How To Become A Community Worker In Australia?

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Students want to know how to become community workers in Australia.


Do you have good listening skills, social awareness, and care for the well-being of others? Then, a career as a Community Worker could be an ideal option for you. 


A community worker is a qualified and experienced person who works with people, families, and groups to address concerns that deprives them of accessing basic human necessities such as education, housing, health services, employment, and recreation.


You usually need a formal qualification in community services, social work, social sciences, individual support, psychology, or any other related field to work as a Community Worker in Australia. VET and university courses are common study pathways to enter this role.


If you want to work in a rewarding career making a real difference in your community, this blog will show you how to become a community worker in Australia. Explore the community worker duties, qualifications and skills, national average salary, career pathways, and the steps to launch the profession. 



1. What Is A Community Worker?


Community workers assist vulnerable people in the community, such as the elderly population and those with physical and mental disabilities.


They are responsible for creating a pleasant and active environment for their clients in group homes and day programs.


Community workers may perform developmental work directly with clients or work under the supervision of social service and healthcare agents to plan group functions.



2. What Does A Community Worker Do In Australia?


The Community support workers' responsibilities vary based on their specialisation. They may work independently or in a team to care for their patients. 


The typical community support worker duties may include the following:


  • Visit clients in their homes.

  • Evaluate the client's needs, type, extent of their issues, living circumstances, lifestyle habits, and health.

  • Provide physical and emotional support and personal care assistance such as bathing, dressing, grooming, housekeeping, socialising, etc.

  • Cook nutritious meals and assist them with eating.

  • Create a safe environment for clients and help them move around.

  • Conduct one-to-one appointments or group sessions. 

  • Monitor and report their client's progress to their family, employers, and others involved.

  • Refer clients to agencies for additional assistance.

  • Operate directly within communities to offer support and assistance to those in need.

  • Advocate on behalf of clients and protect their interests when faced with inequality, discrimination, or injustice.

  • Liaise with community groups, government bodies, non-government organisations, welfare agencies, and private businesses to plan, develop, and maintain community services such as welfare, housing, health, and recreation.

  • Assess and suggest amendments to community development programs, practices, policies, or budgets.

  • Perform admin tasks, including preparing reports and submissions for government bodies or other agencies. 



3. What Skills Does A Community Worker Need?


Community support workers who work with a range of individuals in a caregiving capacity require specific personality traits and skills that they can only acquire through hands-on experience.



Soft Skills


  • Genuine interest in helping and caring for people

  • Empathy and Co-operation

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills to build rapport with people

  • Patience

  • A friendly demeanour

  • Able to work independently

  • Time management skills

  • Good work organisation skills

  • Managerial skills to manage group activities and programs

  • Critical thinking 

  • Conflict resolution skills

  • Social awareness

  • Good cooking skills

  • Active listening skills 



Hard Skills


  • Evaluation of individual patient care needs

  • Promotion of emotional, physical, and social well-being

  • Counselling and mentoring

  • Knowledge of performing First Aid in emergencies

  • Aged care

  • Computer literacy to record patient information and communicate with patients.

  • Crisis response

  • Case management



4. Qualifications For Community Workers In Australia 


Though the requirements of a community worker vary by employer, a background in related areas such as social work, physical therapy, and education is preferred.


Here are the steps to qualify for this role:


  • Must be at least 18 years of age

  • Complete your Year 12 or equivalent.

  • Complete a VET qualification in a relevant discipline such as community development or community services like a Diploma in Community Services, including 400 hours of supervised fieldwork placements. Else, complete a Bachelor of Community Services, a Bachelor of Social Science, a Bachelor of Human Services, or a Bachelor of Community and Human Services.

  • Get industry experience in a vocational placement by volunteering in Social Support or assisting needy people. Prior experience in community-support roles is desirable.

  • You may need a National Police Check and a Working with Children Check.

  • Membership with the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) will be helpful. You must complete an ACWA-approved degree or two-year diploma in community development, community services, human services, community welfare, or a related discipline. 



