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Communication support worker

Communication support workers (CSWs) help deaf students in education.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £22,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 term time

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 1% more Communication support worker jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • assess the needs of learners
  • help students communicate with others in class
  • support learners by lipspeaking and notetaking
  • interpret between spoken English and BSL
  • adapt learning materials to match learners' interests
  • use different ways to help people understand what is required in class
  • help learners produce written work
  • support students to share their learning needs with teachers
  • build relationships with learners, their families, and other professionals
  • support learners to become more independent
  • provide deaf-awareness training for other staff and students
  • give advice to staff on how to improve the learning environment or communication methods with deaf learners

Working environment

You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a college or at a university.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • training with a professional body

You can do a British Sign Language and deaf studies degree, although it's not essential.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You can do a college qualification like:

  • Level 3 Award In Signing and Receiving Skills in British Sign Language
  • Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies
  • Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners

You'll be expected to have a level 2 sign language qualification to get onto one of these courses.

You can do further qualifications at higher levels once you start work.

For more information

You may be able to find a job as an assistant communication support worker and complete your qualifications while working.

Volunteering and work experience

Experience of working or volunteering with children with deafness or hearing loss will be useful.

Other routes

You can do sign language training through organisations like Signature, which also offers a Certificate in Learning Support for Communication Support Workers.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can get more advice about working in communication support from Signature.

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With experience, you could move into a management position within sensory impairment or disability services. With further training, you could progress to become a sign language interpreter, a disability adviser or a teacher for deaf students.

There are some opportunities to use sign language skills in theatre, television, multimedia production and courts of law. Signers are sometimes booked to interpret in interviews.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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