Residential Care/Assisted Living Administrator Course

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Welcome to the Idaho Health Care Association
Residential Care/Assisted Living Administrator Course.

This new updated course is designed to assist future administrators of assisted living who will take the Idaho administrators licensing examination. Completing an approved course and passing the examination are required in order to receive an administrator's license in Idaho. More importantly, the course provides a comprehensive overview of the responsibilities of an assisted living administrator.

The cost of this course is $350 for members and $650 for non-members.

Members to receive the discounted price, please contact the IHCA office for the discount code.

NEW! Starting Jan. 2011 the Residential Care/Assisted Living Administrator Course is available only online.  Please click the 'register online' link above to get started with the course.

New AL Admin Law will Require Experience after July 1st, 2011
Effective July 1, 2011, each applicant for an AL administrator license will be required to meet an experience requirement which is based on their education. 

  • If the applicant has a high school diploma or equivalent they must have 800 hours of on-site experience in a residential care facility under the supervision of a licensed administrator;
  • If the applicant has an associate degree from an accredited college or university or equivalent they must have 400 hours of on-site experience in a residential care facility under the supervision of a licensed administrator;
  • If the applicant has a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university they must have 200 hours of on-site experience in a residential care facility under the supervision of a licensed administrator.

These experience requirements are in addition to the other requirements such as completion of an approved course and passing the exam.  If an applicant does not meet the experience requirement they may submit evidence satisfactory to the board that they do have adequate experience in other health care facilities.  It is believed that this exception will be rarely granted by the board.  If you do not have the required experience in an ALF, it is recommended that you obtain a license before July 1 (it can be a 6-8 week process). 

NO REFUNDS will be issued if you purchase the course without checking to see if you meet the IBOL requirements listed here and below.  Contact IBOL at 208-334-3233 for clarification on license requirements!

Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses Requirements
Additional Idaho Requirements, IDAPA 24.19.01: In addition to the above requirements, the applicant must:

  • pay the fee at the time of application for a license ($100.00);
  • must be 21 years of age or older;
  • show proof of a criminal background check and evidence of good moral character as described next (IDAPA 24.19.01):

For all other requirements to obtain licensure, go to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensure External link icon. From this website you can see:

  • Residential Care Facility Administrators Licensure Law -- and Licensure Rules
  • Code of Ethics
  • Any Proposed Laws & Rules
  • Board Office, Members, & Staff
  • Meeting Dates, Agendas, Minutes, Financial Reports
  • Application for Licensure
  • License Renewal Process
  • Name & Address Changes -- Duplicate Licenses
  • How to file a complaint  Disciplinary Action
  • Search for Licensees
  • Additional Information of Interest
  • E-Mail the Board of Examiners

What You Will Learn From This Course
The IHCA Administrator Course introduces future assisted living administrators to five important domains of practice:

  • Financial Management
  • Organizational and Leadership Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Resident Care Management
  • Physical Environment Management

Integrated within the modules are the Idaho rules that govern assisted living and how to locate them. Other information will help provide ideas for management and methods for continuous improvement in care administration.

How the Course Is Organized
After this introduction, you will be asked to print out one module at a time which are attached as PDF documents. Some of the longer modules are broken up into several different PDFs. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from the Adobe website External link icon.

This course is a self study, online course. Throughout each module you will find major learning objectives that are intended for you to master. The information in the course should help you to meet the objective.

There is an opportunity for applicants to provide feedback to IHCA regarding both the usability and the content of this online curriculum. Please do so by clicking on the "Feedback" link located in the left sidebar of the course website.

In addition, a quiz is included at the end of each module or segment. The questions do not cover each facet of the module, but will give the learner an indication of his/her level of knowledge and understanding of the content. The quiz behind each module/segment must be passed by at least 80% before you can move ahead to the next module.

All of the questions come directly from this course or from the rules. Only some laws and rules are spelled out in this curriculum. When instructed to do so, you should follow the link to a specific section of the statutes or rules. It is a good idea to print out all of the laws and rules for future reference.

Course Completion Quiz
There is a comprehensive quiz at the end of this course.  You must pass this by 80% as well. Upon successful completion of the Module 1 - 6 quizzes and the Course Completion quiz, you will be able to print a Certificate of Completion from IHCA.

A copy of the Certificate of Completion needs to be submitted to the Bureau of Occupational Licensure.  Once all Bureau of Occupational Licensure requirements have been completed, you will then be allowed to take one of the licensure exams.

There are presently two exams to choose from, the Headmasters or the NAB exam.
You do NOT need to take both.

The Headmasters Exam
The Headmasters exam costs $100. The questions in this exam come directly from this curriculum and from the Idaho Statutes and Rules. The exam is 100 questions in length. 

