Adult Day Care Coordinators


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While you are in high school, you should take classes that prepare you for postsecondary training. These include mathematics, business, family and consumer science classes as well as science classes, such as biology. To improve your understanding of people, take history, psychology, and sociology classes. Because communication is an important skill, English and speech classes are also good choices.

Postsecondary Training

Because this is a relatively new and growing field, there are no national standards to follow for becoming an adult day care coordinator. Some people have learned their skills on the job; others have taken courses in home nursing or health care; still others have completed bachelor's degrees in areas such as health and human services. As the need for and popularity of day care services continue to grow, more employers will begin to expect coordinators to have at least some formal education.

Many employers prefer to hire candidates who meet the standards set by the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA). In order to meet these standards, a coordinator must have a bachelor's degree in health or social services or a related field, with one year's supervisory experience in a social or health services setting. In preparation for such a career, a college student might choose occupational, recreational, or rehabilitation therapy, or social work or human development. An increasingly popular major for potential adult day care coordinators is gerontology, or geriatrics.

The Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education publishes the Online Directory of Educational Programs in Gerontology and Geriatrics, which contains information on U.S. and international programs at a variety of educational levels. Although specific courses vary from school to school, most programs consist of classes in social gerontology, biology and physiology of aging, psychology of aging, and sociology of aging. In addition to these four core classes, most programs offer elective courses in such areas as social policy, community services, nutrition and exercise, diversity in aging, health issues, death and dying, and ethics and life extension.

A practicum or field placement is also a part of most gerontology programs. This allows students to obtain experience working with both well-functioning elderly people and those with age-related disabilities.

Other Education or Training

The National Adult Day Services Association offers a variety of webinars and other continuing education opportunities to members. The NADSA also holds an annual conference and online webinars; recent topics included "An Introduction and Overview of Accreditation in Adult Day Services" and "Financing the Growth of Your ADS Center." The Gerontological Society of America also provides continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals offers certification to activity directors.

Regulations can vary by state. In some states, for example, the agency that a coordinator works for must be licensed or certified by the state department of health. Any adult day care center that receives payment from Medicare or from other government agencies must be certified by the state department of health. In these cases, licensing requirements may include requirements for coordinators and other staff members. The trend is toward stricter standards.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring adult day care coordinators should try to obtain as much volunteer and on-the-job experience at adult day care centers or in other settings where services are provided to the elderly.

There are certain personal characteristics that are necessary for success in this field. Compassion and an affinity for the elderly and disabled are vital, as are patience and the desire to help others. You should also be organized and able to manage other workers effectively. Communication skills are very important since you will be working with staff, clients, regulatory agencies, and clients' families.