5. Steps To Become A Community Worker In Australia


You need relevant skills and qualifications to work in community support. The below steps can guide you in getting started in a community worker position:


Step 1: Study For A Formal Qualification In Community Support


The first step to starting your journey towards building your career is to complete an accredited community support course like a Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015).


The work experience you gain while working in the community gives you the desired skills to provide the best service to your clients. Moreover, the credential qualifies you to work in numerous opportunities for advanced roles in this industry. 



Step 2: Gain Relevant Work Experience


Getting work experience is crucial to work in this role as the skills that employers look for in a candidate mostly come through practical hands-on experience rather than learning.


Earning prior experience gives you an added advantage over your competitors and makes you more employable. Look for a supervised vocational placement where trainees get a real-world experience in the field before qualifying.


The other way to build work experience is to contact your community support organisation and volunteer your time in a community support role. It will show potential employers that you are suitable for the job.



Step 3: Get The Necessary Clearances


Before working with vulnerable individuals, most states require you to pass a national police check as part of the hiring process.



Step 5: Gain Professional Membership


Gaining a membership with the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) will help you obtain recognition as a valid community support worker.


However, to gain a professional membership, you must complete an ACWA-approved two-year diploma or a relevant bachelor's degree within the community services industry.



Step 6: Apply For Jobs


Once you have the required qualification and a professional membership, you are all set to apply for entry-level community worker positions in Australia, such as:




6. Community Worker Courses In Australia


Studying for this career helps equip you with practical, hands-on, professional skills to manage, coordinate and deliver person-centred services in the health and community sector.


Community worker courses include work placement and skill development workshops that prepare students to learn to evaluate clients and identify and provide individualised support.


Below we have listed standard VET and degree courses that can lead you to a Care Worker role and other related jobs in the community service sector.



Community Worker TAFE/VET Courses


  • Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)

  • Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)

  • Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)

  • Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) (CHC33015)

  • Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) (CHC33015)

  • Certificate III in Community Services (CHC32015)



Community Worker Degree Courses




7. Areas Of Specialisation


After gaining adequate skills and experience, community workers can specialise in a specific type or age group of clients.


Here are the typical specialist roles, along with their national average salaries:


  • Youth support worker: $42.27 per hour

  • Disability support worker: $35.54 per hour

  • Aboriginal Affairs Administrator: $35.35 per hour

  • Social worker: $34.35 per hour 

  • Family support worker: $33 per hour

  • Housing Officer: $32.11 per hour 

  • Home care worker: $32.10 per hour 

  • Residential care officer: $30 per hour

  • Community Support worker: $27.51 per hour



8. Working Conditions For A Community Worker


Community workers usually work at offices or community centres. It involves considerable personal contact and travels to visit community sites and attend meetings.


They may occasionally participate in evening meetings and weekend activities.



9. Employment Opportunities For Community Workers In Australia


Community service courses help you to gain counselling, advocacy, and group work skills and prepare you for community services, social housing, and case management roles.


Most Community workers can choose to work with people in a wide range of community settings in urban or remote areas, such as:


  • Residential facilities

  • Group homes 

  • Youth shelters

  • Aged care centres 

  • Youth clubs and organisations

  • Charities 

  • Community development and care services 

  • Centres for People with disability

  • Aboriginal communities

  • Local councils

  • Correctional facilities

  • State and territory government service agencies

  • Some community workers also work self-employed, undertaking contract community work on specific projects.


Career prospects depend on the number of programs available and government funding for community organisations.



