How to Get an Assisted-Living Administrator's License

If you wish to work in an assisted-living facility such as a nursing home in an administrative capacity, you must have the proper training and experience. In the past, an official administrative license has not been required to obtain such a position. However, more states are now requiring a license or certification. Even if your state does not require it, earning a license will not only give you the proper training and knowledge to succeed in an administrative position, but also a distinct advantage over other applicants who are not licensed.

Volunteer or work in an assisted-living facility in any capacity to see if the reality of the job meets your expectations. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with an administrator to discuss your career goals and the pros and cons of the position. If possible, meet with multiple administrators at multiple facilities.

Ensure you have reached the proper age level to apply for an administrator's license. In some states, such as Alabama, the minimum age is only 19, but in many others, like North Carolina, the minimum is 21.

Check the requirements for the license in your state. Most will require completion of an authorized course, a certain amount of work experience or a combination of both. If you have questions about specific requirements for your state, contact the state board, or ask your local facility administrator for assistance.

Try to obtain a position in a licensed assisted-living facility in an administrative, resident or patient care capacity. You will need to hold this job for a certain amount of time, depending on your state's requirements and your educational background. Then get a letter of recommendation from the facility's administrator.

If you choose or are required to do a training course, research your options thoroughly. Find out which programs are accredited with the state licensing board, and talk to alumni if possible to find out what they liked and disliked. Consider cost, time and commitment required for each program.

After you have completed the required amount of time working and training, apply for your license. Submit your application, transcripts, letter(s) of recommendation, proof of age, background check, fingerprint cards and anything else required directly to your state board of licensing. Your school or training program may help with this.

Take your state's written examination as required by your Division of Health Service Regulation or the like. Pass the test and start sending out applications.


  • Your state may have a provisional license or a series of exams you may have to take. You will likely have to renew every few years and take continuing-education classes along the way.