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Article: Children and Teenagers


This article covers the following jobs:

  • Care Assistant - Children
  • Personal Adviser
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Field Social Worker
  • Nurse - Children
  • Orthoptist
  • Playworker
  • Primary Teacher
  • School Nurse
  • Secondary Teacher
  • Speech & Language Therapist
  • Speech & Language Therapy Assistant
  • Youth Worker.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Children and Teenagers

Care and Health Care

Looking after the health of children requires a genuine interest, not only in the child's welfare, but also in the needs of the parents. Care jobs require a responsible attitude, patience and good communication skills.

Nurse - Children

Children's nurses care for babies, children, and teenagers. Working with doctors and other medical staff, they plan and put into practice the complete nursing care of their patients.

They meet the particular needs of children, for example, considering how an illness or injury will impact on their physical and emotional development.

They reassure children who are anxious or confused. They use observation skills to monitor children who cannot tell them how they feel or where they are in pain.

The practical nursing side of this job includes giving medication (such as injections), applying and changing dressings, and taking and recording measurements of things like blood pressure and temperature.

Children's nurses involve parents and carers in the treatment. They might teach them how to change dressings or give injections, for example. This means that the child can leave hospital earlier, with the treatment continuing at home.

To become a children's nurse, you usually need to complete a degree in nursing. You would need to specialise in children's nursing during the training.


Orthoptists diagnose and treat abnormal eye movements and problems with vision.

Much of their work is with children, treating problems such as strabismus (squints) and amblyopia (lazy eye). They can work with people of any age, for example, treating eye problems linked to stroke in older adults. In some clinics, they help doctors to diagnose and treat conditions such as glaucoma.

To treat a squint or lazy eye, the orthoptist might place a patch over the patient's better eye. This exercises and improves the vision in the amblyopic or squinting eye.

With some patients, the orthoptist might have to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for surgery.

To become an orthoptist, you need to complete a degree course in orthoptics.

Care Assistant - Children

Care assistants provide basic personal care and social care to children and young people in a variety of settings, including special schools, day centres and residential care homes. They support children and young people with everyday tasks, as well as encouraging their social and personal development.

Usually working in a team, assistants plan and supervise activities that will encourage the children to develop new skills and form relationships with each other.

Some care assistants work with children who have special needs, perhaps because of a physical or learning disability. Depending on the age and abilities of the child, a care assistant may help them to wash, dress, go to the toilet, and prepare or eat meals.

There is no formal academic entry requirement, but most entrants have relevant work experience (either on a paid or voluntary basis) in a care environment; some have a relevant social care qualification.

School Nurse

School nurses look after pupils' health, and also teach them about issues such as healthy eating, exercise, smoking, drugs and safe sex.

They see children regularly to check and measure things such as height, weight and hearing. School nurses also immunise children against diseases.

They give talks and presentations in the classroom, and one-to-one advice, on all the health issues that can affect children. Apart from physical illnesses, they can be helping pupils to deal with issues including bullying, panic attacks, eating disorders and depression.

School nurses work closely with people such as teachers, parents, GPs and education welfare officers, as well as the pupils.

To become a school nurse, you first have to qualify as a registered nurse or midwife. It is then possible to take specialist training as a school nurse.


To be a good teacher, you need to enjoy working with children and communicating with them. Teaching is a very demanding job - the holidays may be long, but you must be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into preparing lessons and marking work.

Primary Teacher

Primary school teachers teach a broad range of subjects to children usually aged between 5 and 11. They usually teach a 'mixed ability' class, which involves a variety of teaching methods to enable the children to learn at different speeds.

Other activities include preparing lessons, completing paperwork, marking work, writing reports and going to parents' evenings.

To become a primary teacher, you usually need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) through initial teacher training (ITT). There are several ITT routes.

You could take a BEd primary education degree, or a BA/BSc degree in primary education that is combined with QTS. Or, you could enter through a PGCE, following a degree that is relevant to the primary National Curriculum. There are also employment-based postgraduate training routes.

Secondary Teacher

Secondary teachers work with students aged between 11 and 19. They usually teach one subject, or a number of related subjects such as English and drama. Classes may be of mixed or similar ability, depending on the school and the year group.

Secondary teachers need to be able to maintain discipline in the classroom. They also prepare and plan lessons, mark work and give feedback, complete paperwork, write reports and go to meetings and parents' evenings.

To become a secondary teacher, you usually need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) through initial teacher training (ITT). There are several ITT routes.

There are a small number of BEd degrees (all lead to QTS), and BA/BSc degrees that lead to QTS, in a limited range of subjects.

Most people take a PGCE, following a degree that's related to the subject they want to teach. You might also be able to enter teaching through postgraduate employment-based training, such as the School Direct Training Programme.


Helping children and young people to access and enjoy recreational activities can be very rewarding. These jobs require you to have good organisational skills, and the ability to work on your own initiative.


Playworkers provide stimulating play opportunities to encourage children to learn, develop and express themselves.

They set up safe and creative play areas, equipping them with all the necessary materials and equipment. They could work in a variety of settings, including play centres, adventure playgrounds, mobile play buses, holiday play schemes and hospitals.

There is no formal academic entry requirement. However, playwork is becoming an area of trained and qualified workers. Many people start off on a voluntary or temporary basis, for example, on a summer play scheme, and then work towards vocational qualifications, including work-based qualifications in playwork.