10. Community Worker Jobs In Australia


With a relevant qualification, community workers can pursue various roles within the community services industry. Some of the latest Community Worker jobs on SEEK are:


  • Community services trainee 

  • Community care worker

  • Care worker 

  • Community support worker

  • Bicultural community health worker

  • Caseworker family & community well-being 

  • Family and community engagement worker

  • Community mental health practitioner - relief worker

  • Community development worker - youth

  • Community care worker - casual

  • Support worker

  • Home care worker / domestic home care support

  • Female community support worker

  • Homelessness community caseworker

  • Community support worker (disability & mental health)

  • Community - Lifestyle worker 

  • Community worker - Breakfast program

  • Community and youth worker - counsellor

  • Centre manager 

  • Community project worker (disaster recovery)

  • Residential / community support worker

  • Community access and engagement worker

  • Home care employee

  • Aboriginal community care worker

  • Care Coordinator

  • Welfare support worker

  • Criminal corrections officer

  • Case manager - Community services



11. Career Pathway Options For Community Workers


A role as a community worker enriching people's life can be highly satisfying. It can lead to several job positions in senior or related disciplines.



Junior Level


  • Junior Support worker (Certificate III in Community Services (CHC32015))

  • Volunteer Coordinator (Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015))

  • Youth Support worker (Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015))



Intermediate Level


  • Outreach worker (Certificate IV in Mental Health (CHC43315))

  • Family support worker (Certificate IV in Child, Youth, and Family Intervention (CHC40313))

  • Community development officer (Diploma of Community Development (CHC52115))

  • Youth worker (Diploma of Youth Work (CHC50413))



Senior Level


  • Community development manager (Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management (CHC62015))

  • Care manager (Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management (CHC62015))



12. Job Outlook Of Community Workers In Australia


The growing aging population and the high prevalence of mental health issues and drug abuse drive the demand for community workers.


Due to this, the job prospects for community care workers in aged care, counselling, and mental health and drug addiction will likely remain stable in the coming years.


Furthermore, as community care services require a human touch, they can't be replaced by any bot or impacted by economic recession or pandemic.



Working Arrangements


Around 61% of employed Community Workers work full-time for an average of 41 hours per week.



Primary Industries Of Employment


  • Health Care And Social Assistance: 61.8%

  • Public Administration And Safety: 17.3%

  • Other Services: 5.2%

  • Education And Training: 3.6%

  • Other Industries: 10.8%



Percentage of Employment Across Australia


  • New South Wales: 29.4%

  • Victoria: 24.9%

  • Queensland: 15.8%

  • South Australia: 9.9%

  • Western Australia: 12.5%

  • Tasmania: 2.9%

  • Northern Territory: 2.6%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.8%



Worker's Age and Gender Profile


The average age of Community Workers is 45 years, most between 45 to 54 years. Females constitute 80% of the workforce which is 32 percentage points above the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.



13. What Is The Salary Of A Community Worker In Australia?


According to Pay Scale, the average community support worker's salary in Australia is AU $27.00 / hour or a yearly equivalent of AU $62,492.


The common factors that impact a community support worker's salary are:


  • Academic qualifications 

  • Relevant work experience 

  • Area of specialisation

  • Work location



Salary based on Work Experience


  • Entry-level (<1-year experience): AU$27.18 per hour

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$27.33 per hour

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$27.92 per hour 

  • Experienced- level (10-19 years of experience): AU$28.55 per hour

  • Late career (20 years and above): AU$27 per hour  



Salary based on Work Location


The average salary for a Community Services Worker in Sydney is $30 per hour.


  • Melbourne: AU$28.61 per hour 

  • Brisbane: AU$27.84 per hour 

  • Adelaide: AU$27.81 per hour

  • Perth: AU$27.10 per hour

  • Canberra: AU$24.76 per hour 

  • Darwin: AU$24.49 per hour



14. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What Are Community Workers Called?


Standard occupational titles for Community Workers are:


  • Care Worker

  • Community Care Worker

  • Community Support worker 

  • Residential Care Worker 

  • Aged Care Support Worker

  • Disability Support Worker

  • Intake and Assessments Officer 

  • Juvenile Justice Officer 

  • Case Worker

  • Multicultural Support Worker 

  • Parole Officer 

  • Community Corrections Worker 

  • Community Development Officer 

  • Outreach Worker



What is The Role of a Community Worker?


Community workers provide clients with physical, mental, and social support to help them live more confidently and independently daily.



What Are The Four Responsibilities of a Community Services Worker?


