how to become a healthcare assistant.

Becoming a healthcare assistant (also known as a HCA, care assistant or support worker) means starting an extremely rewarding career, which is why Randstad has put together a guide on the various entry routes into your next healthcare assistant job.

Work settings and responsibilities.

As a healthcare assistant you may look after patients in hospitals, in the homes of patients or in community settings such as GP surgeries. Care assistant duties within a hospital may include:

  • helping patients to wash and get dressed
  • helping to feed patients
  • putting patients at ease
  • monitoring the conditions of the patient e.g. temperature, pulse and weight checks

In a health centre or GP surgery, your responsibilities could also include:

  • taking and processing lab samples
  • sterilising equipment
  • keeping consulting rooms well stocked
  • helping to educate the local community on health matters

Skills and qualifications required for a care assistant role.

There are no set requirements for entering this field but the following qualifications will improve your application:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and Maths
  • a health care qualification
  • paid or unpaid experience in health or social care

The skills that employers seek for a role like this include good communication skills, organisation skills and proactiveness as well as the ability to follow instructions accurately.

On a personal level, you need to demonstrate that you can act with discretion and trust. You will be working with vulnerable people and your sensitivity to their privacy and need for respect is paramount.

Above all, you need to be patient, committed to caring and have a great sense of humour.

Career pathways to becoming a healthcare assistant.

As well as the skills and qualifications mentioned above, a apprenticeship could also help you to get your foot in the door. An apprenticeship can help you combine practical training with studying.

Some care assistants join the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as health practitioner members where they can attend training and networking events.

Healthcare assistant salary.

You may begin your career as a healthcare assistant at £15,000 to £18,000 and progress on to £20,000 with further experience. However, you may be able to earn more by working unsocial hours or weekends.

If you want to see healthcare roles in your area, click here or alternatively, get in touch with your local team of health and social care recruitment specialists for further advice.

We are more than happy to assist with any questions you may have whether you are new to the field or looking to progress your career.

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