Now Accepting Applications: Executive Director Certification

Registration for the fall Certified Director of Assisted Living (CDAL) exam is now open. Successful completion of the exam is one of the requirements for attaining executive director certification through the Senior Living Certification Commission (SLCC). November 1 marks the registration deadline for the testing period taking place this fall. Register at

“The mission [of the executive director certification program] is to elevate our profession. This is an industry where we’re responsible for quality of life for a million, going on two million senior citizens, so it’s a pretty big responsibility,” said Andrew Carle, COO of Affinity Living Group. In the development of this esteemed senior living focused exam, “we really had to create something that was unique and covered our topics, our domains of practice, things that were unique to us,” said Carle.

Margie Longstreth, an executive director with Five Star Senior Living, is one of more than 240 executive directors who recently earned the CDAL credential.  She believes the credential has helped her enhance her skill set as a senior living executive director. “As most professionals will tell you, whenever there is an opportunity to hone your skills, it should be taken. Taking the CDAL exam, and subsequently achieving the certification, gave me the opportunity to put my day-to-day, anecdotal skills to the test. I walked away with a confidence in what I DO know, but also with the personal challenge to brush up on the subject areas that didn’t come as easily as I would have liked,” said Longstreth.

Available at testing sites nationwide, the exam consists of questions from the following knowledge domains required to effectively serve as an executive director: Principles and Philosophy of Assisted Living; Resident Care and Services; Customer Experience; Leadership; Operations Management; Regulatory Compliance; Sales and Marketing; and Financial Management.

Register at

Anne Hoeksema, an executive director with Pathway Senior Living, is one of the more than 250 executive directors who recently earned the CDAL credential offered through the SLCC.  She believes the credential provides extra reassurance to families and residents. “The CDAL is a differentiator,” said Hoeksema. “Companies are looking for serious professionals to lead teams, and families are looking for security that you have the resources and best practices to provide the very best to care for their loved one.”

Exemplifying a commitment to quality and a dedication to providing excellent care are both keys to achieving CDAL certification and critical to the overall success of the senior living industry. “I believe that this certification will tell our peers and the larger community at hand that we are here because we have the desire to make life the best it can be for our seniors,” said Janice Ryalls, an executive director with Elmcroft Senior Living, who also recently received her CDAL certification. “I try every day to be a leader in my community, to demonstrate my commitment to the work that I’m doing.”

Patricia Will, co-founder and CEO of Belmont Village Senior Living has been instrumental in encouraging executive directors at her company to strive for certification. Noting benefits for both the executive director and company brand, Patricia sees the program as a competitive edge. “A company which has a large number of executive directors with the designation, is able to say to its customer base, and to regulators, that it’s a company that really takes this business seriously, and has a level of professionalism amongst its professionals that’s unrivaled.”

The exam includes 150 multiple-choice questions and is developed and built according to the following knowledge domains: Principles and Philosophy of Assisted Living; Resident Care and Services; Customer Experience; Leadership; Operations Management; Regulatory Compliance; Sales and Marketing; and Financial Management.

Registration for the Certified Director of Assisted Living Examination is now open.
The examination will be administered March 1 – May 31, 2017. Testing sites are located in all 50 states.


January 15, 2017 – Applications Open
March 1, 2017 – Testing Period Opens
April 15, 2017 – Application Deadline
May 1, 2017 – Late Application Deadline ($50 late fee)
May 31, 2017 – Testing Period Closes

June 1, 2017 – Group Registration Open (10+)
July 31, 2017 – Applications Open
September 15, 2017 – Testing Period Opens
November 1, 2017 – Application Deadline
November 15, 2017 – Late Application Deadline ($50 late fee)
December 15, 2017 – Testing Period Closes