If you’ve ever considered a career in care work, you’ll probably have read through a number of blogs, guides and fact sheets looking at background and career progression paths. Whilst we’ve covered a number of these with information such as care worker skills, the role of health & social care workers and even qualifications for care home management you are probably keen to understand the general specifics relating to the job. From pay to working hours, this post covers the typical carer job description.
1. Entry requirements
There are no set job requirements when entering the care sector, but any job opportunity would be greatly enhanced if you have some experience in a caring role. This could include personal care for a family member or any voluntary work you have completed in the sector. Think about any situations where you have helped support someone with daily chores and include these as elements in your CV.
Some roles will require some background relating to care itself but if you are just starting out you could look at an apprenticeship as a point of entry. Care homes and professional care providers often offer apprenticeships in care.
If you are looking to work with children or vulnerable adults, you will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance. This replaces the old-style Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and proves that you are cleared to work in the sector.
It may help in advance if you request a copy of your criminal record (known as ‘basic disclosure’). It is illegal for someone to run a check on you if you aren’t applying for specific roles that require it.
The basic disclosure DBS cost is £25.
It may help speed up the recruitment process if you have this upfront and show your potential employer it. They may still need to do additional checks but it shows that you are thinking about the process in advance.
If you are applying for a role in adult social care in England, you will need to gain the Care Certificate as part of a 12-week induction programme provided by your employer.
Find out more about the programme here – Care Certificate Course.
2. Skills required (typical carer job description – carer or assistant)
You will need:
- the ability to engage with and relate to people from a diverse range of backgrounds
- the ability to work under pressure and remain calm in stressful situations
- skills in communication with a focus on sensitivity
Depending on the role, you may possibly need to learn ways to cope with challenging behaviour.
3. What you will be required to do
Depending upon the position you apply for you could be working in residential or nursing homes (private or local authority run), helping individuals in day centres or supporting people in their own homes.
Although specific to the carer job description your daily duties could include:
- getting to know clients and their interests and needs
- helping with personal care like bathing, dressing or using the toilet
- food preparation and feeding
- acquiring, securing and giving out medication
- carrying out general tasks like cleaning, laundry and shopping
- helping clients manage their budget, paying bills and writing letters/emails
- supporting families as they get used to new caring responsibilities
- taking clients from and to a residential home
- giving practical and emotional support to young people and children
- working with other health and social care professionals to provide individual care and development plans
- helping to organise leisure activities
England Starter: £12,500 to £16,000
Depending on the age you may get less, especially if you start as an apprentice. However there is a minimum wage for each age range that can be found here – care work minimum wage.
Experienced: £16,500 to £19,000
Benefits offered for additional duties may include increased pay for night shifts and weekend work. Free or low-cost accommodation may be provided. This is common if you are based in a residential care home.
Highly Experienced: Up to £25,000 (senior care supervisor)
Management: Over £30,000 (private care homes)
Some home visit jobs may pay only for the time you spend with a client.
Note these figures are a guide only. This does vary based on location. For example workers in London will be on a higher wage than individuals elsewhere.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
As with most full-time jobs, you will usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. You may work part-time. Work shifts could include weekends or evenings, with extra pay for some roles while others included at the base rate. Depending on your role you may be expected to stay overnight on a rota basis or live on-site.
The job can be physically demanding.
The job can be stressful.