what is a care worker?

Care workers are assistants who help people across a wide spectrum of roles. You'll typically work inside a care facility, but other options include personal assistants, at-home care and support workers. These jobs vary because the tasks range from daily management to offering advice. You will support a person by maintaining their hygiene practices, monitoring health issues and managing their daily affairs if necessary. Some of the clients you work with include people with physical and mental disabilities, those recovering from substance abuse and the elderly.

As a care worker, your duties change depending on the work setting. Instead of handling the care yourself, you may offer support to families caring for ailing loved ones. The avenue of childcare focuses on meeting children's emotional and practical needs. Planning outings and activities is often part of care work in a care facility. You can also offer advice in coordination with a healthcare professional for both families and individuals.

Would working in health as a care worker suit your compassionate nature and desire to help people? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a care worker role.

care worker jobs

average salary of a care worker

Your salary as a care worker varies depending on whether you work for the public or private sector. According to National Careers, a care worker working in the private sector earns between £13,500 and £25,000 per year.

When you join the profession, your earnings range from £13,500 to £18,000 annually, with most trainee care workers taking home £15,000 per year. If you work for the NHS, your salary will depend on the Pay Band. Care workers typically fall into Band 2, which means the starting salary is £18,546 per year.

As well as a basic salary, you receive multiple benefits, including enhanced pay for working unsociable hours. When you work night shifts, bank holidays and weekends, the hourly rate will be 60% above the standard rates. You also enjoy 27 holiday days a year and paid sick leave of up to six months. Some employers contribute to a pension scheme.

If you want to increase your salary, you need to improve your experience levels. You should also choose your employer carefully. While the private sector provides good compensation packages, they may not surpass the benefits you enjoy working with the NHS.

male care worker
male care worker

types of care workers

Some of the types of care workers include:

  • elderly care workers: as a care worker for older adults, you provide care and support to the elderly in hospitals, clinics, care homes or private homes. You assist with personal care and managing illnesses.
  • attendant care workers: your job is to provide personal care to people living with disabilities. Depending on the disability, your job may include assisting them with personal care and hygiene.


working as a care worker

If you want to help people, this is the right line of work. Your compassion and attention to detail help you provide care for people with varying needs. Let's explore other aspects of the role, including duties and work environments.


education and skills

Most care worker roles don't require formal education, but the following qualifications increase your competitiveness:

  • college course: to become a care worker, you can pursue a college course like Level 1 Certificate in health and social care, which only requires 2 GCSEs in grades 3 to 1. If you want a diploma course, look for a Level 2 Diploma in care or a T Level course in health to kick-start your career.
  • apprenticeship: Look for adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship courses to join the role. You can also pursue a lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeship. The programme will involve training and coursework and takes up to three years.

skills and competencies

You need the following personal qualities for the role:

  • caring: as a care worker, you provide physical and medical assistance to adults, the elderly or children. If you have a genuine concern for your patient, you can help them deal with negative emotions. Since patients often feel isolated, you need to be conscientious by nature to make them comfortable.
  • respectful: as a care worker, you assist patients from different backgrounds. You respect their religious or cultural beliefs to foster good relationships and provide the best care.
  • friendly: as a care worker, you need to be open and approachable to enhance your working relationship with patients or co-workers. You also spend most of the day interacting with service users, and if you are withdrawn, your patients may not feel comfortable in your presence. Friendliness creates a safe space for healing and hope for your clients.
  • flexibility: as a care worker, you need to be flexible. Jobs vary depending on the patient you are working with. For instance, providing services to a child is different from assisting an adult. Adaptability helps you adjust fast to new job requirements and provide quality care.

female care worker
female care worker


FAQs about working as a care worker

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