Home > Caring & Education > Becoming a Carer

Becoming a Carer

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 17 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Career Change Carer Career Change

There are many vulnerable people in society who require partial or round-the-clock care. Working in the social care profession is unquestionably hard work, with many carers dealing with concerns that most people wouldn’t like to contemplate. But social care can also be extremely rewarding. This is because a good carer can make all the difference to someone’s quality of life.

Social care includes working with both young and old people, as well as those with physical or mental disability. Your personal and professional skills and strengths will undoubtedly decide which demographic you would like to work with, as carers can provide both physical and emotional support for many people. So the likelihood is that if you’re considering a career as a carer, you’ll be an excellent communicator, patient, a great problem solver and physically fit. But just how does one go about making a career change to become a carer?

Am I Right for the Job?

There are many different job opportunities within social care, from working in a residential home, to providing assistance within a person’s own home. If time allows, and if you have no former experience of working as a carer in any capacity, you might find that Voluntary Work in your local community is a great way to find out whether you’re right for the job.

It’s best to contact a specific voluntary group, many of which can be found in the Yellow Pages. Your local library will also most likely have information about your local branches of community social care voluntary groups. Be aware, too, that each prospective carer is screened through the Criminal Records Bureau before they begin their employment.

Training

To be a carer you must have a good knowledge of the social welfare system, as well as an understanding of the law. However, this knowledge can be acquired on the job as, in most cases, you won’t actually need any formal qualifications to start working as a carer.

This means that a career as a carer is open to many people who have previously not had the appropriate qualifications for a job, or have been out of employment for long periods of time. Experience counts for a lot, and there are many examples of experience being used in place of formal qualifications to gain access to college or degree courses.

You can also train and develop your skills on the job, as many schemes will allow for day release training courses, as well as part-time college courses. Part-time courses usually come in the form of foundation and induction training and are undertaken within at least the first 12 weeks of your employment. Induction training also opens up opportunities to start studying for further qualifications.

Full-time courses result in qualifications such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Care and Management or Health and Social Care, or a relevant degree. NVQs are not exam-based qualifications – you will be assessed on different aspects of your day-to-day work.

Funding

It’s also worth noting that in some circumstances, there is also the chance to support any full-time training courses with a payable allowance. Those that consider a career change into the caring profession tend to be more mature, and this usually means that they also have added responsibilities, such as dependent family and many outgoing expenses like mortgage payments. For this reason, to enable more mature students to study towards a degree qualification, there are now annual bursaries available for those who may otherwise struggle to Fund their education.

Other Caring Careers

For information and advice on alternative caring careers, visit our Carers and Education section of this site.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Wezza - Your Question:
I want to change career and go into care work, but don't know were to start, as I have no degree or training, but do have some experience knowledge, as my 12year old boy has autism asperges. And I want a job which will be more rewarding for myself.

Our Response:
That's lovely, we hope the above article helps you.
ACareerChange - 20-Oct-17 @ 9:49 AM
I want to change career and go into care work, but don't know were to start, as I have no degree or training, but do have some experience knowledge, as my 12year old boy has autism asperges. And I want a job which will be more rewarding for myself.
Wezza - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:15 AM
Hi I'm currently working as a carer, I would like to be a nurse. Could I do that through the company I work for- I mean if they arrange my NVQ'S till level 3?( as payments, booking and such) What else I will be expected to complete?
OnlyMe - 16-Sep-17 @ 3:15 AM
Stwe2 - Your Question:
Hello I am a registered children's nurse and I have been approached to be a carer. I just have a few questions. The family are going to be paying me themselves from a personal health budget. They are wanting me to register as self employed however from what I've read I don't need to as they are paying me is this the case? And do I need to register with the cqc? Thank you so much

Our Response:
You need to speak to NHS trust or Primary Care Trust about this as there are various ways you can set this up.
ACareerChange - 11-May-17 @ 10:43 AM
Hello I am a registered children's nurse and I have been approached to be a carer. I just have a few questions. The family are going to be paying me themselves from a personal health budget. They are wanting me to register as self employed however from what I've read I don't need to as they are paying me is this the case? And do I need to register with the cqc? Thank you so much
Stwe2 - 8-May-17 @ 6:42 PM
Daisy - Your Question:
I am currently registered as a general nurse RN2. I don't want to revalidate with the NMC as I am close to retirement age. I am considering working as a home carer so I can continue into retirement. Do I have to register with the CQC or other organisation to work as a paid carer?

