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What qualifications do you need to be a carer?

Qualifications to be a carer

Working as a carer can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, as even on the toughest days you’re still making a positive difference to someone’s life. A desire to help others is what makes for a great carer, which is why we don’t see formal qualifications as a necessity for becoming a carer with us. Instead, we prefer to hire people who possess a naturally compassionate, empathetic personality and who want to look after those who need help.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t encourage and support our carers to enrol on training and achieve qualifications. All of our private carers receive comprehensive assessment and instruction when they start with us, which builds on existing knowledge and prepares them to provide a wide range of care services to people with varying needs. We also guide every carer to complete the industry recognised Care Certificate when they are new to Helping Hands, ensuring that they achieve the required standard.

There are also multiple relevant qualifications that can equip carers to specialise in certain areas of care and enhance their knowledge and skillset, as well as giving them more eligibility for promotion to other roles. However, it’s important to thoroughly research a qualification first to ensure it will be relevant and useful, and to make sure the carer has enough time available to balance study with work.

Level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications

Helping Hands offer all employees the opportunity to further their skills and seek career progression, which is just one of the many reasons why we’re considered the UK’s leading home care provider. There are numerous Health and Social Care qualifications available, so it’s worth doing some in-depth research to determine which would be the most relevant for your desired career path. Taking the City and Guilds awarding body as an example, there are qualifications available from level 1 – including pathways for whether you’re prefer to focus on adult care or take a course that also covers young people’s care. Level 1 qualifications are introductory, and are roughly equivalent to GCSE grades 3-1 (D-G by the old system). These courses require you to be able to motivate yourself to study independently as well as in a group setting, and would cover modules such as health and safety, safeguarding, awareness of duty of care, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Qualifications at levels 2 and 3 develop the knowledge gained at level 1 and help you to apply your skills in more specific, specialist contexts.

Level 2 and 3 Diplomas

A level 2 diploma in Health and Social Care will expand on what you’ve already learned in your level 1 qualification and is generally undertaken by someone already working in care who wants formal recognition of their skills. Level 2 diplomas involve a far greater time commitment than a level 1 qualification; the City and Guilds courses, for example, take up to 460 hours to complete. This rises to roughly 580 hours at level 3.

In certain level 2 and 3 diplomas, the learner can specialise in a certain area that is of interest or relevance to them, including:

  • Learning disability services
  • Dementia care
  • Healthcare support
  • Domiciliary care
  • Residential care
  • End-of-life care

At level 3, there will be a combination of mandatory and optional units. Mandatory units include:

  • Duty of care in care settings
  • Promoting person-centred approaches in care settings
  • Safeguarding and protection in care settings
  • Promoting health, safety and wellbeing in care settings

Helping Hands are very proud to have previously won awards for our comprehensive training content. Additionally, we were the only full-service home care provider to be awarded the Skills for Care accreditation for our carer training.

Developing care skills

Developing your skills is an important part of being a carer, as it allows you to take more responsibility and provide your customers with a better service. We want every Helping Hands carer to feel completely confident in their abilities when they visit a customer’s home, which is why we put so much emphasis on providing all new carers with a welcoming environment where they can shadow existing carers and undertake work-based qualifications to grow their knowledge and skillset.

Qualifications for nursing care

One of the care services that we offer is nursing care at home. This is provided by expertly trained carers who are supported by our own team of Clinical nurses. Operating in this way means that our carers are more aware of their customer’s condition, allowing them to support the customer’s complex care needs with more expertise and knowledge.

Carers wishing to take on further clinical responsibilities may be able to train as a Nursing Associate. This is a new role created by the NHS which is designed to bridge the gap between health care support workers and qualified nurses. A Trainee Nursing Associate studies for a Foundation degree which allows them to have additional clinical responsibilities such as undertaking venepuncture and ECGs, performing and recording clinical observations, discussing and sharing a patient’s information with registered nurses, and more.

Page reviewed by Kathryn Mahon, Regional Clinical Lead on February 2, 2023