Hospitality curriculum expands with senior living certificate program

By Sue McMurray, Carson College of Business

Carson College logoPULLMAN – To meet the needs of the rapidly expanding senior living industry, Washington State University has added an online senior living certificate program to its hospitality business management curriculum.

The certificate will benefit those interested in gaining a better understanding of the senior living industry, assessing how their knowledge skills transfer to the senior living business, and enhancing their ability to advance within their current organization.

WSU hospitality students_at Rockwood Retirement Community in Spokane
WSU hospitality students at Rockwood Retirement Community in Spokane

The School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business will offer the noncredit certificate program in seven modules developed and taught by WSU hospitality faculty and industry professionals with expertise in senior living management.

More managers needed

“The new senior living communities are not old folks homes anymore — they are more like upscale hospitality organizations, and there aren’t enough managers to run the businesses,” said Scott Eckstein, Carson College clinical assistant professor of hospitality and senior living. “The technology and the lifestyle side of senior living will be some of the most entrepreneurial career spaces moving forward. We need to make senior living ‘sexy’ to business students early in their academic careers.”

The online certificate program is offered in an on-demand format and focuses on key areas of senior living business, including financial management, leadership, customer experience, industry history and philosophy, operations management, resident care and services, sales and marketing, and risk management and regulatory compliance.

Training important to industry success

“Preparing the workforce is crucial to the senior living industry in order for it to be successful. The certificate will give students a well-rounded background in many managerial aspects of the senior living space,” said Nancy Swanger, Carson College associate dean and director of the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management. “They will also learn about practices involved in developing senior living communities, as well as the emotional intelligence required to successfully manage them.”

To register for the certificate program, see the WSU Senior Living Management site,



  • Scott Eckstein, clinical assistant professor, WSU Carson College of Business, 424-262-1288,
  • Sue McMurray, assistant director of communications, WSU Carson College of Business, 509-335-7578,