RCFE workplace safety

What Is the Best Way to Ensure Workplace Safety for Your RCFE?

Workplace safety is an important subject when it comes to managing a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) and needs to be considered when you want to start an assisted living business

While regulations for workplace safety are required by law, they also set the stage for a healthy and effective workplace culture at your RCFE. 

An RCFE is a complex environment to manage. Staff provide residents with personal care, meal preparation, medication assistance, activities, housekeeping, laundry tasks and facility maintenance. 

Each of these operations carries its own set of occupational hazards. By prioritizing workplace safety, you set the example for everyone at your RCFE and create many tangible benefits for your whole facility.

explainer for RCFE compliance

Remember, you must know your workplace safety regulations before you can submit your RCFE license application and open an RCFE. Additional information is available on workplace safety in the OSHA manual for RCFEs.

Prioritizing Workplace Safety Shows You Care About Your Workers and Residents

When an employer goes out of their way to ensure day-to-day tasks are being performed safely, it shows everyone that the leadership is looking out for the safety of those they are responsible for. This action has an effect on workers and residents. 

When workers know the leadership cares about their well-being and workplace safety, rules are communicated to staff along with this message. Those actions will help build relationships between workers and leadership in your RCFE

RCFE workplace relations

If you take care of your personnel, they will take care of you. You enforce safety because it keeps people safe, not just because of regulations.

Let’s review a few pieces of information about workplace safety protocols.

When to Report Injuries and Illness at an RCFE

If an incident happens at your RCFE where a worker may have been injured or becomes ill, being aware of the regulations regarding incident reporting are critical. Here are the required steps to determine if an incident must be reported at your RCFE:

  • Was it fatal?


  • Was there a hospital admission for the worker?


  • Was there an amputation or loss of an eye?


  • Did serious permanent disfigurement occur to some degree?

If the answer is no to all of these questions, the incident does not need to be reported.  But, if the answer is yes to any of these questions, you must report the incident to CA/OHSA immediately, within 8 hours at the latest.

workplace injury prevention for RCFE

Reporting incidents quickly (when required) will ensure you stay within regulations and show that you prioritize the safety of those at your RCFE.

Make Sure Patient Handling Is Being Handled Properly

Each year, thousands of injuries occur to patients due to unsafe handling. To make sure your RCFE doesn’t produce one of these statistics, know the patient safe handling regulations.

Patient safe handling regulations apply when the handling of the patient falls within one of the types of patient handling categories. There are four types of patient handling, according to first aid certificate RCFE California regulations:

  • To lift: moving the body of a patient vertically or supporting any part of the body or the entire body.


  • To mobilize: placing in motion any part of the patient’s body or to assist in doing so


  • To reposition: altering the position of the patient in a chair, gurney, bed, or another type of support


  • To transfer: moving a patient from a surface to another surface, for example, from a gurney to a bed


Make sure you review the patient handling regulations and ensure they are followed when patient assistance activities fall within one of these categories.

Also, patients might know when they are being handled improperly. Your patients should know and feel they are being cared for and that they are your priority.

Hazardous Chemicals Are Not for Consumption

Hazardous chemicals need to be properly labeled according to regulations. Don’t assume that it is obvious to everyone at an RCFE what items are hazardous and which ones are not. Below is a partial overview of how hazardous materials should be labeled according to regulations.

protect RCFE residents

Hazardous chemicals require the following elements on labels:


  • Name, address, and phone number for the manufacturer of the chemical, importer, or other party that is responsible


  • Product identifier: this is the method for how the hazardous chemical is identified. For instance, this could be the name of the chemical, batch number, or its code. The product identifier must be the same on both the label and in section one of the SDS


  • Signal words must be used on the label to communicate the level of severity of the hazard and alert the person who is reading to the potential hazard. Only two words can be placed as signal words, “danger” and “warning” 


  • For a given hazard class, “danger” is for the more severe hazards. “Warning” is for the less severe hazards.


  • Hazard statements must be present. Hazard statements outline the nature of the hazards of the chemical. 


  • When appropriate, this will describe how hazardous the chemical is. For example, a chemical might cause damage to the kidneys as a result of exposure to the skin.

These are only some of the elements required on labels! Make sure to read the Cal/OSHA Hazard Communication Regulation — a Guide for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals to know the complete list of required elements!

An RCFE may have residents who have a hard time discerning hazards. A resident could have poor eyesight or be unable to tell what is dangerous because of intellectual disability, to name only a couple of reasons.

Workers might get distracted while trying to handle multiple tasks or might not be familiar with containers or chemicals. Clear labeling, proper handling, and correct storage of all hazardous chemicals are needed to create your desired safe environment.

Make Sure Your RCFE is OSHA Compliant

Again, If you are looking to open an RCFE, workplace safety regulations are just one of the subjects you will have to know. 

Make sure you are knowledgeable about workplace safety and other requirements. The assisted living administrator certification you must obtain for the RCFE license application will test your knowledge of these topics.

Taking Care of Your team

There is a lot to know when it comes to workplace safety for your RCFE! Here we briefly reviewed regulatory information for incident reporting, patient handling, and labeling hazardous chemicals.

Our brief review should remind you that there are many regulations to stay on top of. This overview only scratches the surface.

Regulations can be very detailed with their requirements. You will need to get your hands on the regulations and read through them to ensure you are following the rules correctly. 

Make sure you and your staff have the complete list of updated workplace safety regulations. Get the latest version of the OHSA manual for RCFEs

Remember, safety starts with you. It is important to understand that when you are running an RCFE, everyone will be looking to you for guidance. . 

However much you ‘let things slide’ or ignore regulations when it is convenient, your workers will match your example. Your behavior example will determine how your workers follow regulations when you are not there.

Assisted Living Education is Your Resource for RCFE Certifications, Licenses and Guidance

In the end, the responsibility falls on you. Are you looking to improve your RCFE’s performance? 

Assisted Living Education is a certified vendor providing RCFE classes for employees and guidance in keeping your RCFE compliant and running smoothly.

Contact us today.


how to start an RCFE at home

5 Questions to Ask Before Turning Your Home into an RCFE

Perhaps you’ve just started to think about converting your home into an assisted living facility (RCFE), or maybe you’ve already done much of the research but just can’t come to a final decision. Take your time and consider all the aspects and ramifications involved. The decision you make not only affects you, but also family members, future residents, and employees.

Deciding whether to start any new business is challenging, but starting an assisted living business requires particular deliberations. Running an RCFE takes dedication, tenacity, and a love for the seniors you bring into your home. This article looks at five essential questions to examine before reaching a definite conclusion.

