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Applicant FAQ's

You're in the right place... just click on your question below and the answer will be revealed.  That's not saying you'll always like the answer, but it is the answer, nonetheless...

We ARE assuming that as an "applicant" you've already read the various qualifications and have asked (and had answered) all of your qualification questions so you won't see those kinds of questions/answers here... go to the Qualifications information to read more about that.

There was legislation this year (HB2824) that is “abolishing” this office and moving our functions under the Health Department (OSDH) as of November 1, 2023.  Typically we would be starting a course in late July or early August, however, since the course would not be finished until early December, it would not be finished by the time everything transferred to the Health Department…  We don’t typically start something we know we cannot or will not finish.  Kind of a rule of thumb people should live by (and we hope you understand the position we're in).

And we have not had a lot of communication (so far) with either OMES on the details of the move or with the Health Department on their intentions and what their expectations are (their willingness to pick up this course in the middle and complete it, for example) so rather than have a lot of people caught up in that confusion, we are opting to NOT hold a course.  All of that means that the next course will be conducted by the Health Department and we "think" applicants probably could anticipate that starting in late January. 

We’re very sorry that we don't have a more definitive answer AT THIS TIME (we will update this as we learn more about what's going to occur...) but the next NHA class will be conducted by the Health Department and that’s really all we can tell you because that’s all we know (so far).  We’re waiting to hear more, too. 


What can YOU do to prepare yourself for the class and the process?
You can start an application with us so those running the course will know who you are when the details of the next class are finally disclosed.  We do NOT suggest paying the fees until you get the details but you can start gathering things... like your reference letters, having your college transcript sent to us, drafting your resume' and uploading those kinds of required documents so you're ready when the time comes.    You can start reading some of the reference materials such as the Townsend book.  There are things you can (and should) be doing to help yourself when the class does start - to "get ahead" perhaps.


It's a LOT the same answer...
However, this course IS considerably shorter.  We just conducted one in May and we only hold the course twice (and sometimes three times) PER YEAR.  So, depending on the DEMAND for the course... we do not ANTICIPATE holding another course before the move, but PERHAPS we will IF we have enough students to make a class... we don't do one-on-one training for this.  But, we do not anticipate holding a class before November 1 at this time...

We do not accept checks OR cash
All payments are made online (credit card or debit card). 

So, that's the short answer - now the "explanation" for "why" we don't take checks or cash is a little longer.  It all relates to the fact that we're a small agency.  Over the course of being audited (which is not too unlike a facility getting a "survey" or some other type of "inspection" in other vernaculars...) we were being told that our handling of cash and checks was always sub-optimal.  According to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) it requires at least 4 people to properly handle and document the handling of cash and checks.  So, we were unable to meet that standard with only 3 people in our office.  We then just asked the question - how do we fix this "finding" that keeps coming up in our audits?  The State Auditor informed us that we could simply use the online payment system (which works well and has no issues) and stop taking cash and checks, so circa the summer of 2015 (yes, that long ago...) we stopped taking cash and checks and started requiring everyone to pay all fees (and fines) online and we also have approval from the State's GTARB to assess the bank and online fees rather than absorbing them.  So, that's WHY we don't accept checks or cash

People who don't have a credit/debit card are relatively rare (fortunately) but in the event such a person presents themselves, they CAN get a prepaid debit card commercially and use that.  The "caution" there is that if you're doing that, you need to do a little extra research to know what the additional online and transaction fees are.  For instance, the application fee is $100 so if you get a card for $100, it will not be sufficient to pay your application fee which has additional fees added to it.  

Applying for the NHA license and applying for certification as a CAA are two different things, entirely, to include the fact that there are two different State Standards Exams for these two credentials.  The short answer is, "No."  You cannot just take AU and suddenly be a CAA...and that was never the intent of requiring CAA applicants to complete AU.  If you want to be a CAA, that's what you should apply for - and take the appropriate test at the end of AU and then go before the Board to be certified.  If you want to be licensed as a NHA, then that's what you should apply for... but don't apply for NHA and then expect OSBELTCA to just say you're a CAA because you sat through AU... again, that was never the intent and it does not work that way.  And it would also mean you would have two different applications open at the same time, too.  When people are applying to be CAAs, they're usually here for a specific facility that plans to use them in that capacity... AND when a CAA is being utilized (properly, legally...) in that capacity, there are always going to be AT LEAST TWO CAAs and one Licensed NHA.  One CAA does not do anyone any good.  To use a CAA, there has to be one at EACH FACILITY where the NHA is the AOR (Administrator of Record) over both facilities AND they meet the mileage and bed number restrictions to do it as well.  

