Skip to Main Content

What Is a Care Worker and How to Become One

What Does a Care Worker Do?

There are a variety of job titles under the broad category of care worker. This includes childcare workers who care for and teach children daily; patient care workers whose duties include working one-on-one with medical patients; and direct care workers whose responsibilities include assisting the sick, injured, or mentally disabled in their homes or care facilities. Overall, care workers focus on supporting the needs of their client and the client's family through activities, life coaching, creating a care plan, and personal development. A care worker is directly involved in the lives of their clients regardless of the type of care work they do.

Where Do Care Workers Work?

Because there are a wide variety of care workers in different roles throughout many industries, there are also many areas in which care workers can work. For instance, childcare workers can work in gyms, childcare facilities, or schools. Direct care workers often work in the homes of their clients or specialty care facilities like adult foster care homes or retirement communities. Patient care workers may work in a variety of medical settings including hospitals, therapy offices, in patient's homes, in retirement homes, and more.

How to Become a Care Worker

Care workers need different levels of education and skills based on their specific industry. Childcare workers often need to have some schooling in early childhood education, or plenty of previous experience in childcare on a smaller scale, to meet qualifications. Patient care and direct care workers usually need to earn degrees in nursing, psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field. Beyond these educational requirements, all care workers need to love working with people and have exceptional communication/interpersonal skills and empathy in order to succeed.

What Are Characteristics of a Successful Care Worker?

Successful care workers are great communicators who are compassionate and empathetic with their clients. They are flexible, as their jobs often require them to go from one task to another quickly, and they are great problem solvers. Attention to detail and organization helps you to succeed in a care worker role. Overall, many characteristics of successful care workers are necessary across industries, although some characteristics of care workers in the medical field do not necessarily translate to childcare and vice versa. Ultimately, communication and interpersonal skills are the most important characteristics in any of these roles.