1. Is My Home in a Good Location for an RCFE?

Since we’re focusing on turning your home into an RCFE, this question is pivotal. Although not all potential residents look for the same things when considering the location of a facility, most mention basic requirements:

  • Safe, peaceful surroundings without excessive noise or traffic
  • Interesting walking routes with sidewalks in good repair
  • Proximity to medical facilities and quick-response emergency care
  • Nearby amenities such as parks, libraries, or stores

how to start an assisted living facility

Additionally, if your home cannot meet zoning requirements or state regulations, you cannot use it for assisted living. 

2. Is There Enough Demand in This Area for Another Assisted Living Facility?

If your home, marketing research is the next critical step. You can hire a consultant or you can also find information online and through interviews yourself.

Determine the number of seniors in your area who may need assisted living services now or soon. Take a close look at current competitors and their facility occupancy rates. If facilities exist that are not operating at full capacity, it would be futile to open another RCFE.

elderly care administrator

City, county, and state government agencies as well as senior advocacy groups are good places to start your research. You can also obtain help from trade associations, such as the California Assisted Living Association. Finally, visit any nearby assisted living facilities and talk with staff members to determine if the current needs of area seniors are met.

3. Do I Have Sufficient Financial Resources for Facility Upgrades, Equipment, Licensing Fees, and Initial Operating Expenses?

If you’ve compared quotes from reputable contractors for converting your home, researched the California Department of Social Services website for licensing information, and drawn up a business plan, you should have an idea of whether you are financially ready to operate an RCFE out of your home. If you are coming up short, you can put your plans on hold until you save more money or find an investor to help get your facility running.

rcfe license application

Before your RCFE license application is approved, California regulations require evidence that you have three months of operating expenses in a savings account. This doesn’t just mean you can pay the utility bills on time so power isn’t shut off. You must have the full amount of money to cover all payroll and other expenses needed to operate your new RCFE for at least 90 days.

4. Do I Have the Perseverance and Passion For Completing the Lengthy Planning, Certification, Hiring, and Marketing Processes?

Starting a new assisted living facility is a long, complicated process that requires time, money, and research. A good barometer for determining your suitability is to obtain an RCFE administrator certification. Not only is an assisted living manager certification informational, but it is also required by California law. You or your staff member must be a certified administrator before your home can become an RCFE.

rcfe administrator

Even after opening, you may have to deal with difficult experiences such as the illness of a resident or an important employee deciding to leave. Can you manage change and stress? 

Many people open an RCFE because they find deep satisfaction in caring for a special friend or relative, but business competencies are also required to succeed. You can learn these skills, but they take work. You need a firm commitment to your mission, the ability to stay focused on your goals, and the perseverance to keep going.

5. Can I Find, Inspire and Train the Right Employees To Make This Vision a Reality?

Finding the right people to staff an assisted living facility has always been a challenge, but the current shortage of workers in all sectors has made it even more difficult. Before finalizing your decision, talk to as many prospective employees as possible to gauge interest.

RCFE leadership

Ask what is important to them in a career. Many people want to feel they are making a difference, and they prioritize work-life balance. Support potential staff members with experience by helping them enroll in RCFE continuing education classes. Your ability to arouse interest in improving the quality of life for seniors indicates how successfully you can motivate future employees. 

Several tactics can be used to retain and attract employees to your RCFE

Assisted Living Education Can Help With Decisions, Certifications, and Licenses

You are not alone in your journey to convert your home to an RCFE. We can assist you with the multiple steps involved in completing an RCFE license application and making sure you and your staff members are certified before you open. Contact us today.

Assisted Living Education is a certified vendor providing RCFE classes for employees and guidance in keeping your RCFE compliant and running smoothly.

seniors running

9 Secrets for Getting Seniors to Be More Active

As an owner, administrator, or employee of a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE), you want your residents to be physically healthy, mentally stimulated, and emotionally satisfied. That’s a tall order, and it’s always challenging for any size RCFE to meet residents’ individual needs in order to create a happy, viable community. 

Movement is crucial to a robust lifestyle, especially later in life. According to a CDC report “25% of Americans 65+ fall down and that falling is the leading cause of senior injury and death.”  Taking preventative measures like practicing balancing exercises and strength training help safeguard seniors from injury. 

Physical activity has the added benefit of improving mental health. Active seniors usually feel happier, sleep better, and are more mentally alert than those who are inactive.

senior walking activity

Provide a Positive Atmosphere for Activities

You will find it easier to get residents motivated and involved in physical activities and other pursuits if your staff is upbeat, welcoming, and exhibits a can-do attitude. Attracting the right RCFE employees in the first place makes this task much easier to execute.

Focus Staff Training on Encouraging Seniors

From assisted living classes for certification to your employee training, making certain techniques and strategies to increase the active participation of residents is a top priority. Staff members should be familiar with the needs of seniors and how seniors can be gently encouraged to participate in activities.

Emphasize the Need To Understand Residents

Although it takes time and effort, each RCFE administrator or staff member should learn about individual residents and find out what is important to them. While it’s impossible to remember everything, taking a moment or two each day provides new insights.

encourage active seniors

Create a Fun Facts Banner and Name Pin for Each Resident

A wall banner with the senior’s name and favorite activity, such as reading, yoga, or playing guitar, not only serves as a reminder to staff but also introduces the person to other residents. Likewise, a name pin with a phrase that indicates that an individual likes to read or take walks makes a great ice breaker in recreational areas.

Try These 9 Ways to Stimulate Participation

Even a small RCFE can offer a smorgasbord of physical and enjoyable activities to get residents moving and involved in new pursuits. As you look over this list, it’s important to remember that each senior is unique, and no activity will appeal to everyone.

1. Encourage Digital Photography

Residents can use a tablet, phone, or digital camera. You can conduct a class or furnish several basic photography books as resources. The seniors can print out their best efforts and hang them on the wall. Alternatively, teach them to store photos in the cloud where they can share them with family members and friends. 

Residents can enjoy the technical challenges such as composition or lighting, or they can record their particular interests by photographing flowers, birds, butterflies, or sunsets.

photography for seniors

2. Provide Gardening Opportunities

If your assisted living facility has room outside for flower beds or small vegetable plots, residents who maintained gardens in the past can enjoy bringing beauty and tasty produce to others. If outdoor endeavors aren’t possible, they can still maintain a few container plants in sunny communal areas or their rooms.

gardening activity seniors

Implement gardening classes (even for container gardening) where residents can learn how to make their plants thrive. The act of physically working with soil and the intellectual exercise of understanding how to keep plants alive is both physically and mentally stimulating.

3. Include Cooking Events

Both new and experienced cooks can enjoy interesting cuisines with different ingredients. From yeast dough to colorful salads, there is a dish to interest every palate. Choose a country or a theme for a special meal, and let each participant or a team of two make a dish.