Youth Worker

Youth workers encourage the personal and social development of young people, helping them to fulfil their potential, both as individuals and as responsible members of the community. They provide information, advice and counselling, and encourage development through planning and delivering social and recreational activities.

Youth workers spend time in face-to-face work, finding out about young people's likes and dislikes, their feelings about society, and any problems they want to discuss.

Full-time youth workers are often responsible for a team of part-time workers and volunteers, some of whom may have special skills in sport, music or art. Activities include environmental conservation work, helping people with disabilities, or taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

To become a full-time, nationally qualified youth worker, you need to complete a degree course that is recognised and endorsed by the National Youth Agency (NYA). It is also possible to enter at youth support worker level.

Therapy and Advice

Therapy is the treatment of physical and mental disorders by means other than surgery. Working with children can be a particular challenge because it can be hard to explain to them why they need treatment and to get them to take part in it.

Advice work needs excellent communication skills and the ability to understand other people's situations, problems and feelings.

Speech and Language Therapist

Speech and language therapists help people to overcome problems they have in communicating or swallowing. Much of their work is with children, although they can work with people of any age. Their clients include people who have:

  • difficulty in making and using the sounds needed for speech
  • problems with understanding and using language
  • voice problems
  • a stammer
  • swallowing difficulties.

When they first meet a new client, the therapist must diagnose and assess the problem, using medical notes and discussions with the client.

Therapists base the treatment programme on this first assessment. Treatment can involve teaching people to form sounds more clearly. The therapist might teach the patient new words and explain when to use them. To be effective, the treatment must also be interesting and creative, to keep the client's attention.

Therapists work closely with people such as teachers, family members and carers, doctors, psychologists and other healthcare professionals.

The usual way to become a speech and language therapist is to complete an accredited degree or postgraduate course.

Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Speech and language therapy assistants (SLTAs) help people to overcome speech, voice and swallowing problems. They work in a team with speech and language therapists.

Most of their work is with children, for example, who have been slow to develop language skills. They also help adults, such as people who are recovering from a stroke.

Once the therapist has made a diagnosis, the assistant will work with the client over a number of weeks.

SLTAs work with people both one-to-one and in groups. They keep the therapist up to date with the client's progress. Therapy with children, for example, involves a lot of play, and watching closely how the child communicates with other children and adults. To help the child, assistants prepare and use things such as toys, picture books, symbols and electronic devices.

Training is usually on-the-job, perhaps leading to qualifications.

Education Welfare Officer

Education welfare officers identify and deal with problems that prevent children from attending school or making the most of their time there. They tackle a range of problems, including under achievement, truancy, behavioural problems and exclusion from school.

Education welfare officers and teachers work closely together to discuss the history and possible causes of problems like truancy and challenging behaviour.

Most entrants are qualified social workers or have qualifications and experience in a related area such as teaching, youth work or counselling. For most posts, experience of working with children is essential.

Educational Psychologist

Educational Psychologists study and treat learning, behavioural and emotional issues of children and young people. These issues include learning disabilities, difficulties in reading and writing and challenging behaviour.

Educational psychologists assess a case by talking to and observing children at home and at school. They guide the child through tests and assessment techniques, and plan ways to help, such as counselling, family therapy sessions and different teaching methods.

Psychologists also work with parents and professionals who are involved in childcare and education. For example, training them in ways to support children with learning disabilities or handle challenging behaviour.

To register as a Chartered Educational Psychologist, you must usually have completed a first degree in Psychology that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). You must follow this with postgraduate training and experience.

Personal Adviser

Personal advisers are part of the Connexions service, which aims to provide people aged 13-19 with the information, advice and practical help they need to reach their goals. Personal advisers work mainly in schools, colleges or drop-in centres.

Different personal advisers have expertise in different areas. Some have previously worked as careers advisers and they have expert knowledge in this area. Others have had a background in youth work or social care (for example), and their expertise has a broader range.

As well as working with young people, personal advisers liaise with parents/carers, voluntary and community organisations and other professionals who have an interest in the welfare of young people.

Fully qualified personal advisers have a relevant professional qualification.

Field Social Worker

Field social workers help, protect and support people who are vulnerable or at risk, or have social, financial or emotional problems. They visit clients in the community, to offer advice, practical assistance and support.

Most local authorities have specialist teams of field social workers, dealing with specific issues or groups, such as child protection, people with mental health problems, people with physical or learning disabilities, older people and carers in the community.

To become a field social worker you need to complete a degree in Social Work.

Further Information

Skills for Care & Development (SfC&D)

Skills for social work, social care and children's services

Address: 2nd floor, Westgate, 6 Grace Street, Leeds LS1 2RP

Tel: 0113 2411240



Children & Young People Now

Publisher: National Youth Agency (NYA)


The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY)

Address: Royal Court, 81 Tweedy Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 1TG

Tel: 0845 8800044



National Youth Agency (NYA)

Address: Eastgate House, 19-23 Humberstone Road, Leicester LE5 3GJ

Tel: 0116 2427350



National Children's Bureau (NCB)

Address: 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE

Tel: 020 7843 6000



Youth Council for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Forestview, Purdy's Lane, Belfast BT8 7AR

Tel: 028 9064 3882



YouthAction Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: 14 College Square North, Belfast BT1 6AS

Tel: 028 9024 0551


YouthLink Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5EZ

Tel: 0131 3132488



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