Many people think about becoming a paid carer for lots of different reasons, but starting the process can be confusing if you don’t know what the right kind of training is or what steps you need to take. So whether you’re changing industries or just starting out on your career, here’s a quick guide to help you figure out what you need to do in order to become a qualified carer.
Before you make the decision to train as a carer, the first step will be to ensure that being a carer is an affordable choice. We’d all love to be able to work for nothing, but for most of us this simply is not an option – so you need to know whether you will be able to pay the bills once you’re qualified. There’s a wealth of useful tools on the Internet to help you figure this out, so do a quick search and start the sums. Think about the number of hours that you need or want to work, and the hourly rate you need to charge to be able to pay your bills – then make a decision about whether it’s realistic. If you’re thinking of working for yourself, there may be additional financial implications you need to take into account, for example if you have a mortgage and you want to change mortgage provider you will need two years of accounts from your business to show you can afford the repayments – which isn’t an issue for someone who is employed. Also, if you’re currently on any benefits and thinking about becoming a paid carer, then, as with any job, you’ll need to look at how your benefits could be affected and whether your new income will be able to make up the shortfall.
To be a carer you’ll need to have a good knowledge of the social welfare system, as well as an understanding of the law. But you don’t usually need any specific formal qualifications to start working. 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. If you’re changing career at a later stage or just want to improve your skills and knowledge, a formal course such as an NVQ in health and social care can be a good idea.