4. Conduct Daily Steps Contests

For those who enjoy a little competition, monitoring steps get seniors moving.. Purchase some inexpensive pedometers and assign them to the participating residents. Post a chart with the competitors’ names, and see who achieves the most steps over a set period.

help seniors exercise

5. Sponsor a Little Free Library

With more than 150,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide, your residents can benefit in many ways from this project. They can help decorate the library box, solicit books from residents, staff, and family members, and keep an eye on the library to ensure a steady supply of books. Finally, they can read books exchanged in the library and hold book discussions.

6. Offer Nintendo Wii Experiences and More

These classic video games get older adults into action. Wii offers golf, tennis, and bowling for more physical activity. For newer gaming options consider introducing Minecraft to your residents. Post a chart with individual scores for those preferring to play alone or organize team competitions. Student volunteers could give the seniors tips.

7. Plan a Scavenger or Treasure Hunt

This activity gets even those with limited mobility up and moving. Provide participants with lists of items to obtain from staff members and other residents or hide items around the property for them to find.

8. Hold Holiday Parties for Neighborhood Kids

Sponsoring Christmas or Valentine’s Day parties can bring a lively event to your residents.

party ideas for seniors at RCFE

9. Develop Walking Maps to Explore the Neighborhood

Without a doubt, frequent walks offer many benefits for the seniors in your facility, and you want to encourage walking in every way possible. Creating simple neighborhood maps with routes of varying lengths provides a good way to get reluctant walkers started. Feature nearby parks, interesting buildings, and homes with beautiful landscaping and ask residents to add other ideas.

We Provide Support for Your RCFE

Whether you need RCFE staff training for new employees, RCFE continuing education for current workers, or help with how to start an assisted living facility, we offer state-approved learning opportunities and assistance. Peruse our convenient website or contact Assisted Living Education to receive immediate help with all your needs.

how to hire for an rcfe

7 Ways To Attract Employees to Your RCFE

Finding and retaining dedicated caregivers has always presented challenges for administrators of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly or RCFEs. Unfortunately, events of the past several years have contributed to a situation where the number of employment openings nationwide is greater than available job seekers to fill them.

In addition, unprecedented numbers of workers continue to quit their jobs to look for better opportunities and more job satisfaction elsewhere. If you are concerned about how these trends could affect your ability to hire caring, dedicated employees for an RCFE you own, manage or plan to open in California, this article offers some strategies you can implement to attract qualified caregivers for your assisted living residents. 

Revamp Your Hiring Approach

You may feel discouraged when you read employment statistics. Be aware that many potential employees want more from a position than just a paycheck. A position at a successful assisted living facility can offer more, such as making a difference in a senior’s life.

Don’t be afraid to emphasize this as you recruit new employees with these seven strategies.

1. Devote Sufficient Time To Find the Right Staff 

Hiring employees for an assisted living facility is a time-consuming process and requires a systematic approach. At a high level, the following steps cover the essentials of the hiring process:

  • Develop an accurate job description that communicates the desired skills needed to fill the position. Involving current employees in the crafting of job descriptions gives a more accurate account of what to include. Bonus tip for standing out to prospective employees: write an engaging overview about your facility that highlights the objectives of the RCFE and highlights why the position you’re filling is important. 


  • Post the job description on various online job boards. If you have a LinkedIn profile, post the opportunity there. Also, don’t forget to tap your existing social network for introductions to potential employees. 


  • Review applications as they come in and set aside those that are a match. Consider giving preference to those who have already taken assisted living courses


  • Interview candidates. A best practice is to prepare interview questions in advance. Asking applicants the same set of questions will allow you to compare their answers and help you to address points that are most important to your organization. 

Developing an organized hiring process can help locate the right workers for your RCFE, but be realistic about the time and effort needed to fill positions.

how to attract employees to an rcfe

Prepare for inevitable disappointments when prospects decline a job offer, change their minds or quit after working a day or two. Learn from any negative experiences and try to avoid similar situations in the future.

Taking the time to carefully hire employees will reward you with less turnover and more qualified employees.

2. Research What Is Most Important to Employees

While dissatisfaction with earnings often tops reasons workers give for quitting, other causes include little hope of moving up to a better position and a lack of respect for employees and their work efforts.

Getting input from your current RCFE employees can help on several levels. Whether you conduct informal conversations or ask workers to fill out a survey, you learn what they value in the workplace and demonstrate you take your employees’ opinions seriously. 

3. Consider Characteristics You Value in Your Caretakers

Before incorporating what you learn about employee values in your recruitment strategy, consider traits you desire in an ideal employee. Next, think about where you might find people who exhibit these qualities.

assisted living courses

If you listed patience as a valuable attribute, you might contemplate recruiting experienced parents, teacher aides, or people working in customer service at big box stores. Parents whose children are now in school or burned-out workers may be prepared to make a change.

4. Be Ready To Invest in Employee Certification and Training

When looking for a competent administrator to run your facility, you may select a candidate that needs to take the RCFE administrator course. When seeking to hire a caregiver, experience is helpful, but not required. All caregivers must have the California RCFE employee training regardless of past employment in another RCFE.

5. Create a Positive Atmosphere in Your RCFE

The lack of respect many employees feel in their workplaces presents a huge opportunity to set your assisted living facility apart from the competition. Creating a culture of respect, appreciation, and warmth for every person in your RCFE family goes a long way in keeping residents and staff happy.

attract employees for assisted living

Options for showing employee appreciation are endless. Some suggestions include:

  • Create a space for staff. Transform a lackluster break room into a full-fledged staff lounge. Include comfortable seating, snacks, charging ports for electronics, and other perks that give people an opportunity to decompress and re-energize. 


  • Give awards for a job well done. Be sure to involve residents in the selection and celebration of the awards.


  • Go public with your appreciation. Highlight exemplary employees on your social media accounts. 


  • Celebrate with your staff. Birthdays and other special occasions (or even non-special occasions like “yay Tuesday”) can be celebrated as a team. 

Showing respect and appreciation begins with the RCFE administrator setting the example and expecting employees to respect and appreciate each other as well.

6. Keep the Application Process Simple

Finally, once you have made your facility as satisfying a place to work as possible, streamline the initial application and interview process.

Being available to do an interview when a potential candidate comes by to complete an application, may save you both time later on.

rcfe administrator course

Since many job seekers fill out several applications at the same time, it is important to meet them as soon as possible, talk over their needs and goals to see if they are a good fit, and pursue the next steps if you want them on your team.

7. Make Every Interview a Win-Win

While interviewing applicants before fully vetting their credentials may seem tedious, it is worth the effort. If the candidate is a good match for your facility, you can move forward before another employer snatches the worker up.

