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 may help you when looking for work. Courses 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), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, 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, or equivalent, 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

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
  • 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

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • help patients shower and get dressed
  • help people eat
  • make beds
  • use equipment to lift and move patients
  • talk to patients and reassure them
  • help patients to use the toilet
  • tidy the ward or patients' homes
  • take patients' temperature or pulse
  • attend 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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Health Care Assistant

  • Wage: £230.63 Weekly
  • Location: Stockport

Apprentice Primary Health Care Assistant

  • Wage: £168.75 Weekly
  • Location: Bournemouth

Courses In England

Level 2 Apprenticeship Standards - Healthcare Support Services

  • Provider: WAKEFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location:

Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support

  • Provider: VOCATIONAL TRAINING SERVICES CARE SECTOR LIMITED
  • Start date: 01 December 2020
  • Location:

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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