RCFE Administrator License

How Do I Get an RCFE License in California?

Opening and operating an RCFE requires licensure and Administrator certification and is a great business model that benefits those receiving care as well as the investor. 

This article describes in more detail on how to obtain your RCFE license. 


A Closer Look at RCFEs

RCFEs are known by many names, especially in states outside California. Some examples include assisted living facilities, retirement homes and board and care facilities. 

They house elderly residents and provide assistance with things like general care, grooming, social activities, and medication assistance. Licensed facilities can be as small as one resident or as large a facility that has several hundred. 


RCFE Licensing — RCFE Administrator Certification Training

California requires that anyone operating the facility as an RCFE administrator be certified and the facility must be licensed.  In order to become an administrator, you must complete the 80-hour Certification course, pass the state exam with a score of 70% or better and submit a certificate application with the required documents and fee.

To open a facility, an applicant must complete the three-hour online orientation that is required by the Department of Social Services (CDSS). An application for licensure is submitted once you have legal control of the building that you plan to operate from. 

The RCFE Certification Course gives you the basic knowledge to operate an RCFE successfully and competently and to prepare for the role of an RCFE administrator. 


Because you will have the responsibility for a number of people’s health and well-being under your care, and you need to know what you’re doing. 


What RCFE Training Includes

A well-structured certificate program includes both online and classroom learning. Once training is completed, you must take the exam and submit your application. Once CDSS processes the application, a certificate will be issued to you and is valid for two years.

In regard to the actual training, Assisted Living Education provides a thorough curriculum that covers all the aspects of opening an RCFE that includes laws and regulations, staffing requirements, application process and allowable and prohibited health conditions that affect client care.

These are just some of the topics you should be prepared to learn during RCFE training in preparation for your Administrator Certificate:

  • Personnel requirements, including initial and ongoing training
  • Background checks
  • Resident Records, Documentation and Privacy
  • Types of Services that can be provided in an RCFE
  • Health-related Services (and staffing requirements)
  • Compliance Requirements and Oversight

Preparing the RCFE license application to open an RCFE can be quite challenging.  The RCFE license is a necessary step to opening a facility. After you establish a facility, you’re going to need properly trained staff and possibly hiring an administrator if you are not going to manage your own facility.

The elderly population may need a variety of services and different levels of care. Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as grooming, toileting and medication assistance are some of the common tasks that most caregivers can provide. 

As the level of assistance increases, however, so must the skillset of the caregiver.

RCFEs are not medical facilities and should not provide medical care that falls under the scope of a registered nurse or doctor unless those people are either employees of the facility, on call to the facility to provide as needed assistance or assistance is through the use of a home health or hospice agency. 

These agencies assist the facility with specific care needs that a facility is limited by or restricted from performing assistance. If caring for residents with dementia, staff are required to have a specific amount of hours of training to provide proper support and assistance. 


Proper Staff-to-Client Ratio  

Unlike skilled nursing facilities, RCFE’s do not have regulated staff to client ratios. 

For example, there must be at least one qualified employee (meets the required training to provide care as a caregiver) on call on the premises for 1-15 residents.

In facilities with 16-100 residents, there must be at least one employee on duty on the premises and awake. Another employee must be on call and capable of responding within 10 minutes.

In facilities with 101-200 residents, there must be one employee on call on the premises. Another employee must be on the premises awake and another employee must be on call and capable of responding within 10 minutes.

The need for elderly care will only grow in demand. If you are interested in opening and operating an RCFE in California, now is a great time to enter the industry. 

An increasing aging population will require qualified, ongoing care delivered by caring professionals. Contact Assisted Living Education or check out our upcoming RCFE classes for more information on how to get started on licensing a property as an RCFE or for online classes to maintain your current Administrator Certificate.