organizational behavior, accounting, finance, health informatics, strategic planning, and community health. Many aspiring long-term care facility managers choose to further their education with a Master of Health Administration (MHA) for more in-depth leadership abilities.
Pros and Cons of the Position
Being a long-term care facility administrator requires a high dose of responsibility, so it's no surprise that the career has both advantages and downsides. On the positive side, long-term care facility managers work in the well-respected medical industry for job stability and high salary potential passed the six-figure mark. Long-term care facilities offer a dynamic, warm work environment in which administrators can positively touch lives daily. Long-term care facility managers also have the chance to specialize their career to their interests, such as managing the care for Alzheimer's, mentally disabled, or hospice patients. On the other hand, long-term care administration can be a stressful job due to the pressure to keep operations running smoothly. Long-term care facility managers also work long hours beyond the 40-hour week and spend a considerable amount of time in the office with little patient interaction.
While you're acquiring a proper education, it's advised that you immediately get started in building an impressive resume filled with relevant practical experience. Show your leadership capabilities by completing an administrative internship, working part-time in a nursing home, or simply volunteering your free time in a local hospice. Employers will generally look for long-term care facility administrators who have five to eight years of management experience, so starting at entry-level may be necessary. All 50 states nationwide require long-term care facility managers to be appropriately licensed. Requirements can vary greatly, but most states will mandate that you complete an approved degree and pass an exam. You should also consider becoming certified through the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). You can become a Certified Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA) or a Certified Assisted Living Administration (CALA). At least 150 continuing education units will be required every five years.
Statistics show that at least 60 percent of all individuals will require extended living assistance for a disability, illness, injury, or terminal condition in their lifetime. As our nation's large baby boomer population reaches later adulthood, it's likely there will be a spike in the demand for long-term care services. Thus, long-term care facility administrators will find no shortage of job opportunities in managing the day-to-day operations for this care, especially as facilities become larger to hold more patients. According to the BLS, employment of health administrators is projected to grow much faster than average by 23 percent before 2022, which will create around 73,300 new jobs total. Long-term care facility administrators can find the most favorable prospects by earning a master's degree and pursuing proper certification.
Now more than ever, natural leaders are needed to take over growing positions in long-term care administration. Long-term care facility managers are given the task of coordinating every little detail that goes into providing excellent care to patients with chronic conditions, severe pain, disabilities, dementia, injuries, old age, and terminal illnesses. If you choose to become a long-term care facility administrator, you'll have the rewarding chance to positively impact the ease with which residential patients' physical and emotional needs are met.
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