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Care home practitioner

Look after vulnerable adults living in care homes. Help them to reach their full potential.

Also known as: residential support worker

About skillsGetting in

About the job


Source: National Careers Service



Entry level





Entry level





Entry level




people are currently employed

High growth

4,500 more jobs in 5 years

These figures refer to this job and similar ones with comparable skills and qualifications. They only apply to Scotland. Source: Oxford Economics

What it's like

You would provide care and support to adults living in care homes and help them lead happy and fulfilling lives.  

Your work would involve supporting someone to complete daily tasks and leisure activities. You might also take an active role in organising and reviewing someone’s care – this would be as a key worker.

You would be responsible for writing support plans, which describe how someone wants to be cared for.  

Everyone you support would have different personalities and preferences. You’d make sure each person’s support plan was accurate, up to date and individual to them.       

There are different groups of people you could work with. Most care homes support older people but others might specialise in supporting younger adults. 

Depending on the people you work with you would: 

  • check each person’s needs and keep records of their progress 

  • review support plans and find ways to improve someone’s care 

  • create a safe and positive living environment 

  • provide personal care, such as helping people wash, go to the toilet, dress and eat 

  • arrange leisure and creative activities 

  • promote opportunities for people to learn new skills 

  • help with daily living skills such as shopping and dealing with money 

  • liaise with people’s families and arrange family and home visits 

You would work in a team with other health and social care professionals. You’d also work in partnership with other agencies including the NHS and local authority. It will be important to maintain good relationships with family members and carers. 

Most positions will pay an hourly wage, though some may be salaried 

With experience, you could be promoted to a care service supervisor role and lead a team or manage a budget. 


In a full-time job you would typically work around 37 to 40 hours a week, often on a shift rota including weekends, evenings and sleep-in duties. You may also be on call at times. Part-time work and job sharing are widely available.


You would work in an adult care home. The work can be challenging as you may be supporting people with unpredictable behaviour. Each day will be different and there will be opportunities to do a range of activities inside and outside the care home.


You may also spend time out in the community doing activities with residents. A driving licence could be useful.

Explore more information about this job

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Related industries

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  • Social care
  • Healthcare
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Top skills

Skills are things you're good at. Whether you know what yours are or not, everyone has them!

It's useful to learn which ones are important in a job so you know the areas you need to brush up on. It can also help you work out if you're suited to a career.

Here are some of the skills you'll need to do this job:

  • attention to detail
  • social conscience
  • respecting
  • empathising
  • written communication
  • verbal communication
  • listening
  • supporting
  • cooperating
  • resilience

Your skills are important

Our unique skillsets are what make us stand out from the crowd. Learn about each skill in depth and discover what employers look for in your applications and interviews.

Discover skills

Getting in

Explore the sections shown for more information about getting into this career.

You might have qualifications which are not shown here but will allow you access to a course. You can compare your qualifications by looking at their SCQF Level. For more information about this, check out the SCQF website.

Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Colleges and universities will list subjects you'll need for entry to a course. Some useful subjects include:

  • Care

  • Skills for Work: Health and Social Care

  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services and Healthcare

  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services Children and Young People

You can get a head start in this career by doing a Foundation Apprenticeship in S5 and S6.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification which is the same level as a Higher. You'll also learn new skills and gain valuable experience in a work environment.

Discover what's on offer at your school on  Apprenticeships.scot.

You’ll need an SVQ in Social Services and Healthcare (SCQF Level 7). You can work towards this qualification on the job or through a Modern Apprenticeship. Your employer would support you with time to complete your qualification.    

You can also enter this role by completing an HNC in Social Services (SCQF Level 7) at college. 

Experience in a care-related job such as a care support worker. You can find opportunities to volunteer in care through Volunteering.scot.

Qualifications and experience that show caring for people such as Skills for Work Health & Social Care (SCQF level 6) or Volunteering skills Award (SCQF levels 2-4).

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Social Services & Healthcare / Healthcare Support (SVQ level 2/3) if employed by NHS Scotland or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.

You would register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and have approved membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

A driving licence is useful and may be required for some roles.

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