What is a Nursing Home Administrator?

Raychel Ria

Raychel Ria

Agramon-Gacayan, BSN, RN, MPM

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.03.2024

One of the more rewarding and profitable job opportunities a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) graduate can take is that of a nursing home administrator. Let’s explore the responsibilities, job outlook, and requirements of this career below. 

Job Description

A nursing home administrator is responsible for the management, operations, logistics, and human resources of a particular nursing home or long-term care facility. 

They work to make certain that the facility follows federal and state rules and regulations, thus ensuring the safety of the facility for both the patients and employees. Doing so enables the facility to receive the funding it needs from insurance companies or the government. 

Specific nursing home administrator tasks include:

  • Overseeing financial and budgetary matters
  • Maintaining and developing policies that adhere to federal and state regulations
  • Hiring, training, and monitoring staff
  • Arranging staff schedules
  • Assigning tasks to staff members
  • Interview patients and their families prior to admission to the nursing home
  • Creating patient/resident activity schedules
  • Purchasing supplies, equipment, and other facility needs
  • Managing record systems, tools, and programs
  • Attending meetings with institutions or stakeholders regarding policies, budgets, and other matters

Salary and Job Outlook

A nursing home administrator is categorized as a “Medical and Health Service Manager.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 9% of said managers are employed by nursing and residential care facilities. 

The median pay for administrators who work in nursing and care residential facilities averages at about $93,610 a year. 

According to Zippia, the best states to work as a nursing home administrator are as follows:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Oregon
  3. New Jersey
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Nevada
  6. California
  7. Idaho
  8. Delaware
  9. West Virginia
  10. Oklahoma

Despite being the second in the list, Oregon pays the most – at least for the top 10% of its nursing home administrators – at $152,000. California follows suit at $150,000. Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware, meanwhile, pay a maximum of $148,000. 

Work Environment

Most nursing home administrators work 40 hours a week (full-time.) While they usually work during office hours, some may have to toil during evenings, weekends, or holidays as needed. After all, nursing homes operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


On top of having the generalized knowledge and skills, nursing home administrators may opt to specialize in the following fields in order to further their careers: 


Many nursing home residents are geriatric patients. In order to provide better care to this population, some nursing home administrators opt to specialize in gerontology. Some schools may offer a Master’s in Gerontology alongside an MHA degree.

Healthcare Financial Management

It takes money to run a nursing home facility. In order to keep it afloat and profitable, a nursing home administrator may opt to specialize in healthcare financial management, which provides proficiency in budgeting, accounting, and other money-related matters. 

Human Resource Management

On top of overseeing operations, financials, and patient care, an integral part of nursing home administration is managing staff. As such, many administrators opt to specialize in human resource management.

An MHA degree is one of the best options to gain specialized knowledge in human resource management. This is a crucial part of the curriculum, and some schools even have a specialization track for this practice.

Healthcare Informatics

Nursing homes use a wide array of health information technologies to keep various operations smooth sailing. In most cases, an advanced degree in health information management can provide administrators with specialized knowledge in healthcare IT. 

Healthcare Law

As mentioned, the nursing home administrator is responsible for making sure that the facility follows rules and regulations. Specializing in healthcare law allows nursing home administrators to better protect their patients, employees, and facilities. 

MHA programs bundled up with a JD program can provide nursing home administrators with such specialized knowledge.

How to Become a Nursing Home Administrator

If you’re interested in becoming a nursing home administrator, then here’s what you need to do:


At the very least, nursing home administrators need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration, business administration, or any related health degree. Some nursing home administrators are doctors or nurses by profession, while some are experienced managers. 

Some may take health administration certifications to augment their knowledge. That said, many employers often prefer administrators with a top-rated MHA degree. After all, it provides the applicant with the competencies they need to become efficient in their job. 


In some areas, aspiring nursing home administrators will need to complete an internship/ administrator-in-training program or field experience. Additionally, gaining formal work experience in a nursing home may prove beneficial to your resume. 

Aspirants also have to take the Nursing Administrator Board Examination. Administered by the National Association of Long-Term Care Administration Boards, it tests one’s competencies through two exams, namely:

  • Knowledge Core for Long-Term Care Administrators
  • Line of Service for Nursing Home Administrators

Remember: even after passing the exam and obtaining their license, a nursing home administrator must undergo continuing education every two years in order to keep themselves updated with the newest trends in long-term care.

Skills Needed

Apart from completing the required degree and license, a nursing home administrator must have a strong working knowledge of the healthcare system, related rules and regulations, and healthcare informatics. Moreover, they should possess the following skills in order to succeed in their position: 

  • Leadership and management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Human resource management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Time management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Budgeting and financial skills
  • Extensive knowledge of the healthcare system
  • Health informatics 

A Day in the Life of a Nursing Home Administrator

This is what the usual workday of a nursing home administrator looks like:


The life of a nursing home administrator is never static; it’s always full of surprises (both good and bad.) That said, the usual workday starts with the handing of a 24-report. As the name suggests, this documents what happened in the facility within the last 24 hours. It often includes information about new admissions, current residents, discharges, and/or hospitalizations, to name a few.

Reading the 24-hour report is crucial for nursing home administrators as it prepares them for the day ahead. 


The nursing home administrator should ideally go around the premises and interact with the staff and patients. After all, this gives them the opportunity to monitor residents, staff, and their activities, including the equipment and state of the facility.

Administrative Work

More often than not, nursing home administrators are bogged with responsibilities such as preparing/completing reports, attending meetings with stakeholders, and dealing with families and/or visitors.

After a long day of work, an administrator may still have to deal with documents to sign and approve before being finally able to head home. 

Benefits and Challenges of Being a Nursing Home Administrator

As with any other job, the job of a nursing home administrator comes with several pros and cons: 


The work of a nursing home administrator can be tiring and draining at times, but it comes with many benefits.

For one, administering a nursing home is a fulfilling job. Every day, they see the positive impact they make, either through the praises of happy residents or thriving staff members. 

Nursing home administration also offers variety. You never do one thing, as you have to shuffle from making budgets to training new staff. At the end of the day, it can make you a well-rounded and highly capable health administrator. 


The same variety that nursing home administration offers can be quite challenging. You have to be on top of the budgeting, human resource management, and maintenance. If one falls through, the entire operation may come crashing down. 

Furthermore, budgeting or human resource management may not be a strong suit for some nursing home administrators. This is why many employers prefer those with MHA degrees as they prepare them for the said challenges.

The Takeaway

A nursing home administrator is in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of a nursing home or long-term care facility. An aspiring administrator will need to have a Bachelor’s degree, complete an internship, and pass the board exam. In most cases, employers prefer applicants with an MHA degree or equivalent.