You can listen and learn about workers’ values from the applicants. You can also share information about assisted living opportunities and your facility in particular.

Work With an Experienced Training Program

Whether you are hiring an administrator or caregivers, you need a quality vendor to provide administrator certification courses and staff training. 

Assisted Living Education can assist your facility in meeting your regulatory compliance issues such as staff training, Regulation update subscription service, and consultation services

Please contact Assisted Living Education for more information.

People Also Ask

What should I look for in an RCFE administrator program? Whether you’re looking for yourself or your team members, choosing an approved provider of RCFE classes is only the first step in evaluating a program. Here’s what to look for in an RCFE administrator program

how to take online rcfe classes

6 Tips for Taking RCFE Classes Online

Taking all or part of your Residential Care for the Elderly (RCFE) certification and continuing education classes in an online format provides many advantages over in-person classes. You can save commuting time and costs while a flexible class schedule works around employment and family obligations.

Many students, however, may harbor some misconceptions about online RCFE CEUs and other virtual RCFE classes. Instructors teach these courses with the same vigor and rigorous requirements as in-person training. Not only are the teachers just as qualified and experienced, but the students are also expected to complete the same assignments and competency requirements as a traditional class. 

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many in-person activities have pivoted to online – the assisted living industry is no exception.  For the RCFE initial certification class, the California Department of Social Services (DSS) has temporarily allowed the 60-hour live class portion to be Live Streamed (Webinar) on Zoom due to COVID restrictions. This temporary allowance will expire on June 30, 2022. 

online rcfe course

No matter how many useful methods you employ for online class success, the most important factor involves making the best use of the study time you have and focusing completely on your materials. This article provides a number of strategies to help you learn, think and master the online portion of your RCFE administrator course or any online class.

6 Ways To Improve Your Online RCFE Administrator Course Outcomes

All online students are unique with individual strengths, advantages and challenges. Use the tips that best apply to your situation. 

1. Understand Your Course and Approach It With the Right Mindset

Once you enroll in an online class, carefully read the course syllabus and make note of the goals, reading assignments, and video homework. Treat the requirements with the same dedication you would give an in-person class or a work project and expect a positive experience.

2. Organize Your Space and Your Pace

If you already have a quiet corner or desk space, make sure to utilize it for your study time. Keep your computer or tablet and course resources at hand. Turn off your phone and social media notifications and avoid as many distractions as possible.

Not everyone has a dedicated study space, so you may need to think outside the box to set up a workspace. You might also consider studying at a public library or quiet corner of a coffee shop as long as it offers internet connectivity.

studying for RCFE exam

Although online classes allow you to study anytime, following a schedule makes a huge difference. Even if family responsibilities make regular study times difficult, a tentative framework helps keep you on track.

3. Connect Your Study Tasks to Your Future Work

During your review of course materials, try to connect the information to your upcoming work in an assisted living facility. As your instructor relates experiences, think about your own elderly relatives or acquaintances and how strategies might apply to them. Associating what you learn with real-life situations helps you to reinforce the information that’s being presented to you. As you advance in your classes, be cognizant of the qualities that make a good assisted living administrator.

4. Utilize All Textbooks, Videos, and Supplementary Materials

All Assisted Living Education  RCFE classes are designed to meet the requirements of the California Department of Social Services. The course videos, textbooks, and additional materials are carefully developed for a quality experience. Additionally, course materials from state-approved vendors, like Assisted Living Education, assure you that the course includes everything you need to know to pass RCFE initial certification classes or RCFE CEUs. Completing all assignments associated with these resources is vital to success. 

Online courses typically include a virtual textbook and other materials. If you prefer using printed information, however, you may want to invest in a hard copy of the textbook or print some of the other handouts so you can make notes in the margins and highlight information.

5. Participate in Discussions

If you are new to online learning, the discussion area set up by the instructor may seem a little intimidating at first, but it is another essential element of your class success. During instruction through Zoom, the chat function is available to students for questions and comments. Therefore, prepping questions in advance of class will give you an opportunity to contemplate the coursework more thoroughly. Questions and comments from fellow classmates may also aid in giving you a different perspective on the material. 

The online format allows students and instructors to maximize their time. Each participant has the opportunity to post in chat, and it avoids one or two individuals dominating the conversation.

6. Review Periodically

Before you begin each study session, take a few minutes to review any notes and materials from what was covered previously. This reinforces the concepts and may help you relate them to the new material presented. Consider preparing questions for your instructor in advance. 

If you are taking the RCFE administrator course, there are practice test questions for RCFE classes that will help prepare you for the RCFE administrator exam. The questions are similar to those in the exam and will help you pinpoint areas for further review. ALE provides a test prep as part of the online learning classes free to our students of the Initial Administrator Course. 

Succeed With Online Classes

Virtual courses can make it possible to fit the RCFE administrator course, required RCFE CEUs, or other RCFE classes into a hectic work and family schedule. By taking practical measures to focus on the instruction and avoid distractions, you can complete your courses and reach your assisted living career goals.

If you need help finding appropriate online RCFE certification and CEU classes, contact us at Assisted Living Education. We are here to support you on every step of your career path.

About Assisted Living Education (ALE):

ALE is an approved Initial Certification Training Program vendor in the state of California. Our instructors have extensive experience in RCFE Certification Training and RCFE Continuing Education. Are you thinking of operating your own assisted living facility? ALE provides RCFE Licensing assistance and RCFE Consulting Services. We have a proven track record of preparing RCFE owners and their employees for a career in assisted living. 

People Also Ask:

How do I get an RCFE license? A certified RCFE administrator must be at least 21 years old and have completed high school or acquired a GED. Additionally, you must complete the 80-hour RCFE Certification class and pass the California State exam. A background check is required. The application for the RCFE certificate is $100. 

Creating a Better Living Environment for Residents

There’s a lot of psychology that goes into the design of marketing products and store layouts. Drawing the consumer’s attention to different products at various shelving levels, or placing cheap, tempting items close to the register creates “impulse buys.” Every product in the store has been designed and marketed to persuade your buying behavior.

A similar approach can be used in assisted living or other facilities which provide services to seniors, especially in memory care. Instead of inspiring residents to make purchases, carefully planned decor can make residents feel more comfortable and safe in their surroundings.

In the past, many facilities had used bland colors, similar to what you would find in a hospital. These neutral colors were thought to be non-offensive and less distracting, which they were, but sometimes tended toward bland. However, recent changes have been implemented in some memory care facilities that move away from mundane decor and create environments that residents enjoy living in.

This doesn’t mean that anything goes; different designers have taken care in their choices of decor, including choosing colors and patterns that are not overly stimulating.

