Communication Support Worker

Job Description:

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

Job Category:

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • work out what will help students learn
  • help students communicate
  • support learners by lipspeaking and taking notes
  • interpret between spoken English and sign language
  • support learners to become more independent
  • provide training for other staff and students


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Communication Support Worker (CSW), you don’t necessarily need specific subjects. However, strong interpersonal and communication skills, as well as a genuine interest in supporting individuals with communication needs, are essential. CSWs typically work with individuals who are deaf or have hearing impairments, so knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL) is often required. Here are some considerations:

  1. British Sign Language (BSL): Proficiency in BSL is crucial for CSWs who work with individuals who are deaf or have hearing impairments. Taking a BSL course and gaining certification can be highly beneficial.
  2. English Language: Strong written and verbal communication skills in English are essential for effective communication with colleagues, students, and other professionals.

Post School

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 Sign Language and deaf studies degree but it’s not essential.


You can do a college qualification. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Award In Signing and Receiving Skills in British Sign Language
  • Certificate in British Sign Language Studies
  • 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.

Entry requirements for these courses vary.


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


You might find it easier to get a job if you get experience working or volunteering with children who are deaf or have hearing problems.

Other Routes

You can do sign language training or complete a certificate in Learning Support for Communication Support Workers.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work during the term time. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm.

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

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • manage a sensory impairment or disability service
  • become a sign language interpreter
  • become a disability adviser
  • train to be a sign language teacher

You’ll also find some opportunities to use sign language in theatre, television, multimedia production and courts of law. Signers are sometimes needed to interpret in interviews as well.