Healthcare assistant

nursing auxiliary support worker nursing assistant

Career outlook for healthcare assistant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help ill people with their practical daily tasks, either in hospital or in a patient’s own home.

You’d chat with patients and help them to feel less anxious.

A friendly, sensitive and cheerful approach will be very important. You’d need to be able to get on with people of all ages and backgrounds. 

You would:

  • Help patients to wash, shower or dress
  • Serve food to people or help them to eat
  • Make and change beds
  • Talk with people to help them feel less anxious
  • Help patients if they find it difficult to move around
  • Give out and collect bedpans, and help patients to the toilet
  • Help patients who are confined to bed to change position and avoid pressure sores
  • Tidy the ward or patients’ homes
  • Keep supplies and equipment in order
  • Take and record observations such as temperature, pulse and breathing

You might use mobility aids and equipment to help lift and move patients. In hospitals you may also escort patients to and from different departments.

Nursing staff would supervise your work. With experience, you may be involved in training new healthcare assistants.

If you work for the National Health Service (NHS) the salary for this role is covered by the Agenda for Change pay rates. You can see information about the pay and conditions on the Healthcare assistant page on the NHS Careers website. There are also numerous clinical healthcare support worker roles available on the careers website. 

Working conditions


You would usually work around 37 hours a week on a shift or rota system, including nights, bank holidays and weekends. Flexible and part-time hours are often available.


You could work in the community or in a hospital setting.


If you work in the community, you are likely to travel throughout the day between patients’ homes. A driving licence may be needed for some jobs.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Building relationships
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Attention to detail
  • Making decisions
  • Taking responsibility

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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Some employers may require a good general education.

You could undertake a Modern Apprenticeship in social services and healthcare.


Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects
  • Care

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

You may need to pass a medical test and a general test of literacy, numeracy and thinking skills as part of the recruitment process. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an understanding of health and wellbeing, such as:

  • Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF Level 6)
  • Health and Social Care (SCQF Level 4/5)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF Level 3-5)

A First Aid certificate.

Work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Healthcare Support (SVQ Level 2/3) can be of value when applying or relevant qualifications may be achieved once in a job.  

Experience in first aid or caring for others.