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Everything You Need to Know About Executive Directors

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Executive Director Job Description

From now until 2030, approximately 10,000 baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) will retire. As this generation ages, the need for senior living housing options will increase. Senior living housing solutions include Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), assisted living communities, nursing facilities and memory care center. Many of these housing options are led by an Executive Director. Executive Directors are primarily responsible for the operations, employee and resident relations, and regulatory compliance for their Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), or Assisted Living Facility. The Executive Director is someone who can lead with understanding, while driving exceptional business forward. Generally, the job duties of this position include:

  • Financial management of the community or facility, while working to meet budgetary goals
  • An exceptional ability to form relationships with staff, residents and their families to grow satisfaction and census
  • Identifies operational issues and implements solutions
  • Ability to develop programs and implement changes successfully
  • Implements corrective action when needed to ensure a healthy work environment
  • Ensures the facility adheres to all federal, state and local laws and regulations
  • Responsible for making hiring decisions as well as terminating staff members when necessary
  • Is familiar and dedicated to meeting company standards and goals
  • Works closely with community boards and can be a liaison between the board, staff and residents
  • Possesses an inherent desire to help others and make a difference in the lives of the people they encounter every day

Executive Directors are expected to be up to date with the operations and activities of their community or facility at all times. It is often necessary for an Executive Director to be available to their staff and residents at any given time of day, night or weekend. Since this is the nature of senior care, it is important that this person has a real passion for their service within the senior community. This person will need to be able to make quick, informed decisions that follow regulatory compliance standards in times of emergency while remaining calm and professional.

Executive Directors of large CCRC campuses serve as key management leaders and work closely with a Board of Directors to fulfill the organizational mission, develop an effective strategic plan and ensure the financial viability of the organization. They also work closely with the board to seek their input in policy decisions, fundraising opportunities and community involvement and exposure.

Job Titles Related to Executive Director

Executive Director is typically a title given to the individual who oversees a CCRC (Continued Care Retirement Community), an Assisted Living facility or Memory Care center. Other similar titles include

ED, Nursing Home Administrator (NHA), Assisted Living Administrator, Certified Director of Assisted Living (CDAL), Administrator, Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA), or Nursing Facility Administrator (NFA).

Executive Director Job Requirements

CWF_Leaderstat_Ganzhorn_3-2772 (1)-1The minimum educational requirement for Executive Directors is a Bachelor’s of Science degree from an accredited university or college. Most Executive Directors have a Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) or a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in healthcare management. Additionally, an ED may need to be a state licensed Nursing Home Administrator and have at least five years of experience within a managerial role. ED’s are often required to maintain their Nursing Home Administrator’s license by completing a minimum number of CEU’s (determined by each state’s Board of Nursing Home Administrators) each year, as well as an annual background check, tuberculosis screening, drug screening and physical. Candidates from skilled nursing facilities as well as those from the hospitality industry are also often considered for an ED position. Education, licensing, and experience for an Assisted Living Administrator can be extensive, but is a rewarding career path for those looking to improve the lives of seniors through quality care. Any person interested in taking on this role, should take time and careful consideration of what it takes to be an Executive Director.

Executive Director / Director of Assisted Living Additional Certifications

Although not always a requirement, Argentum, a national organization dedicated to supporting companies that operate resident-centered senior living communities, offers the Senior Living Certification Commission (SLCC) Certified Director of Assisted Living (CDAL) credential. Argentum states, “eligible assisted living executive directors must pass a written examination based on knowledge domains and job tasks related to knowledge and duties performed by assisted living executive directors. CDALs demonstrate competency in their role as a community leader and commitment to the highest quality of service in senior living.” To qualify for the program, candidates must have a college degree and five years of work experience as an executive director, or seven years in a management capacity at an assisted living community.

Executive Director Salary Range

The average salary of an Executive Director depends heavily on the geographical location, size and focus of the assisted living community they serve. On average, an Assisted Living Executive Director can expect an annual salary between $70,000 and $100,000, while an Executive Director of a Continued Care Retirement Community can expect an annual salary between $100,000 and $170,000. Due to the increase in the development of senior living properties, the high demand for, and the importance of the Executive Director role, salaries and bonuses are increasing.

Executive Director-Salary-1

Job Outlook for Executive Directors

+18%-1The outlook for Executive Director jobs is very good! The job market for healthcare and senior care has projected an 18% increase from 2018 to 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is due to the aging population of baby boomers as well as current high-level Executive Directors. The need for upcoming, talented, and experienced health services managers far exceeds the average for all occupations, ensuring a long lasting and steady rise in this job market.

Job Hunter Resources

LeaderStat helps the nation’s top long-term care and senior living organizations fill Executive Director positions. We have suggestions on how to advance your career into the Executive Director fields, and our senior living recruiters can be an invaluable resource to help you find the right ED position. The educational and credentialing process to start your career path as an Executive Director can seem overwhelming at first. Luckily, there are some resources that help to break down the steps and outline what’s needed. Check out this 5 step outline for tips on starting a career as an ED or Assisted Living Administrator. HealthcareAdministrationEDU has also outlined education, schools, credentialing, and resources for Long-Term Care Administrators looking to begin their career.

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