The American College of Health Care Administrators is relaunching its advanced certification program for nursing home administrators, organization officials announced four years after discontinuing an earlier version.
The new and improved exam will measure licensed nursing home administrators’ knowledge and capabilities in skilled nursing-related subject matter across five domains. It is suited for administrators with two years or more of experience in the role.
“This credential will demonstrate an ongoing commitment to professional development and trying to practice at the top of the license,” ACHCA President and CEO Bob Lane told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday.
“The intrinsic value is to understand where you need more work. It’s great to see where you’re doing well, but it’s even more important to say, ‘OK, based on the results of this exam, I may need a little more work in finance or HR or infection control or strategic planning,’ ” Lane added. “Instead of guessing, it helps the individual to understand clearly where their professional development plan needs to be for the next year, two years.”
Lane noted that the program’s resumption fills an industry void that was created when ACHCA stepped out of the certification business in late 2019. It was launched in the late 1980s or early 1990s, but the testing tools and questions had become outdated as the sector evolved, Lane said. It also was still being offered at in-person testing sites only, which made it costly and dampened interest.
When the program was sunset, a couple hundred individuals with existing credentials were able to recertify. Those individuals will have access to recertification in the new program too. After passing the initial exam, all candidates must retest every five years.
The new program, which will be proctored through a secure online format designed by Pathway Health, offers candidates more flexibility to test when and where convenient to them. It also can be kept up-to-date and in line with questions asked on state licensing exams offered through the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.
ACHCA also announced it was restoring its Certified Assisted Living Administrator program.
Both programs are expected to go live during the organization’s 56th Annual Convocation and Expo, scheduled for April 24-27 in Baltimore.
Lane said the College is working with Pathway to create tools that make the exam more meaningful to multi-facility companies or nonprofit organizations that would like to track how well their employees perform. In addition to giving the test-takers composite scores and scores, ACHCA is developing a system that can calculate mean scores for an organization’s candidates, revealing areas of risk where organization leaders might consider bolstering internal training.
ACHCA also will be developing study guides to assist test-takers as they prepare for the exam.
For more information about the ACHCA certification program, www.achca.org/certification.