So DON'T expect to be a CAA at the completion of AU (if you're a NHA candidate/applicant/AIT).  And don't apply to be a CAA thinking you'll be able to go find someone who wants to hire a CAA... neither of those things actually work like that.  

CAA stands for "Certified Assistant Administrator" and not only is it an Oklahoma-unique entity, it is also limited to being used in nursing facilities... and ONE CAA cannot function in this capacity unless there exists another. 

The original idea behind a CAA was to give a NHA (Nursing Home Administrator) the ability/legal authority to serve as the "Administrator-of-Record" (AOR) of more than one nursing facility simultaneously.   It was created primarily for the rural areas of our state.  In addition to the limitation that there must be a CAA at each such facility when there is a single AOR (having ONE CAA at one facility and a supervisor NHA at another without a CAA is NOT the proper use of a CAA per the Nursing Home Care Act... See Title 63, section 1-1943.1) there are also mileage restrictions between the facilities and a limited number of occupied beds in those combined facilities.  The AOR also has supervisory requirements of how many hours they are required to spend (minimum) in each facility and limits on how long they can go between being at the facility.  

They are NOT used in Residential Care, Assisted Living or Adult Day Care Facilities nor are they used in ICF/IIDs.  They are limited to nursing facilities and strictly under these other restrictions.

This does NOT preclude a NHA from having an "Administrator Assistant" or "Administrative Assistant" on his/her staff (which may actually be titled differently - such as a business office manager).  Assisting the Administrator and being a CAA are two different things...

TYPICALLY, one does NOT pursue being certified as a CAA and then go find a job.  Typically, it works the other way... the owner and administrator typically identify an employee in some other role in the facility who they identify to become a CAA and they will offer them the opportunity to attend the training and become certified and eventually come back and (with another CAA) serve in this capacity in one of their facilities.  There are only about 40 such people certified in the entire state.


Currently, this is admittedly not laid out extremely clearly in rule but it does seem like it might be a logical path for some to become a CAA on their way to becoming a NHA...but let's examine it a little bit and maybe clear up some of the confusion that's apparently out there if we can.

Typically, a CAA is probably lacking a bachelor's degree... or they would proceed directly to become a NHA.  BOTH have to attend AU... some CAA's have to complete an AIT and ALL NHA's have to complete an AIT... the state standards examinations for them are not the same exams... the CAA does NOT currently take/pass any NAB Exams... the NHA must take and pass both the NAB Core and NHA LOS examinations.  They are NOT the same paths.  

AU - AIT - State Exam for NHAs - NAB Core and NHA LOS Examinations.

AU - maybe an AIT (maybe not) - State Exam for CAAs.

So, let's say someone becomes a CAA and they get their bachelor's degree* and want to become a NHA... what's going to be required of them.  The short answer is "it depends."

* Serving in this profession is very nearly a "calling."  If the employer and NHA identify a CAA with the proper passion and potential to become a NHA, they SHOULD take the time to "mentor" and encourage that CAA to get the required degree.  

It depends on how long ago that they became a CAA...
AU is valid for 2 years for a license.
AIT is valid for 2 years for a license.
Both are valid longer than that, certainly, if one maintains the license.

So, that's the first thing it "depends" on.  WHEN did the CAA go through AU?  WHEN did they go the AIT program (assuming they did... if they didn't, one IS required to be a NHA).  So, you see how it starts to "depend."  And AU and AIT are the "big" issues in going from being a CAA to a NHA.  Within the last 2 years by the time you take/pass the exams?  Good to go...  Outside that time window, re-do AU and AIT... and some CAAs were never required to attend AU or AIT to begin with so they need to get that information under their belt. 

But ALL CAA's planning to move up the career ladder in this manner will have to pass the NHA State Exam and the two NAB Exams to be licensed as a NHA.  Of note, the NHA State Exam and the CAA State Exam are two different exams because the scope of practice for a CAA is limited to a nursing facility whereas the NHA can serve in a nursing facility, an ICF/IID, Assisted Living facility, Residential Care facility, or in an Adult Day Care Center, so having passed the CAA State Exam never substitutes for the NHA State Exam.

