careers healthcare assistant

Healthcare Assistant Jobs

Healthcare assistant jobs… did you know?

Similar jobs: Support worker, nursing assistant, nursing auxiliary

As a healthcare assistant, you will often work in a hospital, and your role is to help patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible. You take on general tasks in order to support the nurses and other health professionals in the specialised work they do.

The comfort and dignity of patients is very important during stressful times. There are so many ways you can help them feel they are in safe hands, from taking their temperature to helping them eat and bathe. Everything you do is not only clean but also caring and friendly, just like you.

Industry: Health and Science

Healthcare assistant job trends

How much money can you make as a healthcare assistant?

£15,000 – £20,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £15,000 and £20,000 a year as a healthcare assistant in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a healthcare assistant will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

There are no set entry qualifications for this job. When at school, you may benefit from having some GCSEs, S grades or the equivalent in English and maths, to show you can follow verbal and written instructions and that you can work with numbers (e.g. if you need to measure blood pressure).

You can also do applied GCSEs and study for BTEC certificates and diplomas in health and social care.

Apprenticeships

You can get into this job through completing either an apprenticeship or advanced apprenticeship in healthcare. This gives you the opportunity to earn a salary working in healthcare while getting structured learning that leads to an industry-recognised qualification.
The NHS runs traineeships, apprenticeships and cadet schemes.

NHS apprenticeships are on offer at four levels:

  • Intermediate (Level 2 – equivalent to five GCSES (9-4/A*-C)
  • Advanced (Level 3 – equivalent to two A-levels)
  • Higher (Levels 4-7 – equivalent to foundation degree or above)
  • Degree apprenticeship (Levels 6-7 – equivalent to a degree)

There are some entry requirements for NHS apprenticeships. For example, to successfully apply for an Advanced Level Apprenticeship you may need four or five GCSEs or their equivalents, sometimes in particular subjects.

To start a higher apprenticeship with the NHS you may need a Level 3 qualification or enough healthcare-related experience to show you have the skills and knowledge to apply.

Visit NHS Healthcare Careers to see the range of healthcare apprenticeships on offer.

Career progression

With time and experience you could increase your level of responsibility, so that you’re able to train new healthcare assistants.

With extra training you could be promoted to become an assistant practitioner in different healthcare areas, including:

  • Chiropody
  • Podiatry
  • Occupational therapy
  • Radiography
  • Physiotherapy

You could also train to work as a:

  • Nurse
  • Radiographer
  • Dietitian
  • Midwife
  • Social worker

What experience do you need for healthcare assistant jobs?

Work experience

It can help your application if you have previously done work experience in a healthcare or customer service environment.

A key part of the job is your ability to get on with different kinds of people, stay calm and be friendly, caring and respectful. Any work experience which shows your communication skills and customer service skills is useful, such as working in a restaurant or shop serving customers, or taking calls in a call centre.

The job can be physical at times as you may be helping to lift patients into more comfortable positions. It can also involve keeping an environment clean and tidy for patients. With this in mind, if you have done any work where hygiene is important – like working in a beauty salon or in a restaurant kitchen – that could help your CV stand out.

Any work experience where you have demonstrated your healthcare skills can help your application. Visit the NHS Work Experience website to find healthcare work experience opportunities in your area.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a college or university course

Volunteering and extra-curricular activities

Volunteering is a very caring thing to do because you are choosing to give up your time to help other people. Employers may be impressed to see volunteering on your CV, and any volunteering experience related to healthcare is especially useful. Maybe you have volunteered to help vulnerable people like the homeless or elderly people?

Sometimes you will have been in the position of being a carer yourself for someone in the family, or helping family relatives who are struggling with their health. This life experience means you know what can be involved in caring for someone.

What skills do you need for healthcare assistant jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for laboratory jobs include:

  • Writing and spoken communication skills
  • Customer service skills – being friendly, polite, respectful and calm with people of all kinds of backgrounds
  • Teamworking skills – you will often work as part of a team to support healthcare professionals and be there for them when you’re needed
  • Self-management skills – you will have a schedule of things to do but will still observe and tell someone if you spot anything wrong with a patient
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure – you can work well when things get busy and you are not squeamish about intimate tasks like collecting bedpans or helping someone get clean. Comfort and health come first.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a healthcare assistant do?

You could be working in-house in the NHS or a private hospital. Sometimes you might be working in a community environment like a nursing home.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Monitoring activities like taking a patient’s pulse, blood pressure or temperature (you’ll be under supervision)
  • Tidying the environment and making beds
  • Talking in a friendly and polite way to patients to reassure them
  • Helping patients shower, get dressed, eat and go to the bathroom
  • Giving out tea and snacks
  • Helping to keep patient records up to date

Your first steps into healthcare assistant jobs

Healthcare assistant jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Trainee healthcare assistant
  • Trainee support worker
  • Healthcare apprentice
  • Healthcare assistant

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