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The National Association of Long-Term Care Administrators Boards (NAB) describes the Administrator-in-Training Program as “a supervised internship during which the AIT works under the guidance and supervision of a preceptor, who is a licensed administrator meeting the qualifications established for preceptors by their respective states. The internship is a unique phase of education consisting of the supervised practice of long-term care administration in the Nursing Home (NHA), Assisted Living (RCAL), and/or Home and Community Based Services (HCBCS) environment.” ¹

HSM’s Program further builds on NAB’s framework to ensure that newly minted Administrators are fully equipped to deal with the many challenges that this field presents. HSM believes that the AIT Program must be fully immersive, and candidates should be prepared to personally take on every potential task in each department that may eventually be asked of your own employees. Yes, this includes everything from waxing floors and washing dishes to participating in employee terminations and periodic reports to the facility Board of Directors.

Success in this Program will require dedication and continued development of acute critical thinking skills. A keen attention to detail is a must with any professional position and will be especially crucial for an effective Long-Term Care Administrator.  The reward is a fulfilling career ensuring quality of life and excellent care for our most vulnerable.



The HSM standard Administrator-in-Training Program (Phase 1 of 2) is 2,000 hours. This is not to say that it is required; however, HSM has had great success with AIT’s that have been allotted this amount of time to fully develop.  An AIT’s experience, in concert with their level of education and skills, will assist the Preceptor in determining if deviations from the standard are beneficial; these cases will be rare and may further depend on individual State requirements. Those same metrics shall help guide the Preceptor and AIT in customizing the experience to allow for the best path of development.

While there are some state-specific scheduling rules to consider, the HSM standard AIT schedule covers each of those requirements for the areas that we operate in:

  • 40 hours (minimum 30, maximum 40) over five (5) days per week;
  • At least six (6) hours of each workday must be served between 7 am and 10 pm, except that between 40 and 80 hours of the total hour requirement must be served between 10 pm and 7 am;
  • Regardless of the total hour requirement, between six (6) and fifteen (15) months must be served as an AIT prior to sitting for the examination(s).

Once a candidate passes both their State and National exams and receives their license, HSM is typically able to place the newly licensed Administrator at one of our facilities to finish out phase two of the Program.


HSM believes that newly licensed Administrators greatly benefit from a second year in the Program as an Assistant Administrator (Phase 2 of 2).  This will allow the candidate to put the skills and knowledge they’ve learned to the test.  It also offers an opportunity for the candidate to have a mentor on-site for guidance and further development of their skills.  During this phase, the Assistant Administrator is a full-time employee expected to work alongside the Administrator in fulfilling their job duties.  Special projects may be delegated to the Assistant Administrator at times, but in no way is this position an “Assistant to the Administrator.”  The full weight of the Administrator role will be experienced during this phase.  However, ample support will always be available to further develop leadership skills and continue building on the foundation set in Phase 1.

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