Are there Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA) Certification Programs?

In 2016, the US had more than 15,000 nursing homes with 1.4 million residents.

This number is projected to rapidly grow with the aging Baby Boomer generation and the following generations retiring.

This leads to increased job opportunities in the management of retirement and nursing home facilities.

Those who are passionate about hospitality and the natural propensity of organizations can benefit from this.

There is a high demand for skilled administrators who can manage the operations of nursing homes in the US, such as patient care, staff scheduling, record management, and equipment maintenance.

LNHA jobs have a lot of responsibility, but the average compensation for this makes it worth it.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service managers have a median annual salary of $99,730 per year.

The employment rates are projected to grow by 20% through 2026, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations nationwide (7%) over the same period.

Like in other industries, employees in nursing care can move to higher-paying managerial positions after working for some time in lower or entry-level administration positions.

Some advance to management roles by becoming registered nurses (RNs).

This way they have hands-on clinical experience while other professionals start in administration at medical institutions and work their way up to management roles.

There are many ways to obtain a role as a medical service manager, but gaining certification as in a specific area of interest is a good idea too.

For example, those interested in working with elderly patients can gain a licensed nursing home administrator (LNHA) certification.

One very straightforward path to the goal is earning a master of health administration (MHA).

The exact MHA specialization could be long-term care, nursing home administration, or senior services, which allow students to receive in-depth knowledge in the field and help them stand out among other candidates.

With one of the concentrations, students can also prepare for LNHA licensing.

The licensure is available through the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) in the following specializations:

  • The LNHA.
  • Residential Care and Assisted Living (RCAL).
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).

Every day, nursing home administrators deal with managing the duties of employees, admitting new patients, making sure that operations in the nursing home or retirement facility run smoothly, and showing prospective patients the facilities.

How to Get an LNHA Certification

The requirements for officially registered LNHAs can differ by state.

Some states require an associate’s degree, others require a bachelor’s degree.

Also, some states oblige candidates to pass the exams, others don’t.

According to the data of September 2019, eight states required only an associate’s degree for an LNHA license.

These states include Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, South Dakota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

In Montana, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Utah, only a high school diploma is required.

The other 38 states require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum.

As mentioned, some states require an examination to get an official LNHA license.

The states that don’t require candidates to pass the exam include:

  • Alaska.
  • Georgia.
  • Delaware.
  • Kentucky.
  • Connecticut.
  • Hawaii.
  • Maine.
  • Iowa.
  • Nebraska.
  • Massachusetts.
  • New Mexico.
  • New Jersey.
  • New York.
  • Utah.
  • Washington.
  • Rhode Island.
  • Virginia.
  • Wyoming.

Other states require candidates to pass the examination, after which they will become officially licensed.

Be sure to differentiate between the two requirements.

For example, while in Wyoming one needs a bachelor’s degree but no exam required to become an LNHA, in South Dakota, the exam is required, but an associate’s degree is enough for the licensure.

Depending on the state and the degree candidates are going for, the duration of the program ranges from one to two years, or longer, based on how many credits one takes at a time.

After that, a certain number of continuing education hours are required every year to maintain licensure.

The number of hours also depends on the specific requirements of the state and can range quite significantly.

For example, New Jersey requires 60 hours biannually while Tennessee requires only 18 hours per year.

Featured Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA) and Related Degree Programs

Utica College

Utica College offers a master of healthcare administration (MHA) program, which focuses on teaching students how to develop and implement administrative strategies and analyze various accounting processes in healthcare.

Students can choose one of three areas of specialization – service organization, acute care, and nursing home administration.

They may customize their studies by taking leadership elective courses by three credits each that meet their professional goals.

The program covers quality management, ethical and legal issues, public healthcare policies, healthcare accounting, and more.

  • Location: Utica, New York.
  • Accreditation: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Tuition Cost: Approximately $50,000.
  • Duration: One to two years.

Maryville University

Maryville University offers an online master of health administration (MHA) with a variety of concentrations.

They include data management, senior services, population management, and healthcare strategy.

No experience in healthcare is required, so this program is ideal for students aspiring to start a career in the field and stand out from more experienced competitors.

The program is 100% online and doesn’t require any campus visits.

The start dates take place in the fall, spring, and summer.

  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Tuition Cost: Approximately $32,000.
  • Duration: Two years.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has an online master of arts (MA) in health and human services administration that lasts for two years.

The program has a special focus on preparing graduates to obtain LNHA licensure in Minnesota and other states.

The program includes 36 credits and covers such courses as illness, aging, the continuum of care, health informatics and application, strategic health and human services leadership, advanced health policy and ethics, finance for health service administrators, and more.

Tuition includes a pre-loaded with Saint Mary’s specialized course software for iPad.

  • Location: Winona, MN.
  • Accreditation: MN Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators (BENHA).
  • Tuition Cost: $23,040.
  • Duration: Two years or more.

Purdue University Global (Related Program)

Purdue University offers an online master of public health (MPH).

This program provides healthcare administration expertise together with in-depth knowledge of epidemiology and behavioral and social sciences.

The program also has a family and community health concentration with a focus on family unit-related issues, which is perfect for candidates seeking LNHA certification.

The program includes a final practice-focused capstone project that gives students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to a relevant healthcare management issue.

The program is fully online, and graduates develop the professional, ethical, and administrative skills required to manage various aspects of healthcare leadership.

  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Tuition Cost: about $25,000 in-state; about $35,000 out-of-state.
  • Duration: Two years.

Keiser University (Related Program)

Keiser University has a master of business administration (MBA) in health services administration.

The study is focused more on business aspects rather than the clinical aspects of the job.

The core courses cover management, accounting, finance, and marketing.

Students can learn either in a fully online or hybrid format, which combines distance and face-to-face learning.

Both help students gain strategic thinking, communication and technical, analytical, problem-solving skills, and team approaches to business development solutions.

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Tuition Cost: About $12,000.
  • Duration: One to two years.

New York University Wagner (Related Program)

The master’s degree in health policy and management of NYU Wagner is ranked #2 by the U.S. News and World Report.

The online program features online lectures and live discussions that serve as virtual classrooms, so the online program is interactive.

Students engage in deep case study analysis, which prepares them for the real-life circumstances they can face as health service managers.

Courses cover managerial accounting for healthcare organizations, strategic management, and entrepreneurship for healthcare organizations, public policy and management, and more.

This program is one of the most highly-rated in the US, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most expensive too.

So you may want to keep this in mind when considering it.

Applicants need to have one year of full-time experience in healthcare and should be employed in a healthcare-related field in the US.

  • Location: New York, New York.
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Tuition Cost: Approximately $80,000.
  • Duration: 28 months.

Featured Online Programs


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