The four primary responsibilities of a community services worker include:


  • Interact with clients and perform several activities to help them with daily self-care tasks. 

  • Plan, develop, and execute support programs for disadvantaged people that address their local needs and issues and enhance conditions and opportunities for everyone in the local community.

  • Facilitate community development plans and collective solutions within a community to solve issues linked with recreational, housing, health, employment, and other welfare matters.

  • Encourage their clients to live a more confident, independent, and healthy life.



What Are The Three Types of Community Work?


A job assisting others in the community can take several forms. Below are the three main types of community work in Australia:


  • Provide care and support to the vulnerable sections in society, including aged people and people with moderate to severe disabilities.

  • Plan and implement services for government and non-profit organisations, such as cleaning the city's roads, parks, and other public spaces.

  • Provide community care services to an addiction treatment organisation.



Is Community Workers in Demand in Australia?


Community workers are in high demand for providing personal, physical, emotional, and social support to disadvantaged people such as the disabled, elderly, and poor to enable them to enjoy a good quality of life.


Furthermore, community workers get the flexibility to decide their work hours. Working in a casualised employment model gives you a work-life balance.


Due to the growth in the aged population and the incidences of alcohol addiction and mental health issues, the government projects a strong demand and future development in Community Services Worker jobs over the next five years.


Skilled community workers will find plenty of job opportunities in several areas of community support in the coming years.



What Is an Example of a Community Worker?


Working in a Community services role allows you to involve with communities and deliver in-home aged care and disability care to those who need it. You will work with individuals, families, neighbourhoods, and associations to strengthen their well-being and promote client independence.


Here is a community worker example that gives you a better understanding of the role:


Senior Helpers Launceston TAS 7250 seek a competent community support worker who can help residents perform their household and other daily living activities and get them involved in their choice of community activities.


The work profile lists the following daily duties:


  • Do light housekeeping and laundry

  • Groom, dress, and shower patients

  • Prepare healthy meals

  • Provision of care conversation and companionship

  • Travel to run errands and book appointments

  • Remind patients about their medication


The job requires the below skillset and qualifications:


  • Certificate III in Individual Support/Aged Care/ Disabilities is Required 

  • At least two years of prior experience in a community support worker's role and a similar setting 

  • Have a valid driver's license, CPR and First Aid certifications

  • Must have cleared the national police check in the past two years

  • Registration to work with vulnerable individuals

  • An optimistic and cheerful attitude

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

  • Like working in a team

  • Have an insured vehicle



How To Become a Support Worker Without Qualifications?


Though qualifications are not mandatory to work as a community worker in Australia, you may still get the job if you have prior experience in similar community-support roles you are applying for.



Can You Get PR in Community Service in Australia?


Yes. In Australia, qualified overseas workers can obtain a skilled PR visa to work as community workers (ANZSCO - 411711).


They can apply for a community worker 190 visa (permanent visa) or visa subclass 491 (to live and work in Australia for five years with a pathway to PR via the subclass 191 visa).


However, to be eligible to apply for a community worker PR visa, they must fulfil the below conditions.


  • Must be below 45 years of age.

  • Must score at least 65 immigration points or higher as per the state/ territory requirements.

  • Must have competent English, i.e., at least IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, or more per the state/ territory requirement.

  • Obtain a positive community worker skill assessment by meeting one of the below qualification criteria:

    • An ACWA-accredited diploma or higher course.

    • A professionally accredited ACWA-recognized course equivalent to an ACWA-accredited AQF level 7 degree or higher, like a bachelor's degree or higher with a community and human services focus;

  • Must file an Expression of Interest application, get invited by the state/ territory, and then lodge a visa application.

  • Must meet health and character requirements.



15. Conclusion


"Community services" is a broad industry offering plenty of career opportunities for new employees. Helping people with diverse backgrounds and bringing smiles and joy to their faces make it a gratifying field.


While it can be emotionally demanding, the feeling you get by bringing a difference in the lives of vulnerable people makes the hard days worthwhile.


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