There used to be a limit on the number of times you could take the NAB Exam before you had to go back and get permission from the Board to take it any additional times... that rule went away a LONG time ago and you now have 24 months from the time you finish your training (such as AU) to be licensed.  How many times you can take it depends on how many times you can afford it and schedule it during that time period of 24 months.  THERE IS NO "NUMBER" OF TIMES...  As well, there used to be (also past tense) a factor in this regarding how many "forms of the exam" were available.  If NAB only published 4 forms of the exam, and you failed it 4 times, you would have had to wait until they published new forms of the exam (which they used to do about annually) before you could take it again... and when that ran up against your 24 months, it could be problematic for you.  However, NAB has established that they have enough questions in the bank now that they are moving toward a very positive change where there will (soon) be no "forms of the exam" any longer so that limitation will soon be gone... SO WHY DO WE TELL YOU ABOUT HOW IT USED TO BE?  Because some of these kinds of things "live on" in mythical form as told by people licensed under those old systems (in their defense, they're licensed - they have no real reason to keep up with these changes except if they're a Preceptor and mentoring someone perhaps...) and that you would even ask such a question probably stems from the fact that somebody said something like, "Well, there used to be a limit on how many times you could take the test... I don't remember how many that was..." which in turn made you ask the question.  So, we're relating that history for you to understand how we have evolved and are still evolving.

State Exams?  Same thing (24 months - no number of times limitation).  Note also that the passing of the State Exam is valid for 24 months towards licensure... if you are in the process of becoming licensed, PASS the state exam and have to start over (because of the requirement to be licensed within 24 months of completing your training usually), it's pretty likely that you're going to have to re-take (and pass) the State Exam for the license you're applying for.  If you passed one part of the NAB (Core or LOS), you would not have to re-take and pass that again...just the part that you haven't yet passed (as applicable).

One of the things you should do is get one of OSBELTCA's study packets ($50).  But if you haven't already read our "primer" on this topic, we have an entire page here that discusses the state examinations...

The NAB exams are entry level exams... But, indeed, there are plenty of people who struggle with it... the question really should probably be WHY do SOME people struggle and others don't?

A big part of it is focus...the people who FOCUS and have good study habits are properly prepared for the exams and will typically do well.  We've seen nurses overestimate these exams (saying things like, "I've worked in long-term care for X years... I should not be failing these exams."  And we've seen other "corporate" people think the same thing - they've been in long term care and they think they know what they're doing... THEN, we've also seen people with ZERO long term care experience come in and buckle down and be disciplined and actually study and prepare for these exams (take their AIT experience seriously...another factor) and go in and do exceptionally well on the exams.  

There are a couple of "takeaways" here...  First, working in long term care (contrary to popular belief and perhaps a  "myth") does NOT give you experience as an ADMINISTRATOR in an institutional setting.  Long term care is a FIELD... a specific part of the bigger health care field.  Being an administrator is a PROFESSION within this very specific field.  Experience in the field (nurse, aide, accounting, regional employee, dietary, maintenance...) will not guarantee your success in the profession.  And too many with experience in the FIELD approach the exams incorrectly - underestimating it - and do not properly prepare. They think they know more than they do. That's unfortunately what we see all too many times - and we see the exact opposite from people who do not have the experience and DO spend the time and effort to prepare properly for these exams.  

And that is the second "takeaway." Regardless of your background, you need to prepare for the exams.  People entering the profession from other fields seem to "get that" better than people within the field.  Or that's how it appears... the other aspect of that COULD BE that people who are in the field are simply not "selfish" enough with their time to be certain that they are spending enough time on learning this new profession but rather are "filling a square" during the AIT but really continuing to be focused on doing their day-to-day jobs in the field (as the DON, the Business Office Manager or whatever their daily role is).  

NHA candidates/applicants/AITs should be exposed to the AIT manual which exposes them to the "rubric" of the various aspects of the different domains of practice.   The manual is actually "free" and available through the NAB website, so even RCAL candidates/applicants can (and probably should) access that information as a guide to prepare for studying, even though (in Oklahoma) there is not an AIT requirement.  

The other thing we "recommend" but is not required is to attend one of the NAB Review Seminars we schedule about twice a year... It has proven to be helpful for a lot of people AND even RCAL applicants.  Though the presenter's focus is on NHA applicants, the fact that he covers the "Core" issues is helpful for even RCAL applicants.

Bottom line: The people who actively and rigorously prepare for the NAB exams are the ones who are more successful in passing these exams the first time.  Those who aren't as aggressive in their studies are taking their chances.  Whether they're not aggressive because they're too busy with their jobs or are taking the exams for granted?  Only they can say.  But, that's been our long term observation.  Background experience is not the indicator of success. 

Look in our calendar... Search for Training Events or look in late January/early February or late July/early August for our usual times. 

First and foremost:  The information you find on our website is paraphrased and does not replace the guidance in the Board's rules (See OAC 490).  That is the primary source to review ALL requirements.

