ACHCA began certifying nursing home administrators in 1981 and, through the years, the program has been revised several times to reflect emerging trends in professional credentialing. Certification is a means of demonstrating mastery of content at an advanced practice level. In today’s world, post-acute and aging services leaders need to practice at the top of their license to meet the challenges they face every day. This newly updated program, a keystone program of ACHCA for many years, will enable leaders to understand where their strengths lie, and more importantly to isolate the areas where additional work is needed in core domains. The certification exam results will provide a natural professional development path for individuals and organizations alike.
The CNHA exam is based on the exam blueprint developed by the ACHCA Certification Committee, Subject Matter Experts as well as the four “Domains of Practice” as set forth by the National Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB):
The ACHCA CHNA certification examination includes many aspects of NAB’s “subdomains of practice” including, but not limited to:
With inconsistent administrator requirements across states, experienced assisted living administrators can demonstrate their knowledge and ability through ACHCA Professional Certification. Since the assisted living sector does not have federal regulatory oversight and is regulated by the states, the ACHCA Professional Certification process provides a national quality standard for assisted living administration. The CALA exam is based on the exam blueprint developed by Subject Matter experts based on the NAB-recommended references for the Resident Care and Assisted Living Lines of Service Exam. ACHCA’s CALA program serves as a model for advanced practice in assisted living administration. Not all states mandate licensure of assisted living administrators. Those that do have varying eligibility requirements to practice in the profession.
The Professional Certification Program identifies and honors administrators, executive directors, and managers performing at an advanced level of skill and knowledge. Certified Nursing Home Administrators may be eligible for some form of licensure recognition in participating states/jurisdictions.
Professional Certification reflects a commitment to residents, families and staff. Certified administrators have advanced knowledge and experience to lead their facilities.
Professional Certification promotes quality in the profession and im-proves the public image of administrators. The presence of a Certified Administrator in a long-term care organization speaks well to consumers evaluating an Assisted Living Community or Skilled Nursing Facility.
Certification is a voluntary program that allows experienced and practicing administrators to validate their knowledge, skill, and abilities. Professionally Certified individuals cite a strong feeling of personal accomplishment.
Candidates who sit for the certification exam receive detailed score reports to assess zones of strength and zones for development. ACHCA offers a series of bootcamps, webinars, and consulting services to assist candidates with professional development needs and services.
Some employers encourage their administrators to become professionally certified, and others look for Certification as a condition of hire. Certification is considered a “mark of distinction” on a résumé.