Our Response:
You shouldn'tneed to register if you're planning on working for a registered care provider. If you plan on doing work as an individual it might be necessary. See here for further information
ACareerChange - 23-Mar-17 @ 12:19 PM
I am currently registered as a general nurse RN2.I don't want to revalidate with the NMC as I am close to retirementage.I am considering working as a home carer so I can continue into retirement.Do I have to register with the CQC or other organisation to work as a paid carer?
Daisy - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:44 AM
Crimbo - Your Question:
I'm almost 25 and looking to care for my friend with terminal cancer, she currently has a carer but she is not doing what needs to be done or supporting her correctly. Can I become her carer instead?

Our Response:
Speak to her current care providers and the local authority etc - anyone can be a carer but if it's a paid for service, you may need an NVQ etc.
ACareerChange - 20-Mar-17 @ 12:25 PM
I'm almost 25 and looking to care for my friend with terminal cancer, she currently has a carer but she is not doing what needs to be done or supporting her correctly. Can I become her carer instead?
Crimbo - 17-Mar-17 @ 4:27 PM
I'm a 53 year old wanting a career change and to work as a carer I would be great for post.
Steve - 3-Jan-17 @ 1:34 PM
Princess - Your Question:
I'm 21 years old and not working and don't have any qualifications. And I was just wondering if I could become a carer and if so how do I start?

Our Response:
You can try getting in touch with care organisations in your area...the council is a good place to start. There are college courses in various aspects of the care sector such as health & social care qualifications that you could look at too.
ACareerChange - 11-Aug-16 @ 1:42 PM
I'm 21 years old and not working and don't have any qualifications... And I was just wondering if I could become a carer and if so how do I start?
Princess - 9-Aug-16 @ 9:11 PM
lou - Your Question:
I've cared for my mum since I was little and I am now 18 years old I was just wondering if you had to have qualification to be a mental health nurse, or there would be places taking on that I could train on the job.

Our Response:
To do nursing, you will need to undertake a mental health nursing degree. The entry requirements are usually a minimum of five GCSEs at grade Cplus two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. If this is not something you want to do, you could consider a mental health support worker role. Take a look at the Skills for Care website for further information.
ACareerChange - 4-May-16 @ 12:43 PM
I've cared for my mum since I was little and I am now 18 years old I was just wondering if you had to have qualification to be a mental health nurse, or there would be places taking on that I could train on the job.
lou - 1-May-16 @ 9:50 PM
I am interested in becoming a carer for disability children and adult but need more help on how to start this when I work part time already
Al - 13-Apr-16 @ 10:48 PM
I lost my partner to cancer a year ago and i care for him till the day he was taken from me i am 42 years old and i want to care for other people make them as comfortable as possible can i learn or study from home
lou - 10-Apr-16 @ 9:17 PM
I am interested in starting some training/ learning to be a carer
Izzie - 9-Feb-16 @ 9:55 AM
Hello, I am very interested in becoming a residential carer however I am only 17 years old and use a motorbike as my transport, so I was just wondering what is the minimumal age to become a carer also would I need to hold a full driving license, thankyou
Alex - 9-Nov-15 @ 12:33 PM
Hi, Am enquiring about working in the UK as a carer and was wondering whether there is a statutory level of training required as there is here.Here we require a QQI level 5 in Healthcare or a similar Major Award.Do you require the same qualification to work in the UK as a carer?
Pete - 16-Oct-15 @ 12:53 AM
none - Your Question:
I am a 59 year old lady residing in SA but would like to become a carer in the UK. Please advise if you run any training courses and the procedure involved.Thank you.

Our Response:
We only provide advice, we do not run any courses. You should try colleges/caring organisations in the area you're looking at to find out where/what the opportunities are. There is list of some organisations and charities in the care sector here.
ACareerChange - 24-Sep-15 @ 12:08 PM
Al - Your Question:
Hi, I'm 17 looking to become a carer.I've ways been interested in this career as I've always been brought up in a respectful,kind,thoughtful way that always thinks of others before yourself attitude.I have plenty of experience with caring for others, such as for my grandad,nan and different family members. I love helping people out and making sure they are settled and happy. I took health and social care in school and got a distinction in it. One of my favourite lessons. I don't have any other qualifications as follows too become a carer. Where do I go from here too learn and get a job in this chosen career?

