Being a care assistant presents you with an extremely rewarding career with great options. You will be responsible for providing some of that help and making a huge difference to their lives. Here's all you need to know:

How to become a care assistant.

We look at:

  • qualifications
  • job role
  • care assistant salary


Care assistant jobs do not require academic qualifications beyond basic literacy and numeracy skills. Under normal circumstance passes at grade C or above in GCSE English and Mathematics are adequate. Some practical experience, however, is always useful and can be obtained from voluntary work or similar community involvement.

You will also need to pass background checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service to ensure that you do not pose a risk to children or elderly people who might come under your care.

Once employed, you will be given on-the-job training and, if you are going to be involved in adult care, will be expected to complete a 12-week induction programme that will teach you about the national minimum standards of care. As your career develops you will be able to take more advanced courses and hence qualify for more senior positions.

What does a care assistant do?

  • Helping clients with their personal care such as helping them with washing, feeding, dressing and at the toilet.
  • Occasional odd jobs such as housework and shopping.
  • Helping to organise and assist in leisure activities.
  • Assisting other health professionals in their care of your client.
  • Helping families adapt to the responsibilities of caring for their loved one.

As a care assistant you will work closely with the vulnerable, often on an individual basis, and effectively become the crutch on which they depend to live as near normal a life as possible. You could be working in your clients’ own homes, in care centres or nursing homes. 

Working hours for those in care assistant jobs vary from position to position. You may have to perform shift work and, in some cases, may even have to live in. The nature of the work, however, means that quite often you will be able to work on a part-time basis, so you will be able to fit your working hours around your own personal commitments. Take a look at our full care assistant job description here.

How much do care assistants get paid?

Pay varies from provider to provider, but the current average salary is over £18,500. Earlier this year, the average salary for care assistant jobs rose by £225 (12%).

You may not need to be highly qualified academically to fill care assistant jobs but you do have to be a friendly and caring person with a genuine and strong desire to help other people. You need to be able to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and to treat them with tact and respect no matter what their problems might be; everyone should be treated with dignity and in a manner that allows them to retain their self-respect.

As a care assistant, you will also need to remain calm under pressure and be able to follow the guidelines that are designed to ensure the safety of those under your care. Above all, you will need to be patient and have an unfailing sense of humour.