With such a wide variety of health and social care management jobs available it is important that you can gain the correct qualifications, training and experience if you are going to succeed in nailing that first role.

The main employer in health and social care management is undoubtedly the National Health Service, which employs more than 1.7 million people, but there are also opportunities in the private, voluntary and not-for-profit sector. We look at:

  • the qualifications you need
  • how to get experience
  • careers in health and social care management

what qualifications are needed for a career in health and social care management?

There is not one entrance path that would be applicable to all the management roles available. For specialised roles there will often be highly specific entry and qualification requirements, so you will need to decide early in your education and career path that this is the direction you wish to take.

For most graduate health and social care careers, such as medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work, you must hold a relevant, approved degree.  For many you must also be registered with a professional body.

There is the opportunity to consider taking a graduate entry accelerated course if your first degree is not relevant to the career you later decide on, although many of these do require that your initial degree is health or science related.

For a few roles, such as occupational therapist, it is possible to work your way up from entry level, although this does require significant amounts of work-based learning and degree level study.

how can I gain experience?

It is not just qualifications, however, that will secure your entry into a career in health and social care management, it is most likely that you will also need to demonstrate relevant experience too.

On most undergraduate and postgraduate health and social care courses work placements are included but you can also gain experience by volunteering, work shadowing or through schemes offered by the NHS Trusts. The not-for-profit sector is a great place to seek experience. The Red Cross, for example, offer health and social care internships on a regular basis.

will I need to train?

For many health and social care roles it is not guaranteed that you will enter your chosen profession at a managerial level.
Pharmacists, for instance, begin as a trainee in a hospital, GP surgery, health centre or retail outlet.

For the right candidate, however, progression to a management position can be achieved relatively quickly.

Similarly, acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths and osteopaths will typically start their career as an associate of a more established practitioner. Before they can practice on their own they will learn the trade, in the same way that an apprentice does.

Newly qualified nurses are not likely to make the next rung of their career ladder, as junior sister, for two years, and it will be a few more years before they can be considered for the role of a ward manager.

careers in health and social care management.

In such a range of specialised fields, it is hard to generalise about the precise entry level requirements. What is always true, however, is that the requirements will be specific and fairly inflexible.