Aid worker

Alternative titles for this job include Development worker, humanitarian aid worker, relief worker

Aid workers help people in overseas countries affected by human-made and natural disasters like wars, outbreaks of disease and earthquakes.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

Variable irregular

You could work

on call away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Aid worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering
  • working towards this role


You can do a degree that will give you specialist skills, which will be useful in humanitarian work, for example:

  • medicine or healthcare
  • education
  • languages
  • engineering

You could take a subject that will give you a wider understanding of global issues, like:

  • economics
  • international development
  • law
  • social policy
  • environmental science

After completing a degree, you can study for a postgraduate course in:

  • international development
  • humanitarian aid
  • disaster management

It's important to get relevant work experience through volunteering, internships or year abroad opportunities.

Your university careers service can help you find suitable vacancies like those offered by organisations including:

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels or equivalent
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information


To get a paid job as an aid worker you'll need experience, so most people start out as an unpaid volunteer.

You can begin by volunteering for a charity in the UK. You can also get involved with charities while at school, college and university, through student groups and societies. Most jobs involve office-based work at first but can lead to a wide range of opportunities.

You can find UK volunteering vacancies on Do IT, or by going directly to the websites of charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Some experience of living and working overseas may be helpful.

You can also apply for internships with charities and NGOs while you're at university. Entrance to these is very competitive.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you're an experienced professional. As well as professions like nursing, healthcare, teaching and engineering, you'll find organisations often look for experience in administration, project management and logistics.

Aid organisations like RedR UK run courses for experienced professionals, who want to put their skills to use in humanitarian aid work.

More Information

Career tips

Follow aid organisations that interest you on social media to find out about opportunities. Think about small organisations, as well as the bigger, more well known ones.

You could also develop useful skills, like languages, first aid or driving. Local people are now most likely to be recruited to do the frontline jobs during emergencies, so having specialist skills or knowledge they may not yet have, will give you an advantage.

You'll need to be willing to work long hours in challenging and often dangerous situations. You'll also need to show flexibility as well as being sensitive and culturally aware.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it helpful to join an organisation like the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection for training and development opportunities.

Further information

You can learn more about working in international aid from:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an aid worker, you could:

  • provide emergency aid like food, shelter and medical supplies
  • organise transport and the delivery of goods
  • recruit, train and organise local people to work as staff and volunteers
  • write reports, monitor budgets and do general administration
  • work with other agencies and government officials in affected areas
  • collaborate on building or engineering projects
  • support communities longer term, for example, to roll out healthcare or education programmes

Working environment

You could work in remote rural areas or be based overseas.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You can develop your own unique career path by working with different organisations and in different parts of the world.

With experience, you can move into senior management or advisory positions, making decisions on how relief efforts are co-ordinated.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Aid worker right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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