There are many career options available to individuals interested in health and aging services.  Being a
health and aging services executive should be at the top of your list!  Why?  Read on to learn more about the
opportunities and rewards you can expect with this exciting career.

Why Health and Aging Services?

What is a Health and Aging Services Executive?
Health and aging services executives provide a sense of giving and fulfillment through daily interactions with residents and staff members. Individuals in this profession strive to improve the quality of life and quality of care for residents and clients in their care communities. These professionals also work to improve their surrounding cities and neighborhoods through the activities provided in care communities or a person's home. Health and aging services executives lead and coordinate many key departments that provide essential support to residents, such as administrative and human resource tasks, budgetary and financial tasks, direct care for residents and clients, move-ins and move-outs, maintenance and site improvements, and activities for residents.1 Their goal is to provide the most effective care for residents, with an emphasis on hospitality and the creation of a home-like environment, all while having efficient business operations within their care community or their company. In addition, this career has multiple job opportunities for growth within and between companies. The job security for this profession is growing every day, due to the fact that the health care field is diversifying in services provided and that the aging population(i.e., those 65 years of age or older) is increasing rapidly.2

Why Have Others Become a Professional in Health and Aging Services?

“I chose this profession because I love creating clarity from chaos and I love the older adult population. 
In this career, I was able to mix my love for medicine with my love for business.”  – Tris Rollins

I chose this field because it mixes many professions – clinical/medical, human resources, legal, and business. The benefits of this field include
job demand, salary, benefits, caring for vulnerable adults, and making an actual difference in our health care system.”  – Spencer Beard

“When I started out, I didn’t know I wanted to be an NHA. But once I saw the impact I could have, the creativity in the position, the
leadership process, and the ability to be self-managed, I found this profession very appealing. I think a benefit is definitely being able
to make a difference in people’s lives and grow as a person.”  – Sara Starcher

“I chose to become an administrator because I knew that the market for jobs in long-term care was going to be strong for many years
to come. I enjoy health care, business, and working with people – and this field offers all three. I enjoy coming into work on a daily basis
​and interacting with staff, residents, and their families.”  – Trevor Davis

Job and Salary Prospects
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for this field is estimated to increase by 20% from 2016 to 2026. As of 2016, there were about 352,200 health care executives in this field and the BLS gauges the projected employment in 2026 will increase to be about 422,000.3 Upon graduating, professionals in this field can expect to earn approximately $60,000 to $70,000 per year.1  In 2016, the average pay for health and aging services executives was $96,540. Most professionals in this field work about 40 hours per week and 30% reported working more than 40 hours.3​​

Health and aging services executives can work in a variety of settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living centers, continuing care retirement communities, life plan communities, independent senior living, and home- and community-based services.4,5 Some abilities required of health and aging services executives include ethical leadership, maturity, honesty, and effective communication skills.  Not only do these professionals work within a care community, they may also travel for association meetings, site visits to other communities, and educational conferences.  As an executive, individuals need to adapt to the constant changes in the health care environment. This includes legal and regulatory changes, technological advances, and changing consumer and purchaser demands for better quality health care.1

Educational Programs

The most prevalent educational level for this career is a bachelor's of science (B.S.) or a bachelor’s of arts (B.A.) degree, depending on the university issuing the degree.3 Some states may require health care-specific course work for licensure, and some individuals will return to school to pursue a master’s degree at some point (e.g., MBA, Masters of Health Administration).  When deciding which school to attend, individuals should be aware if the school is accredited and who the accrediting organization is. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) accredits college and university programs that are focused on long-term care administration, either at the baccalaureate or graduate level. Students graduating from programs with NAB accreditation tend to have higher scores on NHA licensure exams and are often better prepared for the profession they are about to enter.1 Another certifying organization for educational programs in this area is the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), which certifies university programs at the baccalaureate and graduate levels in health care management and policy education. Their goal is to foster excellence and drive innovation in health management and policy education.  Lastly, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits graduate programs only (e.g., MBA, MHA, MHSA, MPH) in healthcare management ​education.  Information on these three organizations can be found at the links above.   

The following educational programs are partners and sponsors of the annual NELS Summit: 
- Department of Health Services and Senior Living Leadership, Bellarmine University
- Department of Health Policy and Management, The George Washington University
- The Erickson School, Management of Aging Services Program, University of Maryland - Baltimore County
- Health Care Administration Program, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
- Health Care Administration Program, Western Kentucky University.

1.  NAB website.
2.  United States Census Bureau.  
3.  United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  
4.  LeadingAge website.  
5.  AHCA/NCAL website.