Career Progression in Social Care

Care Careers Tips

Many people dream of career progression. Often when you start a job, you don’t plan to be working in the same role forever.

In some careers, there’s an obvious path to follow, but in social care, there are lots of options. If you start out as a Care Assistant or Support Worker, you could end up almost anywhere!

Some opportunities for career progression might use skills you’ve learnt directly as a care worker. Others might look at your transferable skills, such as being well-organised, a people-person and adaptable.

Career progression doesn’t always mean leaving your current company. We have many opportunities at Cera, and some of our Care Assistants and Support Workers have gone on to other roles within the organisation.

Questions to ask yourself about career progression

You might already know where you want your career to take you. If not, we’ve put together a few questions you could consider that might help guide you.

What interests you?

Career progression doesn’t have to follow a set path.

Think about the aspects of your current job that you enjoy most. It might be something you do every day or a less regular task. Is there a way you can incorporate that into your career progression?

For example:

  • If you really enjoy helping your service users do their hair, would you be interested in becoming a hair stylist?
  • If planning activities for your service users is the best part of your job, why not consider becoming an activity coordinator?
  • Or would you rather stay with the same company and continue moving up the career ladder?
  • Do you want to continue working directly with service users, or would you prefer to move to a more office-based role?

Do you want to study or take additional qualifications?

Some jobs, such as nursing or some management roles, might need additional study or qualifications.

If you’re interested in studying further, consider whether you’d like to study while working or take time out to go into higher education. A lot of qualifications can be obtained while you’re working, but may take slightly longer to complete.

What work schedule do you want?

As a care worker, you’re probably used to working shifts and unsociable hours. For some people, career progression is a way to move to a more “standard” schedule. However, some people love working nights or changing shifts. Consider what you’d like from your new role.

What roles could I progress to after working as a Care Assistant?

Here are some of the roles that you might consider after working as a Care Assistant or Support Worker.

Specialising in specific areas

You may want to continue delivering personal care and directly supporting service users to stay independent.

Plenty of Care Assistants and Support Workers love their current role, as well as the flexibility it offers.

However, there are still ways to progress your career. For example, if you really enjoy supporting people with certain conditions or disabilities, you could choose to work predominantly in those areas.

For example, if you’re particularly good at helping service users with autism or dementia, you could look for roles that focus on those conditions. If you’ve found a lot of fulfilment when helping service users at the end of their lives, you could look at roles in hospice or palliative care.

You may be able to take additional qualifications in your area of interest.

Care Supervisor

Care supervisors work with service users, but in a different way. It’s still a job that’s mostly on the front line of care, as opposed to in the office.

At Cera, our care supervisors assess service users and create care plans, and supervise and shadow care workers. Your knowledge of supporting service users and regulatory compliance will be hugely important in this role.

Care Coordinator

A more office-based role, care coordinators put together care rotas, maintain continuity of care where possible, and ensure that everything is compliant with regulations.

If you’re super-organised, flexible and know how to motivate your colleagues, this role could be a great place for you.

Registered Manager

Registered managers are a key part of any care organisation, including Cera. They’re responsible for all of the people and processes in their branch – that includes care workers, service users, support plans, budgets, policies, and much more.

It’s a big responsibility, and you’ll need to be a confident leader – as well as being good at keeping up with admin work. You’ll need to keep up with changing regulations, and will ideally have some extra qualifications in health and social care.

Having front line care work experience is vital to being a good manager. Your experiences working directly with service users mean you’ll understand your Care Assistants’ daily challenges.

Nursing & Nursing Assistants

While being a care worker is very different to nursing, this is a great path for career progression.

As a successful Care Assistant or Support Worker, you’ve got many of the same skills. You’re already compassionate and work well under pressure, some key factors in being a good nurse.

Not only that, but you’ve probably worked with many nurses over your career and know a fair amount about what their job involves.

Cera have recently launched their first pilot training program for carers to become nursing assistants, and this will be expanded geographically in the future - we are also working with a university to develop a full nursing degree programme for our care assistants.

Non-care Administrative Roles

As you work within a company, you’ll come across different jobs that might interest you and get to know different teams. You might have learnt more about marketing, IT or payroll and would like to get involved there.

Some areas, like Learning and Development or Compliance, might draw on your current workplace knowledge. But, depending on your area of interest, you might need to do some further study or qualifications, either before applying or while you’re working.

If you’re interested in moving to a different area of a business, talk to people in those teams to find out about their skills and qualifications, or ask the recruitment team for more information about what they look for in a candidate.

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