Care Assistance

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Care assistance is a profession that helps clients and their families all around the country in an effort to provide high quality care for those who need it most. 

The duties in this role are wide ranging. Do you think you fit the bill? Are you caring, empathetic, friendly and helpful? If so, maybe you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered some relevant information that may help you below. 

What is Care Assistance?

Care assistance involves ensuring a high quality of care for clients with the aim of improving it from the care they may have had previous. Duties carried out include washing, dressing and maintaining your client’s hygiene while also helping them with basic-day-today tasks they may have trouble with. 

What courses are available?

Universities and college around Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Advance Care Planning
  • Healthcare Support/Caring for the Elderly
  • Introducing Caring Children and Young People
  • Care of the Older Adult
  • Care Provision and Practice 
  • Care Skills

These are just a selection of courses available. There are many courses available in Ireland in the area of Care Assistance so if there is a particular area (for example, Caring for the Elderly) be sure to look into the course in detail to ensure it is exactly what you are looking for and you meet the requirements to apply. Courses will differ in material depending on the clients they are designed to cater to. Some courses offer part-time or full time study. 

Studying Care Assistance in college

Course material will differ depending on the course and the university/college you attend. For the most part, the important areas are covered in all courses such as understanding client care, using specific equipment, assisting skills, working in different settings, what work is necessary for certain clients depending on their age or their requirements.

 You will be expected to demonstrate your practical skills regularly and apply new information and skills as you learn. Many courses in the healthcare area are QQI Level 5 courses. This means they are the equivalent of the Leaving Certificate and can be used as a stepping stone into third level education if you want to continue to develop your career. 

As previously mentioned, course content can differ from course to course depending on the specific area if study. However, they all cover the basics of health and safety, understanding your client, preparing you for certain situations that may arise and knowing how to build a relationship of trust with clients. 

Many courses, if not all, will require you to take a work placement in order to gain experience working in the desired environment and to put your theory and knowledge to the test by applying it to real life situations. Generally it is the student’s responsibility to organise this and undergo Garda Vetting before doing so. 

Career Options

In this area, you can work as a healthcare assistant/care assistant. You will work in settings such as hospital settings, in care homes and the homes of clients. Courses will allow you to gain the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to work with clients in any of these settings in order to help make their daily life easier. 

There are many personal skills that are important in this area and by studying a course, you will learn to develop those skills. A caring and friendly manner is important when working with clients as well as patience, strong communication skills, compassion and a willingness and desire to help and provide the highest standard of care possible. 

Once completing a course in this area, many use it as a link to a university course. Areas that you may be able to progress into include courses such as Social Care, Social Science and Applied Psychology to name a few examples. 

Further Study

As mentioned above, use care assistant courses or relevant courses to progress into third level. Like the courses mentioned above, there are many more you can choose from should you want to continue on your education. 

There are several areas for those who choose to pursue care Assistant to a postgraduate level.

GMIT run a Master of Science in Palliative and End of Life Care for those who wish to develop competence in caring for persons and their families requiring palliative and end of life care. Other areas include Higher Diploma in Applied Social Studies.and Social Care Practice.

Visit for more information.


What requirements do I need to get into a care assistant course?

In order to apply for a course in this area you will need:

Leaving Certificate, QQI Level 4 Certificate or equivalent in a relevant subject area. Mature students may have an exemption from these. In most courses in this area there will be an English Language Requirement as well as undergoing Garda Vetting. In cases where potential applicants do not meet requirements, they should contact the college of the course they desire as some places may have a ‘case by case’ system. 


Aedín Dunne

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