Mindful Designs

Designs for assisted living facilities should keep their main functional goals in mind, but there’s still plenty of room to add custom touches as well.

The design of common rooms should be open to flexibility, to accommodate different activities, gatherings, and special events like holiday parties or guest musicians.  These areas can also help build a bridge between the facility and the community, as an inviting space to bring in volunteers to engage with residents, put on performances, or other unique occasions.

At the same time, while it is nice to be able to rearrange furniture, it is useful for residents if those rearrangements are kept to a minimum, especially for those with cognitive or memory issues. Maintaining a familiar space can help avoid confusion, and even trips or falls.

Less is always more, especially in an assisted living environment. Rooms and common spaces should be clutter-free to help keep clear pathways and also reduce fall risks.

Color Coordinating

Attributes of the actual decor can also evoke positive (or negative) feelings and associations. Natural colors or colors associated with nature (brown/wood, green/foliage, yellow/earthy) are warmer and friendlier, while blues and grays tend to be cooler yet sophisticated.

Another thing to consider in color choice is that color/vision also tends to change as we age. Seniors see more yellow, and gray is often a common color used in institutional settings. It’s suggested that using greens and yellows can help enhance colors in seniors’ vision.

Bold or dramatic patterns are not typically the best for residents in an assisted living situation, as they may be overly stimulating. Subtle patterns, accent colors, and gentle contrasts are useful, however, and can help denote a transition or border from one room to the next.

Natural Lighting Benefits Everyone

When possible, take advantage of natural daylight to brighten a room. Not only is it ‘friendlier,’ but it can physiologically help residents stick to a regular sleep cycle. Exposure to natural light could potentially increase exposure to Vitamin D, which encourages muscle movement, cell growth regulation, and helps the body absorb calcium – a crucial benefit in the fight against osteoporosis.

better environment for seniors

Using more natural light is also a cost-cutter in terms of electricity, a  financial benefit to the facility as well – a benefit everyone can enjoy!

A Home Environment

Sticking to warm or lively colors can make the facility look friendlier and more like home, which can have a positive effect on residents and their families alike. An inviting color palette can help the environment feel less institutionalized and more personal and therefore comforting.

Age-friendly materials like anti-skid flooring, safe stairs, and accessible baths contribute to the ability of residents to feel at ease within their environment. 

For example, furniture should be comfy, but not too comfy; extra cushy chairs can be difficult for residents to climb out of. Firmer, supportive chairs at an appropriate height would be better suited. Armrests should not be too high so the resident can use them comfortably to rise from a seated position.

Connect with the Great Outdoors

Outdoor areas can work in harmony with the rest of the facility. Properly designed outdoor areas will extend functionality and provide a variety of experiences for residents, guests, and staff. The positive effects of outdoor exposure include stress reduction and healthy exposure to natural light and air.  Create outdoor wellness areas that function as their own rooms. Examples include: 

  • Fitness stations to promote exercise
  • Lawn areas for outdoor activities like yoga, Tai Chi, or Bocce ball. A putting green could be incorporated as well. 
  • Outdoor gathering areas with fire pits, comfortable seating, and pleasant landscaping
  • Wide, flat trails for walking and socialization
  • Community gardens for residents to grow their own food or flowers
  • Outdoor amphitheaters create a space for outdoor entertainment like movie nights or plays 

Create Spaces for Staff

Residents benefit from consistent care, especially from people they are familiar with. Additionally, with the onset of Covid, staff shortages are commonplace. Staff retention is more important than ever! 

Invest in making your staff feel comfortable and appreciated. Staff lounges are a great place to start. For example, an outdoor patio for staff use can help people decompress during breaks. Within the staff lounge area, consider adding charging ports for electronics, a recliner, or a snack center in addition to the usual dining table and chairs.

People Also Ask

How can I make my RCFE eco-friendly? There are several green building initiatives for RCFEs that can simultaneously improve the lives of residents and help the environment. 


Assisted Living Education is a premier provider of classroom-based and online coursework for professionals in assisted living. We offer RCFE Administrator Certification Training, RCFE licensing, continuing education, and consulting in specific areas like compliance, staff training and licensing. Please visit our contact page to reach us for any inquiries.


how to choose an RCFE administrator program

Important Things To Look for in an RCFE Administrator Program

Every journey requires a map to reach your destination with as few detours as possible. As you begin your exciting venture to receive your residential care for the elderly (RCFE) administrator certification, California’s RCFE administrator program can help you map the way to reach your goal.

Whether you’re pursuing certification to open your own licensed RCFE or to run an established assisted living facility, you need to complete the RCFE administrator program because this is a requirement in California.

An RCFE Certificate of Completion for the class qualifies you to take the 100-question RCFE Administrator Certification Examination. The exam is 100 questions, timed at 2 hours, open book and you must pass with a score of 70%. The exam costs $100. 

Once you pass the exam, you must submit an application and a fee of $110. During the Assisted Living Education (ALE) administrator course, the instructors will cover all the requirements for preparing for the exam and assist you with the paperwork required for the application submission.

The class training and information help you answer exam questions to pass the test and complete the application to receive the California RCFE Administrator certificate. The knowledge, advice, and experience gained through the course will guide your daily operations of an assisted living facility.

Choosing the ideal course becomes a vital first step on this journey, but how do you find the right program for your needs? 

Discover the essential factors to consider as you evaluate RCFE classes.

Make Sure the RCFE Administrator Program is State Approved

In California, oversight for all community care facilities, including senior care, is assigned to the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services. The CCLD administers the RCFE licensing to open an assisted living facility.

Approval of course outlines and regulation of vendors for the RCFE administrator program and RCFE classes is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Social Services, Administrator Certification Section

Choosing RCFE Administrator Program

Taking training from a vendor not on the list of approved Initial Certification Training Program Vendors creates a huge roadblock on your journey. The state will not accept your course completion certificate or allow you to take the administrator certification exam, and you will likely end up having to take — and pay for — another course that is approved by the DSS.

Check the Class Logistics

Qualities that set apart a class and enhance learning do not include organizational details. However, class locations or webinar times, tuition, book or material prices, refund, and make-up policies can lead to a detour in your plans.

Check the vendors’ websites for course schedules and carefully note exactly what is included in the price. Make sure you understand the consequences of arriving late or missing a class or webinar and write down cancellation deadlines.

State requirements for the course include 20 hours of online classes and 60 hours of live training. In response to COVID restrictions, the Department of Social Services determined that course providers could teach the 60-hour portion of the class using live-streamed webinars through June 30, 2022. Therefore, unless the DSS provides an extension, in-person classes should resume after this date.

