If you are someone whose motivation is altruism and you have strong interpersonal skills too, then health and social care jobs could a great fit. A career in this sector enables you to make a tangible difference in the lives of people in your community. The sector offers a wide variety of careers that require different skills, training, and accreditations, but all of them involve supporting others physically, socially, and emotionally. While roles in the healthcare sector center on assisting people with their physical health, social care in comparison has more of a focus on helping those who are vulnerable to open up opportunities for them to improve their life quality.
Why consider health and social care jobs?
Social and health care workers are in high demand, and this trend is likely to increase in the next few years. High demand often leads to more competitive salaries, with the best earning potential available to those who obtain a Masters of Social Work.
There is also a high level of satisfaction in this sector as you would have a positive impact on the lives of many people in your community. Choose from a wide variety of roles within the industry too, working in many different environments, including:
- Residential care or nursing homes
- Private practice
The careers often offer a lot of autonomy, flexibility, and independence. As well, enjoy the opportunities to collaborate with other professionals.
There is some overlap between careers in social and health care, and the personal attributes and professional skills that are necessary are very similar. If pursuing a career in the social and/or health care sector interests you, this guide will help you to explore the main career paths.
One of the most popular career choices is social work. Social workers support individuals and families in their community to improve their quality of life in a variety of ways. They work with people of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly, to access services and find the support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives that are free from abuse or harm.
Social work can be a challenging profession. Why? It often involves working with people who are in difficult living situations and helping them to overcome challenges to improve their life.
They need to be able to develop strong understanding of the people they work with and address complex issues with problem-solving skills. To become a social worker a degree in social work is usually a requirement.
A health visitor is usually a nurse or midwife who has completed additional training to be able to go out into the local area to provide both individuals and families with health advice. Health visitors must have excellent active listening and communication skills to be able to do the following things well:
- Assess the needs of the people they work with
- Cope with a wide range of emotional and physical needs
- Work effectively with other health professionals
By providing health advice, these people help those around them to live healthy lifestyles and to prevent illness as much as possible.
More health and social care jobs:
An occupational therapist supports people in the community who have health issues that prevent them from being able to take part in specific activities. It could be helping people to live independently and complete everyday tasks by adapting their living environment. One aspect of that could be assisting them to improve their physical mobility to gain independence.
Occupational therapists should be adept at problem-solving and working in collaboration with other professionals in the health and social care jobs to reach the best solution for their patients. An occupational therapist requires a degree in occupational therapy and should be licensed to practice in their region.
A care worker is someone who visits people at home or in a residential facility to provide practical care, which enables them to live independently. It could be through physically supporting them to wash or dress or by preparing their meals and administering medication.
Care workers may work with people who have:
- Physical impairments
- Learning disabilities
- Mental health issues
- Substance misuse
- Older people
This role is both physically and emotionally demanding. It also requires a lot of independent work with excellent time management and interpersonal skills.
While formal qualifications are not necessarily a must to become a care worker, many employers expect high school graduation and some volunteer experience in the sector. In some areas, you can also complete an apprenticeship.
Rehabilitation support worker
Rehabilitation support workers dedicate their careers to supporting people who are recovering after any of the following:
- Mental health issues
They may also support people with sight or hearing loss, or learning disabilities. Rehab workers enable these people to live more independently.
To excel in this position requires strong communication skills, as well as a compassionate and patient nature. It can be a stressful and demanding role, which often requires working under pressure.
Formal qualifications are not always necessary to begin this career, although there are college courses that will help you gain a good understanding of the sector. Knowing what to expect as you enter the job field can help you advance smoother than you might otherwise.
Counseling includes a broad category of careers, but essentially counselors help people who are going through difficult times and emotional challenges. Exactly what this looks like can vary widely, including helping people with:
- An ongoing mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety
- Coming to terms with a physical disability
- Recovering from a traumatic event in their lives, such as bereavement
A counselor works with people through a range of different therapies to help them process their emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms than they had before the sessions together.
For example, this could include talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or experiential therapy. Group therapy is another option.
By helping people to make changes in their life, a counselor can play a pivotal role in improving clients’ emotional and mental well-being. Counselors need to have exceptional listening skills and must complete several stages of training to have a career of this nature.
A health psychologist works with people to improve their understanding of health issues. This professional helps equip folks with the knowledge they need to develop positive habits in their lifestyle and attitude towards health.
The techniques can vary, including encouraging clients to reducing their alcohol intake, take up exercise, or eat a more nutritionally balanced diet.
Health psychologists can work in numerous settings, from schools to hospitals and local government organizations. For education, health psychologists must have a master’s degree in health psychology, in addition to several other qualifications.
Strong problem solving, research and critical thinking skills are assets in this career.