There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare assistant. Employers expect good literacy and numeracy and may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths. They may ask for a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ.
Employers expect you to have some experience of healthcare or care work. This could be from paid or voluntary work. There are sometimes apprenticeships in healthcare that can give you experience to apply for HCA posts.
Skills and personal characteristics needed
To be a healthcare assistant, you’ll need to be:
- caring and kind
- cheerful and friendly
- willing to be hands-on with patients
- willing to do personal care tasks (washing, toileting, etc)
- able to follow instructions and procedures
- able to work in a team but use their own initiative
You’ll also need:
- communication skills, including listening
- organisation skills
- observational skills
- Training and development
Your training as a healthcare assistant will include basic nursing skills and you’ll work towards the Care Certificate, developed by Skills for Care, Skills for Health and Health Education England and launched in 2015.
You may also be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:
- the CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
- the CACHE level 2 or 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support
- These could be done through an apprenticeship.
Some HCAs join the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as health practitioner members. The RCN runs training events and conferences so HCAs can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.