AIT (Administrator Residency) requirements... this applies only to NHA and some CAA applicants.  RC/RCAL do not currently have an "AIT" or "Administrator Residency" requirement though OKALA has included some "mentoring" in their program which is also pretty valuable to have some face-to-face time with an actual administrator who can answer some of your questions.  Our "Preceptors" are certified and how we set you up with one (if you don't already have one lined up for yourself...) is another question...

So, the REQUIREMENTS start with the fact that it applies to all NHA initial licensee applicants and some CAA applicants who do not have requisite long-term care experience.  

After that, the minimum number of hours is 560 in Oklahoma.  If your degree is not related somehow to any of the Domains of Practice (established by NAB), AND you do not have any long-term care experience, then you will be required to complete a 700 hour program (and this is actually pretty rare).  You may have noticed that we stated that 560 hours is the minimum in Oklahoma...  Some students can (and have) opted for longer programs (1,000 hours) because they live near a border state perhaps (or are considering their mobility...) and 1,000 hours is a relatively common requirement in many states/jurisdictions.  As well, if you get down to the end of your training and you (or your Preceptor) feel like you need some more time in a particular area, you can certainly do more time (coordinated with your Preceptor) to shore up any self-perceived weak areas or to make you more comfortable heading into the NAB Exams or the very real world of actually being an Administrator.

There are TIME CONSTRAINTS for completion of the program.  Upon completion of AU, you have 2 years to be licensed.  An AIT or Administrator Residency Program is limited to one year somewhere inside that 2 years... Some students start AU and this residency pretty much simultaneously (you cannot start the residency prior to starting AU).  Some will finish AU and then start this program (which still keeps them inside that overarching 2 year licensure limitation/restriction.  Others start somewhere in the middle of AU after it has started... Everyone has different needs.  There is also a MINIMUM number of weeks to complete the training.  As participants in this program are limited to 40 hours per week, 560 hours divided by 40 hours yields a 14 week minimum.  So, it is possible - and occasionally achieved - where an AIT/Administrator Resident starts AU and this residency simultaneously and actually completes the program prior to completing AU... rare but it can be done (and has been)14 week minimum... 1 year maximum.

When does the year start?  It starts when you start the program.  

As you progress through the various modules, you will be completing module reports and sending them in.  These are set up in PDFs that are "fillable" with a drop down for the various modules (it's one form that covers all of the modules).  We require these to be sent in to us within 10 days of completion of the module - we do NOT like to see someone upload all of the modules all at once at the end of the program.  For one thing, that has the appearance that it was a pencil-whipping exercise to have completed your residency.  For another, it has the appearance that maybe you're not all that organized as a "manager" if you cannot get these reports to us in a timely manner...  They are "fillable" so we also require that you use that ability and fill them with typed narratives explaining what you did, etc.  We really struggle to be able to READ some of your doctor-wannabe-handwriting skills - so, to be able to read, them, we do require that they're typed.  The AIT will fill out these module reports and take them to the Preceptor and have some discussions with the Preceptor about what you learned in each of those modules as you go... the report is a tool to help facilitate those kinds of discussions with your Preceptor because your Preceptor also has to sign those forms before you upload them upon completion of those modules.  

That being said, there is a FINAL REPORT that is made by the Preceptor wherein they actually summarize and provide a narrative of their own about your progress and many of them comment on your future as an administrator.  You may have to encourage the Preceptor to complete that form because it is typically the LAST thing we'll need from you before we approve you to go sit for the NAB Exams.  

Applicants have two years to be licensed... that 2 years starts on the completion of the academic portion of your training (not AIT or the Administrator Residency).  Those going through OKALA's certification course (for the RC or RCAL license) will be issued a certificate by OKALA...You have 2 years from that completion date to be licensed.  

For AU students, we do not issue a certificate because nobody else wants the proof (we know who attends and completes our course and when...).  We have set the date for that 2 years to start to be the last day of AU (the date the State Exam is administered - and it's the same date even if you end up taking the exam later).  Similar for our Adult Day Care Administrators who attend our training, though we've never seen one of those drag out and expire, honestly, since the training is so compact with the State Exam and there is currently no NAB Exam requirement.  

So, the short answer for most is 2 years from the completion of training, you need to be licensed or you may have to re-do some or all of your training and some or all of your testing.  

IF YOU HAVE NO TRAINING REQUIREMENTS (such as an applicant for Licensure by Endorsement...), your application is valid for ONE (1) YEAR... that date is established by the date you pay the $100 application fee...

