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What are requirements for an ALF administrator in Wisconsin?

By April 20, 2024May 8th, 2024No Comments

This week, a reader asked about the requirements for an administrator of the assisted living facility they’re purchasing.  The answer depends on the state where your facility is located.

First, it’s important to know that the administrator is in a critical position in an assisted living facility.  They often have responsibility for all day-to-day operations in the facility.  The administrator may have a role in the facility’s licensing and liability with regulators for how the facility operates.

Second, the administrator in one facility might be called something else for the same position in another facility.  Administrators in assisted living might also go by executive director, facility manager, director of operations, community director, and others.

So what are the requirements for an assisted living administrator?

As noted above, the legal requirements of the administrator are likely established in the rules and regulations for your state.  Here’s an example.

In my home state of Wisconsin, an assisted living facility’s administrator has detailed qualifications and responsibilities set by the Department of Health Services.  The rule for community-based residential facilities (one type of assisted living in Wisconsin) can be found in DHS 83.15.  The rules for an administrator’s qualifications include things like:

  • Minimum age
  • Education
  • Work experience

The rule for service staff in residential care apartment complexes (another type in Wisconsin) can be found in DHS 89.23.  While the administrator isn’t defined in the rule for RCACs, it does cover the role of a Service Manager.

The assisted living rules in other states may or may not have detailed requirements for the administrator position.  You should be able to find those rules, if they exist, by searching your state’s assisted living regulators website. 

However, no matter what the regulations in a state have as a minimum requirement, each operator of an assisted living facility should have their own guidelines about who is qualified to fill that position.

An Assisted Living Administrator’s Job Description

We’re often asked what should go into an administrator’s job description.  The outline below is a good starting point for an assisted living operator to create their administrator job description.

Assisted Living Administrator Job Description:

As the Administrator/Executive Director, you will be responsible for the overall management and operation of our assisted living facility. Your primary goal will be to ensure the highest quality of care and service delivery to our residents while maintaining compliance with all regulatory requirements and company policies.

Key Responsibilities:

1.  Leadership and Management:
– Provide strong leadership to staff members, fostering a positive work environment and promoting teamwork.
– Oversee all aspects of facility operations, including staffing, budgeting, and resident care.
– Develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure efficient and effective operation of the facility.

2. Resident Care and Services:
– Ensure that residents receive personalized care tailored to their individual needs and preferences.
– Monitor resident health and well-being, coordinating with healthcare professionals as needed.
– Foster a supportive and engaging community environment for residents, encouraging participation in social and recreational activities.

3. Compliance and Regulatory Oversight:
– Maintain compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations governing assisted living facilities.
– Conduct regular audits and inspections to ensure adherence to standards of care and safety protocols.
– Serve as the primary point of contact for regulatory agencies and licensing bodies.

4. Financial Management:
– Develop and manage the facility’s budget, ensuring that expenses are in line with revenue projections.
– Implement cost-saving measures and revenue-generating initiatives to optimize financial performance.
– Monitor financial metrics and key performance indicators to assess the facility’s financial health and identify areas for improvement.

5. Community Engagement and Outreach:
– Build and maintain positive relationships with residents, families, and the broader community.
– Represent the facility at community events, networking functions, and industry conferences to promote awareness and generate referrals.
– Act as a liaison between the facility and external stakeholders, including healthcare providers, vendors, and advocacy groups.


– Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration, Business Administration, or related field (Master’s degree preferred).
– Minimum of 5 years of experience in healthcare management, with at least two years in a leadership role within an assisted living or long-term care facility.
– Strong knowledge of regulatory requirements and best practices in assisted living operations.
– Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to interact effectively with residents, families, staff, and external partners.
– Proven leadership abilities with a track record of motivating teams and achieving organizational goals.
– Demonstrated proficiency in financial management, budgeting, and resource allocation.
– Ability to multitask, prioritize responsibilities, and adapt to changing circumstances in a fast-paced environment.


The administrator position in an assisted living facility is essential, possibly the most critical position that ensures a successful facility for residents, staff, and owners.  State licensing rules will guide you to a minimum set of qualifications.  However, owners and operators should consider much more than the minimum requirements when hiring for this critical position.

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