What skills and qualifications do you need to work as a carer?

Many people gravitate towards work in social care for a rewarding career that helps people in need and gives back to the community. As with any career path, there’s plenty of work involved if you want to become a carer – and certain qualities and attributes that make you an excellent fit for the role. Ahead, we take a look at the skills and qualifications that you’ll need if you’re considering becoming a care worker.


Qualifications to consider

There are a few different routes into this role, and generally, each of the courses and programmes are pretty accessible and cater to different learning styles. Most people who studied GCSEs will choose to study a college course, such as a Level 1 Certificate in Health and Social Care, or a Level 2 Diploma in Care. It’s also possible to study a T Level in Health – this is a course designed to give you the technical skills and knowledge that you need for a career in social care.

Some people will choose to forgo a college course and complete an apprenticeship instead, such as an adult care worker intermediate or advanced apprenticeship. This is great for people who prefer on-the-job training over lots of theoretical study. While you don’t need GCSEs to study an apprenticeship, it is helpful if you have prior study experience.

Lastly, it is possible to complete some volunteering, or simply apply directly without prior experience for your chosen role. You’ll want to do some research into potential employers, and scan some job sites to see what their requirements are.While you may be able to find some carer jobs that don’t require prior knowledge or experience, time spent volunteering will usually boost your CV and present you as a favourable candidate.


Helpful skills and attributes

To become a carer, above all else, you’re going to need to enjoy helping people and have a passion for changing lives. It’s important to work well with others, and you’ll need to have excellent communication skills, too.

Patience and sensitivity are very important attributes needed for this role, as often, you’ll be dealing with stressful and emotionally taxing situations. You’ll also need to be able to respond positively to criticism and work well under pressure, as you may find yourself caring for someone who is distressed, upset or angry. An ability to stay calm in these situations is essential.

Besides these core skills, you’ll need to be able to do general administrative work on a computer or other technological device. Many employers will want to hire carers that drive and have a car, so that they are not limited in where they can work. You’ll also need to pass an enhanced background check before starting any job in which you work with vulnerable people.


Why become a carer?

Not only is working in a caring role rewarding, it also comes with plenty of opportunity to advance your learning and progress in your career, with many people choosing to pursue further training in specific areas, like dementia or autism awareness. It is also possible to work your way up to become a lead care worker, which will often involve managing a team of people as well as the overall care services that your organisation provides. 

At its core, a career as a carer is all about looking out for others and being there to support people in some of their toughest times. It can be challenging, so if you choose this path it’s important that you have the driving values of wanting to connect, and a passion for making life easier for some of society’s most vulnerable people. Through choosing to become a carer, you’ll witness first-hand the difference you can make, and come to find that your unwavering support doesn’t go unnoticed by the people who depend on you.