Care workers help vulnerable people to manage their daily activities and to live as independently as possible.
Salary range: £12,500 to £25,000
How to become a care worker
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a college course, which may help when you look for work. Courses include:
- Level 1 Certificate in Health and Social Care
- Level 2 Diploma in Care
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You could get into this job through an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship or a lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeship.
There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You could do voluntary work with an organisation that supports vulnerable people, for example a:
- care home
Do-it has more information on voluntary opportunities in your area.
You could apply directly and do training on the job. You’ll find it useful to have experience of working with people.
Some employers may expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.
Time spent caring for someone you know also counts as having experience in a caring role.
You can find out more about careers in care from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- a desire to help people
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
A driving licence may be helpful if you’re going to be working on shifts outside of public transport hours.
It will help to be physically fit, as you may need to help lift or move people.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on the needs of the person you’re caring for.
For people who need support to live at home and in their community, you’ll:
- help with washing and dressing
- make food or help with eating
- get to know their interests and needs
- do household jobs, like washing clothes and shopping
- monitor their weight and record any concerns they have
- check they’re taking their prescribed medications
- support their physical and mental wellbeing through activities
You could also:
- support families who have new caring responsibilities
- give emotional and practical support to children and young people
- work with other health and social care professionals
- help organise leisure activities and outings
You could work at an adult care home, at a client’s home or stay overnight at people’s homes.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
While employed as a care worker you can develop your skills by training in specific areas, like autism awareness, communication skills or supporting people with dementia.
With experience, you can become a lead care worker. You can also move into more senior jobs, like managing people or services, if you study for further qualifications. For example, a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care, or a degree in social work or nursing.