Working in social care with GCSEs (or similar)

You can start working in social care with few or no qualifications, but you need to start working towards a qualification once you are in the job.

You can only work under supervision until you are qualified. There are apprenticeships available in social care and childcare.

Example jobs

Care assistant
Providing personal care for care home residents, assisting qualified staff.

Nursery assistant
Assisting with the care of pre-school children, organising activities.

Support worker
Caring for adults with physical and/or learning disabilities.

Family support assistant
Providing services to families in a children’s centre, giving information.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Most jobs are based indoors. You may take clients outdoors or accompany them on trips.
  • Social care work involves providing personal care services.
  • You may need to deal with challenging behaviour.

Qualifications needed

You may need GCSE maths and English. A health and social care qualification at Level 1 or 2 may be useful. It is important to have a caring nature and willingness to train. You need to be honest and able to accept people for what they are, even when they appear hard to deal with. Voluntary experience is useful with a social care provider or in any care organisation such as a hospital. Taking a first aid course would be helpful and you will need to have a DBS check.

Career path

Once you are trained (to Level 2) you can work without supervision. You may then take on more responsibility, such as taking clients out on visits or caring for clients in their own homes.

Useful links

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The National Apprenticeship Service

NAS - Information and advice about becoming an apprentice

Caring Careers