CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 18, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Become a Communication Support Worker

Smiling deaf woman learning sign language
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Do you have a soft spot for the deaf way of life and would like to help deaf students in their education? Then you should consider working as a communication support worker. Communication support workers help in the interpretation of verbal English to British Sign Language and familiarize learners with learning materials. This career requires individuals with some experience working with adults and children with hearing loss or deafness.

What Do Communication Support Workers Do?

Communication support workers work alongside various experts such as speech and language pathologists, audiologists and teachers. Their main duties include:

  •          Taking into account the learners’ needs
  •          Helping learners to communicate with others in class through note taking and lip-speaking
  •          Interpreting between BSL and spoken English
  •          Familiarizing learners with various learning materials to match their interests
  •          Using various ways to help learners grasp the  class requirements
  •          Helping learners to produce written work
  •          Enhancing the learners’ relationships with their families and various other professionals
  •          Training learners how to become more independent
  •          Providing deaf awareness enlightenment to other students and staff

Salary

Earnings for communication support workers depend on their employer level of experience and location. Below is the summary of their annual median salary according to their level of experience:

Trainee CSW

£11,418-£13,044

Qualified Workers

£13,299

Experienced Workers

£15,210-£16,680

 

Skills

Working as a communication support worker needs you to have the following skills:

  •          Flexibility and ability to meet individual needs
  •          Willingness to learn particular vocabulary
  •          Awareness and comprehension of the deaf culture
  •          Ability to work in the leaners’ best interest
  •          Respectfulness of the learners’ confidentiality
  •          Ability to establish new relationships and work with different people
  •          Excellent comprehension of both written and spoken English and BSL

Qualifications

Once you opt and start working as a communication support worker, you are normally required to improve your sign language interpretation abilities and BSL qualifications. You might consider pursuing further qualifications that are relevant to this field or those that can enable you to turn into a communication professional in various areas. For instance, you might consider the following courses:

  •          Level 2 Award in Communication with Deafblind People
  •          Level 3 Award in Modifying Written English Texts for Deaf People
  •          Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language
  •          Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Translation

Additionally, you might consider Deaf Umbrella-( http://deafumbrella.com/ ) which in partnership with the University of Greenwich provide the LSPD-( http://deafumbrella.com/home/lspd/ ) course that gives you the formal acknowledgement as a Level 4 Communication Support Worker.

For those individuals who aspire to widen their skills and the scope of their work, you can consider various disability adviser programs offered in various universities. If you have an interest in teaching, you might consider training as a qualified teacher in various schools. This can be achieved through taking a diploma program in teaching deaf children.

Career Prospects

Job opportunities for communication support workers are available in various institutions of further education. Skilled professionals might also secure jobs in local education authorities, freelance agencies and vocational training centers. There are also more job openings in television, theater, courts of law and multimedia production.

These professionals are also sometimes required during interviews. According to the National Careers Service, there will be about 608,000 jobs for communication support workers by 2020. If you would like to utilize your linguistic skills well, this is a career to consider.

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