Review Course Outlines and Instructional Materials

All RCFE Initial Certification Training Program vendors must follow the Administrator Certification Section Core of Knowledge Training Standards and submit course outlines for DSS approval. The Title 22 California Code of Regulations is an important reference used in the 80-hour course.

Although California sets the overall training curriculum, individual vendors develop their own course guides and supplemental materials. 

choosing an rcfe administrator program

Ask specific questions about the text and handouts used in the class before registering. If possible, ask administrators who completed the class about the clarity and usefulness of the materials for training, exam preparation, and later reference when working in the field.

Ask About Class Size

Whether the 60-hour portion of the administrator training is taught in person or through webinars, the number of students enrolled makes a difference. If the vendor puts too many students in the class, you may not get a chance to ask questions and participate in discussions. If too few individuals attend, a helpful exchange of ideas may lag.

Evaluate the Instructional Staff

The teacher sets the tone for the class and can make the difference between a vibrant, upbeat experience with everyone participating or a dull, uninspired presentation of regulations and dry facts. Ask about the faculty member’s background and verify past experience as a working RCFE administrator in several different facilities.

A good instructor sprinkles stories of situations and challenges encountered over the years and gets the students involved with solutions. Look at online reviews and testimonials of former students to check out the level of teacher engagement with the students.

Remember the Most Important Factor Is You

Course schedules, practical handouts, and a stellar instructor all contribute to an amazing classroom experience, but in the end, you are the person responsible for getting everything you can out of the RCFE administrator program. To reach your goal and become a certified administrator — and perhaps receive RCFE licensure of your facility — you need to choose the right course and make the most of the opportunity.

We’re Here To Guide You

It may seem like a long journey, but the helpful experts at Assisted Living Education want to help you reach your destination. 

Contact us today if you have questions or need advice about taking that first step.

People Also Ask: 

How much do RCFE administrators make? Salary ranges vary for RCFE administrators. In California, the average salary for an RCFE is around $45,000. Salaries in the higher end for this role usually depend on a number of factors like the size of the facility, an individual’s experience, or education.

About ALE:

Assisted Living Education (ALE)  is an approved Initial Certification Training Program vendor in the state of California. We provide comprehensive RCFE Certification Training, RCFE Continuing Education, RCFE Licensing assistance, and RCFE Consulting Services. With many years of real-world experience, our instructors will prepare you or your employees for a rewarding career in assisted living. 

How Much Does It Cost To Start an Assisted Living Facility in California?

People think about starting a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) in California for many reasons. Some feel aging demographics make caring for the elderly a good career opportunity. Others may have tended to an incapacitated family member or friend and found it very rewarding.

Occasionally, an individual may inherit a sprawling house that seems ideally suited for a care facility or discover a great building for sale at a reasonable price. Sometimes, assisted living employees may conclude they could run a caring and innovative establishment if they went into business for themselves.

Whatever your motivation for starting an RCFE or assisted living facility, you may wonder what it would cost to get your business off the ground. 

This article examines some of the steps involved in opening an assisted living home and breaks down the expenses. Keep in mind these expenses vary based on the size and scope of your proposed facility.

Start-Up Steps and Costs

Something important to note is that California’s assisted living model provides for a large variation in facilities. Some homes offer care for only a few residents, while others offer services to dozens or even hundreds of individuals. 

start-up costs for assisted living facility in California

All RCFEs provide a room, three meals and snacks per day, common areas for socializing, enrichment activities, help with managing medications, and assistance with activities of daily living. Although the communities differ in living environments, extra amenities, and dining options, they all require an understanding of the costs of the various  start-up expenses which include the following:

Training and RCFE Licensing Fees

Even if you plan to hire an administrator for your business, obtaining an RCFE administrator certificate is a good idea; it is required by California law if you plan to run the facility yourself.

During the 80-hour certification training, you become familiar with California RCFE regulations and reporting requirements, as well as the fine points of assisted living operations.

The current price for the course is $559 with ALE and the fee to take the state-required exam is $100. Once you pass the exam, you need to pay an additional $110 state fee for the certification. Keep in mind that your future staff will also need RCFE classes to meet caregiver requirements. 

cost to start an assisted living facility

You will also require an RCFE License for your facility from the California Department of Social Services. This process starts with a three-hour orientation fee of $50 and a license application fee based on the number of resident beds in the facility. 

For example, fees start at $495 for one to three beds, increase to $990 for four to six beds, and $1486 for seven to 15 beds. The application fee for a 75- to 100-bed facility is $3469. 

Since the RCFE license process is quite long and complex, many new owners hire professional assistance to prepare the application. ALE’s fee for these services can start at approximately $2,000.

Building Outlay

Whether you buy an existing facility that has residents and staff in place, convert a property you already own into a compliant facility, or search out an ideal building to purchase and modify, housing your senior care business is your largest potential expense. 

Very few assisted living businesses lease buildings; most own the property they utilize. In California, you must show “control of property” which means you must show proof that you own, are in the process of owning, or renting a property for use as an RCFE. Without proof, you won’t be able to submit your license application. 

 Down payments vary, depending on the type of loan. If you qualify for a 504 SBA loan, you may need to put as little as 10% down. A traditional bank loan may require a down payment as high as 40% in some instances.

Even a facility currently in business may need some updates, and you will need to incorporate the improvements into your mortgage or have the additional money on hand. If you already own a suitable residence, be sure to get several firm bids for needed modifications and upgrades before making a final decision. The remodeling expenses may be more than you expect.

Furnishings and Equipment

If you purchase a successful operation, most of the furniture, kitchen equipment, and perhaps an inventory of supplies may be included. This might also be somewhat true if you are converting your home. Take a thorough inventory of items already in place and indicate which ones need replacement.

If you are furnishing the RCFE from scratch, you may want to figure anywhere from a low of $3,000 up to $5,000 or more for each residential room and higher amounts for recreational, dining, and kitchen areas.

start-up costs for Residential Care Facility

Operating Expenses

Another initial cost is setting aside cash for the first few months of operating expenditures. Experts suggest a minimum of one to two months’ expenses, but in California, the state sets this for you. Before the State of California issues your RCFE license, you must prove that you have three months of operating funds set aside in a bank account.

Once again, monthly operating costs vary with the size of the facility, the number of residents and staff, and the amenities offered. To come up with a general estimate, be sure to include:


  • Wages for caretaking staff, kitchen personnel, housekeeping, and laundry workers
  • Employee RCFE classes, benefits, and Social Security taxes
  • Food for residents and possibly staff (it is a nice benefit)
  • Laundry and cleaning supplies
  • Mortgage Payments
  • Utilities and Property Taxes
  • Advertising and Office Supplies
  • Recreation and Entertainment
  • Transportation

Marketing and Advertising Expenses

You won’t be able to accommodate residents until you’re fully licensed, but it’s never too early to start marketing your RCFE. Create a marketing plan for your facility to attract residents. 

