Getting started in your Health & Social Care career

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3 min read

So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Many HSC careers can begin in-role, with on the job training to work your way up, while others require initial training at college or university level. We’ll break it down below. If you have a specific job in mind, make sure to head to our ‘Job Types’ feed, where you can search for the requirements of individual roles. 

The essentials

Before taking on any role, or training towards one, you will need an enhanced DBS check to check for previous criminal convictions. DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service and is in place to protect vulnerable individuals. This covers anyone under 18, as well as adults with additional needs or vulnerabilities. 

This applies however experienced you are, from your senior managers to your apprentices and volunteers. As soon as there’s a chance you will come into contact with vulnerable folk in a professional capacity, a DBS will be expected. 

Employers or training providers will usually get this organised for you, as there is a fee involved in getting one. This will be covered in any job offers or course documentation. Read the latest government info about DBS checks here or check out our simple guide.

On the job training

Many careers in Health and Social Care do not start with a degree. With the exception of some areas (see ‘Courses and Qualifications’), many folk begin their career in an apprenticeship, or in a junior or assistant role, and work their way up to management. The following roles all offer apprenticeship training, and would be a great place to build up a career while gaining qualifications at the same time:

  • Healthcare worker
  • Care Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Support Worker
  • Manager
  • Youth Worker 

Courses and qualifications 

If you’re looking at health based roles such as nursing, various forms of therapy (Speech and Language, for example), technical training, like a radiographer, and advisors, you may well need to take on a qualification, such as a degree, before you can enter the profession. If you choose these paths, it’s likely you’ll be expected to have gained a minimum of 5 GCSE’s (Grades 4-9) as well as passing science based courses at A Level or equivalent. 

You will need to look into the specific career path you’re after to find out exactly what you’ll need, but if you’re looking more to begin some qualifications to build up your skill set in the general area of Health and Social Care, there are some great options out there. Level 2 and 3 Health and Social Care Diplomas can be carried out at most local colleges, so take a look and see what is available to you. 

Final thoughts

It’s a big world out there, and for many of us, knowing we’ve made a difference is one of the most important things when deciding on a career (after paying the bills, that is). It’s no wonder that there’s such a high number of workers in caring roles in the UK. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about the world of Health and Social Care, we really recommend scrolling through our jobs lists and reading the profile of the different roles you might take. It will really help you narrow down the path that’s right for you within such a large, exciting sector. Good luck!

Ready to start exploring careers?

To see a full list of role profiles for careers in the sector along with entry requirements and links to courses and current vacancies, click here.>>

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