Eldercare is a rapidly growing industry where there is the potential to have a significant career. Assisted living administrators will be in growing demand as America’s aging baby-boomer population increases the need for long-term care services. Job opportunities will be especially good for applicants with strong management skills and experience working in a health care-related field. Salaries paid to administrators vary by the size of the facility as well as the qualifications, experience and responsibilities of the administrator.
The average salary for assisted living administrators in the U.S. was $71,272 in 2010, according to data compiled in the 2010-2011 Assisted Living Salary and Benefits Report. The starting salaries for entry-level positions usually begin around $30,000 annually. Depending on a number of other factors, administrators at the top of the pay scale can earn $100,000 or more a year.
As a rule, a two-year associate’s degree in Assisted Living Administration is the minimal educational requirement for an assisted living administrator. Most assisted living facilities require that job candidates have a bachelor’s degree in Health Science or a related field. Many facilities even require that experienced administrators have a graduate degree in Health Care Administration as a condition of employment. Nearly all states require certification in Assisted Living Administration.
Administrators working in long-term care facilities located in the Northeast, Southeast and Western regions of the nation earn higher salaries on average than administrators in other areas of the U.S., according to the 2007 Long-Term Care Salary Survey. Administrators of facilities in the Northeast earned the highest average salaries in 2007, whereas administrators employed by facilities located in the North Central and South Central regions of the country earned the lowest salaries. Facilities located in suburban and metropolitan areas tend to pay administrators higher salaries than do facilities located in rural regions.
Factors other than regional location determine how much assisted living administrators earn on average. Executive-level managers employed by for-profit facilities do not necessarily earn higher salaries than those working for nonprofit facilities, as the number of years of experience normally leads to higher earnings regardless of the type of facility. Although more women than men work in the long-term care industry, women earn about 20 percent less on average. Administrators heading assisted living facilities generally earn less than administrators working in continuing care retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities.