This course is designed for administrative personnel in health, welfare and care services and establishments. It leads to a CAFDES diploma (Certificat d’aptitude aux fonctions de directeur d’établissement ou de service d’intervention sociale).

The EHESP is responsible for :

  • organising the courses in 26 state-approved training centres in France
  • organising the national certification examinations
  • monitoring the placement of students
  • issuing the diploma

Professional development

Duration : 30 months

The course takes place in parallel with normal duties in one of 26 training centres and is based on:

  • 700 hours theoretical training
  • 510 hours of work placement

The theoretical syllabus is divided into 4 themes:

  • drawing up and strategic organisation of the policy for an establishment or service
  • human resources management
  • economic, financial and infrastructure management
  • expertise in local social and welfare operations

At the end of the course, the EHESP issues the CAFDES, a level 1 diploma in the French occupational qualifications directory.


The CAFDES is open to applicants who have passed the interregional selection examinations in one of the 26 approved training centres. Applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • a diploma, certificate or approved qualification at level 2 in the French occupational qualifications directory
  • a national higher educational diploma of at least 3 years post school leaving certificate
    an approved diploma covered by the Code de l’action sociale et des familles [Welfare and family Code] or Code de la santé publique [Public Health Code] or at level 3 in the French occupational
  • qualifications directory and have one year’s certified experience in an administrative job or 3 years in the health and welfare field.

Job description

The director of a health, welfare or care establishment or service may work in any of the private structures in the health, welfare and care field. The director of a health, welfare or care establishment may work in care establishments and services for the following:

  • persons with social or family problems: children’s homes, child welfare homes, hostels and social rehabilitation centres).
  • persons with mental, physical and/or sensorial handicaps: educational and medical care institutes, handicapped work centres and services, special homes, etc
  • the elderly (residential homes for dependent elderly patients, local hospitals) covered by the public hospital services.

The director of a health, welfare or care establishment may also work as deputy director in a hospital.


The director of a health, welfare or care establishment has a dual role:


  • Ensure that the health, welfare or care establishment applies a public health policy that provides global treatment for patients to enable them to be as socially integrated as possible
  • Set up the establishment’s policy, take part in drawing up the policy and manage its application
  • Conduct an effective continuous quality improvement policy for services to patients
  • Apply and respect the rights of patients.


  • Develop management practices for change management to meet regulations that are continually evolving and within a limited budget
  • Organise the educational, teaching, psychological, infrastructure and administrative services of the establishment
  • Manage the human resources, finances, administration and infrastructure of the establishment
  • Set up effective communication policies and information system appropriate for the running the establishment.

The director is more generally responsible for handling patients according to their individual needs, helping them to express their needs and satisfying their requirements and ensuring that they have access to their rights and are able to exercise their civil responsibilities.



Modified on 22 January 2024