How to Become a Care Home Manager

Becoming a care home manager can be an extremely fulfilling and successful career. We want to examine what qualifications, experience and skills are needed to help secure that role.  

What experience do I need to manage a care home?

To understand what experience you’ll need, you need to understand what is required of a care home manager:

- Manage the delivery of care
- Support residents and their families
- Team management, including rostering, training and personal development
- Resource, budget and supplier management
- Understanding compliance and health and safety standards
- Safeguarding

This is the tip of the iceberg. The care home manager’s responsibilities extend to emotional support, diversity and inclusion, health and safety, the list goes on. So, the extent of experience needed is vast. 

Working as a care assistant will be a large part of the experience needed to become a care home manager. Through experience in a care home, you’ll learn about the realities of caring for residents, liaising with their family members and managing the team around you. You’ll witness first-hand the tough challenges that arise and the satisfaction gained from showing people they matter when you give them your attention. 

If you have nursing or care experience in another area that will be relevant. Valuable clinical skills will always be needed and will support your confidence in taking care of your residents. 

There are other indirect ways of getting experience too, as most jobs will have transferable skills. Office work can help with the business management of a care home. Basic computer skills, multitasking, time and project management can all help. Even a customer-facing role offers relevant work experiences that can help you get a job. 

Those who already have a lot of experience in the care sector may be able to gain additional recognition by completing an accredited course or qualification, while those without as much experience may need to undertake further training before they can be eligible for a managerial role.

What qualifications do I need to manage a care home?

There are multiple routes to becoming a care home manager, we’re going to look at the main three. You can get into the job through a university course, an apprenticeship or training on the job whilst gaining experience in a care home. Each of these will need different qualifications*.  

Qualification Required qualification Additions
GCSEs 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) These are needed for all routes to management. You’ll need further qualifications, like an apprenticeship or A-levels to apply for managerial roles.
A-levels 1-3 A-levels 2-3 will get you onto a degree course. 1-2 A-levels will get you onto an apprenticeship.
NVQ NVQ level 2 in adult care or NVQ level 5 in Leadership and Management These are preferred for a lot of roles, but are also being superseded by RQF qualifications and diplomas.
Degree A foundation degree

If your degree is in social care or nursing this should allow you, with some work experience, to apply for management roles.

With a non-relevant degree e.g. Business, more work experience will be required.

Diploma Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care You can start this qualification once you have a role in a care home and complete it over 2-3 years.
Apprenticeship  A higher apprenticeship in adult care An ideal way to train on the job


Additional qualifications

It is also beneficial to have:

- First-aid and CPR training
- Food hygiene and food safety
- Infection prevention and control
- A DBS check

However, these courses have costs attached and can often be achieved once employed. Care homes generally like to retain good staff as it offers familiarity and stability for the residents. Because of this, training is often available in post and upskilling is encouraged and supported.

*Requirements and qualifications are evolving all the time so before enrolling on a course it would be recommended to speak to a career advisor about the best route, or a care home if you’re associated with one.

What skills do I need to become a care home manager?

The soft skills necessary to work in a care home include compassion, tenacity, relationship management and the ability to work autonomously. Being good with people and quick to form relationships is essential; being a self-proclaimed ‘people person’ will help you in this person-centred role. Knowing how to connect with people, make them comfortable and reassure them is a huge part of the job. 

To become a manager there is also the business side of things. Managing suppliers, staff, a crisis and multiple demands simultaneously can be all part of a normal day. The running of the care home requires reports to be written, personnel reviews and evaluations to be done, so written communication skills are necessary.  

We spoke to a care home manager about career progress and she shared that it’s very much about getting involved in every element of the home and then finding your niche.

“Our Head Housekeeper started as a health care assistant, was promoted to Senior Care Assistant and then transferred to the Housekeeping department. She has found her occupational 'home'.

We do believe in promoting from within to give people opportunities and incentives to grow, and have many staff who started as Healthcare Assistants and are now Senior Carers or Senior Team Lead, one member of staff is now our Head of Care,  but all continue to learn and grow.  We work as a team with the philosophy that 'nothing is not my job', we all pull together and help where needed.” - Charlotte, Care Home Manager  

How can I find care home manager roles?

Register with Social Care People today and sign up for job alerts so that the opportunities come to you. Once you’ve signed up we will search through the jobs that match your requirements and send them directly to you. 

Register with Social Care People and start your journey toward a rewarding career in the care industry!

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