It is an online exam which can be taken any place and any time as agreed upon by an approved proctor and the applicant.

The passing score is 80%. It is anticipated that more than 75% of applicants, who complete this course and study the rules, will pass this exam.

The NAB Exam
The NAB has an examination fee of $260 and a processing fee of $75. Passing the NAB exam may help you obtain a license in another state in the future. This exam is 150 questions in length and covers all five domains, but does NOT include Idaho Rules and Regulations. The passing score is 70% and more than 50% of Idaho applicants fail this exam.

NAB sells a study guide for $125 to prepare for this exam. The study guide is not an approved "course" and is not a very thorough preparation for a lengthy exam, but is of some help. This exam can be taken any time between 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, but at only two locations in the state.

Prepare for The NAB - External link icon

We encourage all students to take the Headmasters exam. Not only is the cost of the Headmasters exam more affordable than the NAB, its online format is very similar to the online format of the Residential Care Administrator course.

Technical Committee
A Technical Committee, consisting of experienced and successful administrators from a variety of assisted living facilities, was organized to help identify important information and learning activities for the five modules contained in this manual. Committee members are listed on the Acknowledgement page. In addition, they contributed content, reviewed the modules as they were developed, and made recommendations for change. The committee included:

  • Robert Vande Merwe: Executive Director, IHCA
  • Kathy Brink: Administrator, Ashley Manor
  • Mike Evans: Human Resource Director, Ashley Manor
  • Keith Fletcher: CEO, Ashley Manor
  • Mark Maxfield: COO, The Cottages
  • Sheila Beesley, RN: Quality Assurance Director, The Cottages
  • Dorothy Witmer: Health Care Education and Training

Key Advice from the Technical Committee and Other Effective Administrators
Learners are strongly advised to be very familiar with the following: 

  • The survey process conducted by Health and Welfare, and the rules and regulations for assisted living facilities (RALF).
  • The Board of Nursing rules as they apply to assisted living facilities (
  • The administrator’s responsibilities: as an administrator of an assisted living facility you are fully responsible for all of the services provided and the quality of these services.
  • Accounting principles and the mathematics required for computing the necessary calculations.
  • In addition, the administrator should always make sure to work collaboratively with a licensed nurse and always report observable signs and symptoms to the appropriate person.

Laws and Rules
Now some information about "laws" and "rules."

A law is a statute.  It starts as a bill and must pass both the House and the Senate and then be signed by the Governor. Statutes are generally shorter and more general than administrative rules.

Rules are developed by a department of the state government but must eventually be approved by the legislature.

All laws and rules in Idaho can be most easily be found at the website of the State of Idaho External link icon.

If seeking a rule, go to: 

  • State of Idaho External link icon
  • Click "Government," "laws and rules," "administrative rules," "Idaho administrative code," "Health and Welfare, dept. of (16)," and then "16.03.22 Residential Care or Assisted Living Facilities in Idaho."
  • You will reach: PDF document link icon.
  • You can then open the PDF and print a section or the entire set of rules.

If seeking a law, go to:

  • State of Idaho External link icon
  • Click "Government," "laws and rules," "Idaho Statutes," "Title 39 Health and Safety," and then "Chapter 33 Idaho Residential Care or Assisted Living Act."
  • You will reach Title 39 Health and Safety External link icon.
  • You may select each section of the statute separately and print them individually.

The cost of this course is $350 for IHCA members and $650 for non-members.
Starting January 2011 the course will be available only online.  To purchase this course you must use either a VISA or a MASTERCHARGE card.  Please be sure that you can meet all of the new experience requirements described above before signing up for the course.  NO REFUNDS can be given once you purchase the courseContact IBOL for further clarification on the new requirements for AL Administrators at 208-334-3233.

Please call IHCA with any questions at 208-343-9735.

Ready to move forward?
To begin this course click here.

Supplemental Review Course for the Assisted Living Administrator

IHCA offers an additional in-person training to help you prepare for the Headmasters Licensing Exam.  The Supplemental Review Course for the Assisted Living Administrator is a two-day classroom course that will help prepare prospective administrators to successfully pass the Headmasters exam.  This course may NOT be taken in lieu of a required course for licensure.  It is meant to be a supplement to the required course, which is a much more extensive class.  It is recommended that candidates complete a course approved by the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses prior to registering for this classroom course.  Because there is no substitute for experience, we encourage new administrators to have work experience in assisted living before registering for this course.

This 2-day training is intended for individuals who have already completed the IHCA Assisted Living Administrator Course, but have either not passed the Headmasters exam or would like to have in-person guidance prior to taking the exam.  To learn more about upcoming training dates, please view the Schedule of Events page by clicking here.