Probably half of the people starting on the path to becoming a NHA already know who their Preceptor is going to be - but the other half do not.  In some jurisdictions, candidates/applicants (whatever they call them...) the "candidate" or "applicant" is left to fend for him/herself and find a Preceptor.  In Oklahoma, we help with that.  If you're among the half that doesn't have your Preceptor lined up already, we will help and try to locate someone who will guide you through the residency process by looking for homes and qualified administrators in your area.  We will try to find someone as close to your residence as we can.  When the time is right for you to start the internship, you let us know and we will try to find that Preceptor for you... we will set you up to meet them and you should treat that meeting as a job interview, quite literally, because that "first impression" you're making on that person will directly affect their decision to become your Preceptor.  

ONLY FOR THOSE APPLYING FOR LICENSURE BY ENDORSEMENT (or to Register for Reciprocity... if you don't know the difference, that is explained elsewhere on our website).  

We DO have a "form" (fillable PDF).  It has the information we're looking for on it.  Typically, you would need to fill the top portion of that out and send it to every other licensing board (not us!) where you are (currently) or have been (in the past) licensed as an administrator and request them to send the completed bottom portion of that out and send it directly to us. There may be a fee to have them send that to us (you pay them directly).  

Some state boards have their own form and it's easier for them to complete their form (with the same information...) and send that to us (and they may also have a fee for that).  That's okay... we accept their forms.   But, again, you pay their fees to them and you ask that they send the document directly to us.

A third option is that a few states have STOPPED providing these forms by having made the information available online (we have not done this because some of the information, such as your test scores, we don't feel belongs in the public domain...).  WE DO NOT KNOW WHICH STATES THAT IS.  So, as the applicant, if you've contacted a board where you are currently or were previously licensed and they tell you it's available online, it is YOUR responsibility to get US the URL (link) to that website so we can look it up.  We are not going to spend a lot of time googling to find it.  So, we will do this for those few states that do it this way, but YOU (as the applicant) must provide US the link to do that search on that Board's website.  

SOME boards are more responsive than others.  That's just a fact.  Typically, getting the Endorsement Questionnaires to us is one of the most difficult or most time-consuming aspects of the application process for you.  We'd suggest getting those requested early and follow up with THAT board (especially if you have a job waiting on your license...) because the LAST step in your licensure or registration process is to take/pass the State Exam but you cannot be approved to sit for the exam until the rest of the application is complete - and it's these questionnaires that typically take the longest (followed perhaps closely by any transcripts).  The best way around all of this (if you're someone who is mobile or licensed in a lot of states) is to get the HSE Qualification through NAB (go to the NAB website for more information on that) because all of this (including the transcript) becomes "one-stop-shopping" if you have the HSE.  Over half the states accept this now and it does expedite the licensure by endorsement process so it's at least worth looking into and considering, especially if you know you're mobile between states.

If you're having technical issues just logging in, the first thing we're going to suggest you do is to try the "Forgot Password?" option and try to reset your password.  You should have about 3 questions set up to get you back in... and it's important that you answer those with the same capitalization that you answered them when you set them up... for example, Tulsa and tulsa are NOT the same things...

If you have tried too many times to get into the system, you could be "locked out" by the system's security defaults and we actually look for those on a near daily basis and re-set them so coming back later MAY work.  IF NOT... you may need to call us during business hours.  The system is still pretty new (to us, too) and we haven't even been able to develop a separate set of "FAQs" pertaining to just the system yet (and not sure we ever will for that matter).

NHA and CAA applicants - contact Pam at 405-522-1619 or
RC, RCAL and Adult Day Care applicants - contact Ginger at 405-522-1616 or

It is PREFERRED that if the Board is making a decision on your license that you be present to answer any questions they may have... if you're not there, they could delay the approval and "table" your application (best case) or (worst case) they could "deny" your application which would mean you couldn't re-apply for a year... Post-Pandemic, we have been "broadcasting" our meeting virtually for the public and you CAN attend that way to answer those questions (which is better than having it tabled or denied).  TYPICALLY, after all the licenses are voted on, those present are presented their license (and a packet with more information...) and given a "photo-op" of the presentation of the license...

Questions the Board may ask are typically "personal" in that you don't need to "study" anything or be prepared to be raked over the coals about any of the regulations... If they ask anything at all, typically they're going to ask about your background (something they read in your resume' may have triggered a question...) or in some cases they may want to know something about something that came up in your background check (and you're probably familiar with those issues as well).  Most of the time, the Board has read your resume' and a summary of your application (training, testing results, etc.) and they do NOT have questions for most people.  But, if they do, it's probably something you know about and not something you can predict but not something to be worried about.

Last Modified on Jul 26, 2023