Our Response:
Ask around local caring organisations. If there are any openings you stand a good chance with your attitude and your health & social care qualification. Your local council will have a list of care homes if you cannot find any on the Internet - they may also be able to tell you about home care jobs in your area to (where you care for people in their own homes).
ACareerChange - 23-Sep-15 @ 9:52 AM
I am a 59 year old lady residing in SA but would like to become a carer in the UK.Please advise if you run any training courses and the procedure involved. Thank you.
none - 22-Sep-15 @ 1:48 PM
Hi, I'm 17 looking to become a carer.I've ways been interested in this career as I've always been brought up in a respectful,kind,thoughtful way that always thinks of others before yourself attitude.I have plenty of experience with caring for others, such as for my grandad,nan and different family members. I love helping people out and making sure they are settled and happy. I took health and social care in school and got a distinction in it. One of my favourite lessons. I don't have any other qualifications as follows too become a carer. Where do I go from here too learn and get a job in this chosen career?
Al - 20-Sep-15 @ 9:25 PM
@Millie. There is good info in the above article...all about volunteering, training and qualifications. I did local voluntary work on Saturdays (just ask your council for a list of care homes). Then was offered work in one while I did my NVQ
Snowdonia - 16-Sep-15 @ 11:35 AM
I've been interested in a career in care for quite some time but have never known the right way to go about it or where to even begin?! I am currently working in a call centre so the only real experience I have is caring for my younger siblings and other family members. Can anybody give me any information as to how I would go about it? Thank you!!
Millie - 15-Sep-15 @ 12:35 PM
Itty - Your Question:
Hi , I am 49 years old , and thinking of starting a career in care. Is their a call for men , or is the majority female. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

Our Response:
There is a huge demand for more people to enter the caring profession. A report by the charity Anchor called for more men in the caring sector and found that older people could also play a role.
ACareerChange - 9-Sep-15 @ 11:30 AM
Hi , I am 49 years old , and thinking of starting a career in care . Is their a call for men , or is the majority female . Any advise would be appreciated . Thank you .
Itty - 8-Sep-15 @ 9:05 AM
For anyone considering care whether on a mobile basis or live in, here is my story. I decided to try my hand at caring as it was something I had wanted to do for some time, and in my previous job had always had the most wonderful relationship with the elderly clients. I replied to a job advertisement for a live in carer, not thinking I would hear back as I had no official care experience, just helping out looking after my relatives, but I had worked with people for 29 years and had plenty of life experience. Anyway, I did hear back, went to meet the client's Daughter who told me the ins and outs of the various problems that her relative suffered from, but I came away from that meeting with the impression that the client was a very nice, very amenable person who just needed some help and support. I went to meet my potential client at her home and we had a lovely conversation about life in general and I came away feeling positive. I went and shadowed the other carer or a few hours and cooked dinner etc then came home. A couple of months later I was asked to go back and do a weekend shadow, so basically I went on the Friday afternoon, and slept over for the following 2 nights, in the lounge, not in the carer's room which was right opposite the client's room.I was warned that the client might get up in the night and I may hear her shuffling around but she did not, she slept through. The weekend went quite well, the lady was calm and relaxed. So basically then I was offered the job, I asked her Daughter what training I needed re manual handling etc and she said "oh just use your common sense". So I was taken on with no real experience, no NVQs and no other official training, and I felt really proud of myself as they said they "chose" me because of my personality. However, when I started my first day of a 3 week stint, things didn't go too well. The lady suffered from dreadful anxiety amongst other things (the degree of it I had not been made aware of) and when I made her a sandwich for lunch she nearly burst into tears as I had not cut it into quarters. I didn't think anything of it, obviously her other carer did things in a way she had got used to so I followed along. The following day I had been booked on a day trip with the lady (with hindsight I think this was not the wisest thing to do to someone who was only in their second day). We were stranded in a country house estate, the weather was bad, and the lady cried for 3 hours solid, swore at me, and I convinced the minibus driver it would be a good idea to nip us back home then go back for the others. When we got back she then cried all afternoon because we came home. In the first week things went from bad to worse, she hit me with her walking stick, attempted to bite me, swore at me, and liked to take pleasure in mocking my northern accent, my clothes, and my hair which unfortunately has some Arabic heritage and can be quite wild!! This behaviour continued for the whole 3 we
EM - 29-Aug-15 @ 2:34 PM
nevan - Your Question:
I am a stay at home mum for many years now. I want to become a carer what qualifications do I need and do I need to do courses? My youngest child is 4 so I would need the work to fit round his needs. Any advice much appreciated.

Our Response:
You can take courses relating to health and social care, ask at your local college. Some caring organisations will however, offer training on the job, or the chance to study part time whilst working so it would also be worth asking your local council/social services and any private care homes or organisations in your area.
ACareerChange - 17-Aug-15 @ 12:40 PM
I am a stay at home mum for many years now. I want to become a carer what qualifications do I need and do I need to do courses?My youngest child is 4 so I would need the work to fit round his needs. Any advice much appreciated.
nevan - 16-Aug-15 @ 10:50 PM
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