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Communication support worker

Alternative titles for this job include CSW, sign language support worker

Communication support workers (CSWs) help deaf students in education.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£22,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 term time

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a communication support worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • training with a professional body


You can do a British Sign Language and deaf studies degree, although it's not essential.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You can do a college qualification like:

  • Level 3 Award In Signing and Receiving Skills in British Sign Language
  • Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies
  • Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners

You'll be expected to have a level 2 sign language qualification to get onto one of these courses.

You can do further qualifications at higher levels once you start work.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You may be able to find a job as an assistant communication support worker and complete your qualifications while working.


Experience of working or volunteering with children with deafness or hearing loss will be useful.

Other Routes

You can do sign language training through organisations like Signature, which also offers a Certificate in Learning Support for Communication Support Workers.

More Information

Further information

You can get more advice about working in communication support from Signature.

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
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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

In this role you could:

  • assess the needs of learners
  • help students communicate with others in class
  • support learners by lipspeaking and notetaking
  • interpret between spoken English and BSL
  • adapt learning materials to match learners' interests
  • use different ways to help people understand what is required in class
  • help learners produce written work
  • support students to share their learning needs with teachers
  • build relationships with learners, their families, and other professionals
  • support learners to become more independent
  • provide deaf-awareness training for other staff and students
  • give advice to staff on how to improve the learning environment or communication methods with deaf learners

Working environment

You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a college or at a university.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into a management position within sensory impairment or disability services. With further training, you could progress to become a sign language interpreter, a disability adviser or a teacher for deaf students.

There are some opportunities to use sign language skills in theatre, television, multimedia production and courts of law. Signers are sometimes booked to interpret in interviews.

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 a communication support 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

British Sign Language (Unit 2): Signature BSL L1 Award

  • Provider: YORK COLLEGE
  • Start date: 12 January 2023
  • Location: York

Sign Language BSL Level 1

  • Start date: 19 September 2022
  • Location: High Wycombe

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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