- 09 December 2020
- 7 min read
The Support Worker Salary & Pay GuideSubscribe To Advice
Here we take a look at the role of a Support Worker and outline the average salary, what you do to earn it and how it can vary between sectors.
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Support Workers help vulnerable people to live happy and independent lives by supporting them with all kinds of everyday tasks and activities.
You could work independently or in a team, and the setting in which you work can vary too – there are community roles, hospital roles, and positions with specific individuals at their homes.
The people you support could have learning difficulties, mental health challenges, physical disabilities or could be elderly.
As for salaries and everything related to Support Worker pay, this guide aims to answer all of the most commonly asked questions.
What Is The Average Salary For A Support Worker?
The average salary for a Support Worker is approximately £19,000 a year.
This estimate is based on the latest industry statistics from various job boards, covering roles in the NHS and private sector.
Salaries typically start at £17,000, and can rise well beyond £25,000 a year with enough experience.
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What Does A Support Worker Do To Earn This Salary?
Support Workers carry out all kinds of duties, and they vary depending on the setting in which you work.
But responsibilities may include:
• Assessing the needs of people you support
• Writing up assessments and making referrals where needed
• Providing emotional support
• Working closely with families to personalise support
• Managing budgets
• Organising leisure activities
• Liaising with and making referrals to other agencies
• Working closely with employees from related disciplines including mental health or child protection professionals
• Maintaining accurate records
Working hours for Support Workers are fairly routine.
How Much Does Support Worker Pay Vary Between The NHS & Privately?
The short answer to this question is: not very much.
Support Worker pay is very similar in the public and private sectors.
In the NHS, a domestic Support Worker might start at a Band 1 or 2 salary, meaning a starting salary of £18,546 a year.
But with experience, Senior Support Workers can earn a Band 3 or 4 salary, which begin at £20,330 and £22,549 respectively. Privately, salaries start around £17,000 a year, rising to £21,000 to £22,000 with experience – and peaking beyond £25,000 for managers and those with specialist qualifications.
Of course, the decision to work in the public or private sector is about more than money, because benefits can vary greatly.
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How Do You Become A Support Worker?
There are no specific qualifications required to become a Support Worker. You will normally need GCSE grades A to C in English and maths, and an NVQ or similar qualification in health or social care will definitely improve your employability.
Some jobs will require an NVQ2 in Care, while more senior roles could demand an NVQ3.
However, many employers may be willing to employ you with a view to you completing those qualifications on the job.
With staff shortages and an ageing population, employers are increasingly happy to take people on without any training or experience.
But you will need to exhibit certain skills and personality traits, including compassion, patience, communications skills and resilience.
What Can A Support Worker Do To Earn More Money?
As a Support Worker, there are a few ways of approaching the challenge of improving your income.
Firstly, you can think about how you work.
For the right person with the right experience, working as a bank or agency Support Worker can lead to higher rates of pay and a better overall income, either in the NHS or privately.
However, you’ll likely only see the benefit when you’ve built some experience and attained some qualifications. But equally, you can focus on simply building up your skills and qualifications through training.
A Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care is a good minimum target that could help you to apply for more senior roles.
At the same time, experience is key.
What Is The Career Progression For A Support Worker?
Being a Support Worker offers a brilliant base on which to build all kinds of career journeys.
Most obviously, you can become a Senior Support Worker or team leader with enough experience and by topping up your training.
But there are many other options.
You could choose to specialise in a particular area, like children with disabilities, and build experience and qualifications in that area.
That will allow you to become suitable for more specialised roles.
Many Support Workers also become Social Workers.
Being a Social Worker does require more formal qualifications, but your experience as a Support Worker will give you something of a head start.
What Does The Future Hold For Support Worker Pay?
Support Workers occupy a sector that is very much in the spotlight because of COVID-19.
All care workers have made extraordinary sacrifices in maintaining the same levels of care despite enormous challenges.
And the efforts support workers and their various colleagues have made have not gone unnoticed.
Dozens of politicians have started campaigning for a substantial, across-the-board pay rise for all care staff, and these campaigns are gaining momentum.
Given how rapidly COVID-19 has spread in care homes and among the vulnerable, it’s rightly seen as a very worthy cause.
Precisely what kind of pay increase will be offered, when it will be introduced, and how it will be ensured that it’s implemented in the private sector as well as the NHS, remains to be seen.
The future could be much brighter for support worker pay.
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