Before spending money on digital marketing or PR, establish a marketing plan that outlines the expected outcomes of your marketing activities. Include KPIs (key performance indicators) that can be used to determine if your marketing tracks with your goals. All marketing is an ongoing strategy, so expect this to be a monthly expense. 

Many owners outsource their marketing needs to an agency or consultant. As a rough estimate, small to mid-sized businesses usually spend about 10-20% of revenue on marketing.  

Start Small and Expand Slowly

California has a great assisted living model that allows both the owner and RCFE administrator to begin with a small property and learn along the way. 

If you have some capital, to begin with, then realize that over a short period of time with great management and marketing, your return on investment will make the initial sacrifice worth the effort.

Operating or owning an assisted living facility is one of the best careers you can embrace, but it can become overwhelming if you take on too much before you are ready. It’s generally best to only take on what you can confidently handle at one time and grow your business organically over time. 

If you have questions or need advice about opening an RCFE, contact us at Assisted Living Education. We are here to help you provide quality care and educational assistance.


People Also Ask: 

Who licenses assisted living facilities in California? 

Licensing, monitoring and regulation are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with the California Department of Social Services. Every 5 years, the California Department of Public Health performs inspections. 

6 Steps for a Successful RCFE

Starting your first Resident Care Facility for the Elderly or RCFE can be exciting, fulfilling and daunting all at the same time. Between securing a location and getting your RCFE administrator certifications it can be easy to overlook some of the important basic ideas that will help ensure your first RCFE is a success.

What is an RCFE? 

The RCFE model exists only in California. You may hear them referred to as care homes, residential care, rest homes, or assisted living facilities. The care provided at these facilities is for people over 60 who require assistance but not 24-hour care. 

An RCFE provides lodging as well as assistance with activities of daily living such as personal care, hygiene, dressing, eating, medications, etc. RCFEs are considered non-medical and therefore are not required to have medical staff on site. Think of an RCFE as something between independent living and 24-hour nursing care.

Get Information from Trusted Sources

Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of newly minted RCFE administrators to make sure their facilities, policies and business strategies are setting them, and their residents up for the best possible experience. In that time, we’ve learned a thing or two (or six) on some of the foundational elements of what makes a successful RCFE. Here is what we would say our 6 most important tips for building a successful RCFE facility are…

1. Spend Time Creating Your Team

More than just a team, you are creating a professional business culture, and where that culture starts is with you and your employees. Those first several hires are vital to any new venture, regardless of the industry, and especially in a care-oriented industry like this one. The people you choose and the personalities they bring set the tone and precedent for all that is to come. Get a firm understanding of what makes a good assisted living administrator and carry those qualities over to your team.

With everything in flux, you might be tempted to “fire drill” the hiring process in a rush to hit the ground running. This is never a good idea. We’ve all heard the phrase beggars can’t be choosers. In hiring, no matter the circumstances, that should never apply. Give yourself permission to spend time creating your team. Yes, your team. You have a vision, and it is okay to be selective on who will join you on your path to seeing it through.

2. Choose Your Residents Wisely

Just as you are creating a culture with your first employees, so are you building an RCFE community. Your first resident is your benchmark and will set the tone for your community in ways you might not expect. For example, if your first resident has Alzheimer’s and has repetition tendencies, then it might be difficult to admit residents who are cognitively with it.

Remember, just as you have a choice, so do your residents — and there are a lot of factors that go into their decision if they choose your RCFE facility. As facilities grow in size, culture and community are becoming increasingly important. If a resident-to-be doesn’t see a community they can engage with (even if one exists), they might very well pass on your community. Whether it’s bound in fact or not, perception is reality.

3. Know All of Your State’s Regulations, Codes, and Policies — And Comply with Them

These laws exist for a reason, both for the protection of your residents and for yours. The quickest way to have your community shuttered is to be out of compliance with your state’s RCFE regulations. That also means current administrators need to stay current by attending  RCFE continuing education classes. You went into caregiving to do just that:  give care. How can you adequately do that if you’re out of compliance, or don’t even know what codes and policies your community is supposed to be complying with?

Moreover, having a firm grasp of your state’s regulations could very well be crucial down the line. Don’t be afraid to wield them like a shield — the first line of defense towards any future liability claims.

Need to brush up on your policy? Stay up to date by joining a subscription service for Provider Information Notices (PINs). Health and Safety Code (H&S) code1569.155 requires California RCFEs to subscribe to such a service..

4. Communicate Regularly

Not only is communication vital so that everyone on your team can always be on the same page, but it’s also a regulatory requirement. The law mandates that any change of condition in the resident — say, they have a urinary tract infection or they’re more confused than usual — must be communicated to their physician and responsible party (i.e. a family member), if any.

This makes sense, of course. A change in an individual’s condition can have life or death consequences, and a lapse in communication could prevent a resident from receiving critical treatment. 

Shift changes present a particular challenge in this regard. There’s a potential for information to get lost in the transition between your facility’s day and night teams. Certain symptoms, such as insomnia — a potential indicator and risk factor of depression — might only present themselves late in the evening, so it’s imperative everyone is kept in the loop, and that changes are noted in writing.

Let’s not forget your duty as a certified RCFE Administrator to maintain communication with your state licensing entity. Any time a resident experiences an unusual incident — such as a fall, an injury, or a medical emergency requiring a trip out to the hospital — a report must be made to your Licensing Program Analyst at the Department of Social Services(DSS) with within 1 business day via telephone, and within 7 days via a written report. This takes us to our next tip.

5. Document, Document, Document

Any time there is a resident incident, such as a fall, it must be documented — either internally, if it isn’t that serious, or on a State-provided form to be submitted to the DSS if you called 911 or something similar. Like the above, incidents need to be reported to the resident’s physician and responsible party, and it’s best to do this in writing so you have a paper trail.

Liability, though you might not want to think about it, should always be a concern. Thus, it’s wise to perform internal audits and random record reviews on a routine basis. You always want to be able to certify compliance if the need arises. This is where the term “defensive documentation” comes into play. When you document incidents, or anything really, specificity, precision, and descriptive detail are all musts.

Resident personnel, and administrative records—must be secured in a HIPAA compliant manner. What does this mean? Records should be kept locked. Employees should not have access to administrative or personnel records. Families cannot have access to resident records without consent or a record release form. Computers must be password protected, on an intranet and passwords change every 45-60 days. As a guideline, take a look at the list of documents and records that must be kept at residential care facilities in California. Remember that every state is different, so unless your facility is located in California, what you are required to retain might be different.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

The words “this is my island” spring to mind. This facility is yours, and as an RCFE Administrator, you cannot be afraid to say no. We covered this in part in Tips #1 and #2, what to do in the beginning, but there’s a corollary on the other end of the spectrum:  what to do when an end is inevitable.

