Healthcare assistant

Alternative titles for this job include Support workers, nursing assistants, nursing auxiliaries

Healthcare assistants look after patients in hospitals or in patients’ own homes.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter

to

£20,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become a Healthcare assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care

Most health and social care courses include work placements, which is a good way to get experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare support worker.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could work as a trainee care assistant in a residential or care home, and do qualifications on the job.

Volunteering and experience

You'll find it useful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting or personal care role. This will help when you apply for jobs.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for advice about opportunities.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join the Royal College of Nursing, for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a healthcare assistant from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • helping patients shower and get dressed
  • helping people eat
  • making beds
  • using equipment to lift and move patients
  • talking to patients and reassuring them
  • helping patients to the toilet
  • tidying the ward or patients’ homes
  • taking patients' temperature or pulse
  • attending meetings with other healthcare professionals

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a client's home, at an adult care home or at a hospice.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience you could train new healthcare assistants.

With training, you could become an assistant practitioner in chiropody or podiatry, occupational therapy, radiography or physiotherapy.

You could also apply to train as a nurse, radiographer, dietitian, midwife or social worker.

Health Careers has information about careers in all areas of health.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship - Level 3 - Healthcare Assistant

  • Wage : £168.00 Weekly
  • Location: Barnsley S70 4NW

Apprentice Healthcare Support Worker

  • Wage : £138.75 Weekly
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP

Courses In England

Healthcare Support Services Apprenticeship (Intermediate, Advanced Level 3)

  • Provider: Blackburn College
  • Start date: 01 August 2019
  • Location: BLACKBURN

Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support Services

  • Provider: WAKEFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 January 2019
  • Location: Wakefield

Get help using this service

Call 08000 150 950

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

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