Growing Need in Elder Care Facilities

In 1950, only 8 percent of U.S. adults were age 65 or older. That figure was 12 percent in 2000 and will reach 20 percent by 2050 according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The number of people age 85 and over will increase from 6.3 million in 2015 to an estimated 17.9 million in 2050. As the number of older adults increases, so does the need for elder care facilities. These facilities include nursing homes, assisted living, residential care and adult day services. The CDC projects the number of people who use these facilities or home care services will increase from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050.

Elder care facilities need skilled administrators to manage them. One way to gain the skills for these jobs is to earn a bachelor's degree in long term care administration. This degree covers topics such as finances, policy, management, and marketing and communication skills.

Nursing Home Administrator Jobs

Nursing homes provide care for people who do not need hospital care but need more than home care. Nursing home residents include both the elderly and disabled younger adults. In 2013, the U.S. had 15,700 nursing homes according to the CDC. The following are some duties of nursing home administrators:

  • Overseeing the admission and care of nursing home residents.
  • Hiring and managing staff.
  • Managing the finances and care of the building.
  • Complying with federal and state regulations.

All states require nursing home administrators (NHAs) to have a license, and licensing requirements vary by state. Most states require a bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved training program. They also require NHAs to pass the NHA licensing exam. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) administers the NHA exam.

Some states also have a state-specific exam. Some states require previous work experience in a healthcare facility, and some states require completion of an administrator-in-training (AIT) program.

Nursing home administrator jobs and managers of other elder care facilities are medical and health services managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 50 percent of these managers in nursing and residential care facilities earned $76,730 or more in 2014. The mean salary was $85,730. According to the BLS, employment of all medical and health services managers will grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Other Elder Care Facilities

Some states also require licenses for administrators of residential care and assisted-living facilities. Requirements usually include passing the Examination for Residential Care/Assisted Living Administrators given by the NAB. That exam is also available on a voluntary basis for residential care/assisted living administrators in states that do not require a license.

Another type of elder care facility is adult day services. These providers assist adults who require assistance during the day. Each state has its own regulations for adult day centers and their directors.

As the older population grows in number, so does the need for elder care. The diversity of elder care facilities means available jobs with varying educational, experience and licensing requirements. Getting a bachelor’s degree in elder care administration can help prepare you to meet these requirements.

Learn more about the LSUA online Bachelor of Science in Long Term Care Administration program.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers

National Adult Day Services Association

National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational and Employment Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers

Congressional Budget Office: Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People

CDC: Long-Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview

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