If an employee misbehaves, routinely underperforms, or puts your residents or facility in any modicum of risk (health, liability, or otherwise), then it is your duty to terminate them promptly. With the safety and wellbeing of those in your care on the line, they must be your first primary concern.

But what if an individual’s medical needs exceed your facility’s abilities?

It’s sad to say, but this is a quandary you will likely face dealing with residents suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia. Much as you might want to keep them in your care, your license might not permit it. The care they require might go beyond the scope of what you can supply. In these situations, or in cases of residents who exhibit violent behaviors or a flagrant disregard for community rules, letting go of a resident might be a necessary course of action as well.

The Essential Component of Success

Looking back on the six tips we just shared, you might notice that at their core they are all about the same thing: care. 

Caring enough to do things right. Providing the best care. 

Take time to assure your level of care by maintaining compliance and communication. 

Although there is a lot more to running a successful RCFEcommunity than just these 6 things, mastery of these will give you a great foundation to build your business on. In the event that you need additional support or training, the experts here at Assisted Living Education are always here to lend a hand.

Assisted Living Education is the premier provider of RCFE certification, RCFE classes, licensing, products and services for assisted living. Our teachers are industry professionals with many years of experience that are engaging, entertaining and highly informative. We offer RCFE consulting services and share real RCFE experience that will help you be successful in this fast-growing career industry.

good assisted living administrator

What Makes a Good Assisted Living Administrator?

The continued growth of the retirement-age population in the U.S. is fueling the demand for assisted living facilities and the administrators and caregivers needed to run them. 

Few jobs can provide more fulfillment than helping aging seniors maintain their independence and zest for life. The U.S. Census Bureau stated in June 2020 that the number of people in the country who are 65 and older increased by more than a third in the last ten years.

Great assisted living administrators are passionate about providing important services to seniors in need of assistance with day-to-day activities or medical care. They have a deep concern for people’s well-being and happiness.

Additionally, people who are looking for professional growth opportunities, a favorable employment outlook, and high job satisfaction are attracted to this role. 

As the need for assisted living facilities continues to develop, the opportunities for an RCFE administrator career and other employment will also increase. The California Department of Social Services reports that the state currently has more than 7,400 licensed Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly and this number is expected to continue to grow. 

Could You Be a Part of This Expanding Career Field?

If you are looking for an employment opportunity that gives you personal satisfaction along with the chance to make a big difference in the lives of other people, take a close look at a career as an RCFE administrator

California provides a clear path to receiving your assisted living administrator certification, and with the variety of RCFE sizes and care models, you can surely find the right fit in this expanding field.

People often wonder if they are cut out for this type of career, so we have put together a list of hard and soft skills, personal traits, and necessary training that help lead to success in this high-demand profession.

What Are the Necessary Skills and Traits for an Assisted Living Administrator?

As you read through this list, don’t become discouraged if you feel you lack competence in any area. In many cases, you can learn skills or improve personal traits by taking RCFE classes or gaining experience working as a caregiver with the elderly. 

Start slowly by learning one new skill at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from others who work in the field.

The California Department of Social Services has these basic qualifications for an administrator: having a good character and a continuing reputation of personal integrity; A high school diploma or equivalent such as a GED; at least 21 years of age.

Other requirements are covered below.

1. Business Operations Knowledge

This is foundational to the assisted living administrator skills required because, in spite of its noble purpose, an RCFE is a business. 

RCFEs must be financially sound in order to provide a caring and stimulating atmosphere for residents, support staff, and carry out daily goals for residents such as providing nutritious meals and energizing activities.

Some of the business knowledge needed to run and RCFE may include:

  • Setting up a budget
  • Keeping financial accounts current
  • Maintaining resident records
  • Interviewing, hiring, and supervising staff
  • Complying with state regulations
  • Marketing the facility and conducting tours
  • Overseeing food service
  • Organizing people, schedules, and countless details


Don’t panic at the thought of handling all these business responsibilities. 

If you begin as an administrator at a small facility, the duties may not be as rigorous as they sound, and you can gain expertise with time. 

You will also receive thorough training in these areas when you complete the assisted living administrator certification training required for licensure.

2. Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are important in any career, but high-level skills are needed by the assisted living administrator to interact with different groups of people:

  • Residents
  • Family members
  • Staff
  • Regulatory agents
  • Community members

Administrators often utilize a slightly different approach with each type of group, but all written and verbal communications should be friendly, respectful, and easy to understand.

3. Listening Ability

Although good listening skills are part of communicating with others, they are so important for an RCFE administrator that we are listing this strength separately. Unless you learn to listen with your ears, eyes, and intuition, you can miss so much of what others are telling you.

Taking time to listen to residents shows respect, uplifts their spirits, and often gives you advance warning of issues such as depression or health changes. 

Listening to the concerns of staff members provides valuable insights into what is working and where improvements are needed. Giving attention to anyone who approaches you with an issue should always receive top priority.


4. Empathy and Compassion

When you put yourself in another person’s shoes and see things from that individual’s perspective, you can develop compassion for what they are experiencing. Whether the administrator is dealing with an unhappy resident, concerned family member, or a frustrated employee, showing understanding and kindness is always the right approach.

These personal qualities should be exhibited by everyone at the RCFE, and it is up to the administrator to emphasize the traits and help others develop them. 

Just as it is important to understand how employees may sometimes feel overwhelmed by difficult situations, an effective administrator helps staff members recognize why a resident may be acting out and how to approach the situation with compassion.

5. Integrity and a Sense of Responsibility

Not only are assisted living administrators accountable for the health and safety of the residents, but they also help determine the culture and mood of the facility by the way they carry out their daily duties and interactions. An effective administrator remembers this and approaches everything they do with sincerity and the good of the residents and staff in mind.


How Can You Get Started in This Amazing Career?

Very few careers are filled with so many rewards as working as an assisted living administrator, and the need for more facilities and managers grows each year.

Assisted living administrators must be forward-thinking, compassionate, organized, reliable, and patient. They must have the ability to balance budgets, meet strict state requirements for assisted living facilities and possess in-depth knowledge of assisted living services.

While the skills and qualities required for the position are extensive, they can be mastered through RCFE classes and the assisted living administrator certification course needed to obtain a California certificate to work as an RCFE administrator.

If you are ready to explore the possibilities of an assisted living administrator career, contact us today.