A certified assisted living manager ensures the proper care of residents in the facility, guides staff, handles general administrative duties, and sometimes even provides direct care to residents. The path to becoming an assisted living manager typically involves having some work experience in assisted living, education in healthcare, and, possibly, licensure or certification as a nursing professional. Getting certified may be optional or state-mandated for this career. The process often involves taking preparation classes and passing exams.
An assisted living manager oversees the technicians, dieticians, nursing staff and other employees who help care for residents in the facility. An average day might include hiring staff, making schedules, admitting and discharging residents, managing the finances, meeting with families, and checking that the facility stays aligned with government standards. Assisted living managers may also offer direct personal care to patients, such as checking their temperature, assisting with grooming and dispensing medication. Therefore, it’s common for assisted living managers to have prior experience as nursing assistants or nurses so they can perform both clinical and administrative duties.
Some employers require that assistant living managers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree related to healthcare or social work along with experience working in assisted living. Others look for experience combined with licensure or certification as a nurse, medication technician or nursing assistant; this might involve a short-term healthcare program or a few years of education and clinical experience. Some facilities even hire high school graduates without formal healthcare training or experience, though this is much less common.
Your state determines if you need to obtain assisted living manager certification or licensure. Some states, such as Texas and Arizona, have special assisted living manager certification courses to complete along with final course and state exams. The American College of Health Care Administrators offers the Certified Assistant Living Administrator credential that can help you meet state requirements. Pursuit of this certification also helps you stand out for jobs.
A certified assisted living manager typically works full-time for one facility where they spend significant time interacting with staff, residents and their families. Since assisted living facilities don’t close, this job may require being on call and working odd hours as needed. Assisted living managers who assist with direct patient care may do strenuous work such as moving patients from beds to wheelchairs and standing for long periods.
Years of Experience and Salary
PayScale reported in July 2019 that assisted living managers earned a median yearly salary of $49,221, with half making more and half making less. The lowest paid 10 percent of assisted living managers earned under $31,000, while the top 10 percent made more than $74,000.
You can increase your earnings through promotion to an assisted living director position, for which PayScale listed a median salary of $59,616. The same source showed that assisted living managers saw their average yearly pay grow with experience:
- Less than 1 year: $42,859
- One to four years: $43,063
- Five to nine years: $50,896
- 10 to 19 years: $52,649
- 20 or more years: $55,107
Job Growth Trend
Managers of assisted living facilities, nursing homes and healthcare facilities will have excellent job prospects due to the growing elderly population, who will need more healthcare services. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS expects healthcare manager employment to expand by 20 percent, which is almost three times the growth expected for all occupations in general. This will create 72,100 more positions, and you can expect to find additional healthcare manager job openings as others retire. You can have even better prospects as an assisted living manager if you get your master’s degree, have supervisory experience and are comfortable with healthcare technology.