Are you looking for a career that involves helping people and making a genuine difference in their life? If yes, a career as an aged care worker could be appropriate for you.
Aged care workers (carers) are trained professionals offering assistance to older people by helping them with their day-to-day activities and personal tasks such as eating, dressing, tidying, showering, and cleaning. They work either from residential care facilities or their client's homes.
To become an aged care worker, you must complete Vocational Education and Training in individual and ageing support or undertake a traineeship. You must also possess a First Aid Certificate, an aged care vaccine certificate, and a National Police Certificate.
Read this article to learn about the job profile, employment opportunities, if you can work in aged care without a certificate, why you should work in aged care, how to get a job without experience, qualifications required, salary, ways to advance your career, and steps to become an aged care worker (carer) in Australia.
1. Who Is An Aged Care Worker (Carer)?
Aged Care Workers are friendly, sympathetic, and patient and relish talking with older adults and assisting them with their tasks.
They take complete care and support of older adults in residential establishments, private residences, clinics, and hospitals.
An aged care worker assists older people in personal care, illness management, and domestic duties.
Moreover, these trained professionals provide emotional support and companionship, so they do not feel lonely and alone.
They encourage community involvement and promote independence to improve the quality of life of aged people.
2. Why Should You Make A Career In Aged Care In Australia?
Working in the aged care sector and helping older Australians can be a rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful employment path.
Here are the best reasons why you should make it your career:
"Aged Care" is a high-demand occupation in Australia.
The increasing Australian population has led to a growing demand for people possessing the talent, skills, and professional background to provide hands-on assistance to older people.
The number of job vacancies in this sector has almost doubled year on year, with more aged care jobs than workers in this sector.
An increasing number of employment opportunities makes it a reliable and safe profession for the next decades and beyond.
Robust Growth And Employment Opportunities
Aged care is undoubtedly a great industry to work in. The sector provides ample scope for training and employment opportunities.
The beauty of this sector is that it provides flexibility to qualified and experienced aged care workers to work anywhere in Australia.
Around 50% of aged care workers work in full-time positions. The remaining 50% contribute to part-time work.
Strong Job Prospects
Australia has reported more than 1.2 million people with ageing support in their homes or community.
Government studies show a shortage of aged care workers in the coming years.
By 2024, the career opportunities for Disabled and Aged Carers will be equivalent to around 179,000 job openings.
It shows that the sector has a promising job outlook in the coming years.
Helping another person and positively impacting their life brings immense personal satisfaction.
You feel motivated when you know you are an instrument that positively influences the community.
Becoming an aged care worker for the elderly population when they need you the most is truly a heart-warming experience.
The job gives opportunities to meet and interact with different people, listen to their emotional stories and experiences, attend community events/festivities, and become a part of their family. All of this makes the profession very gratifying and rewarding.
Good Earning Potential
Suppose you are looking for a noble profession in Australia where you serve people and get a handsome salary. In that case, Aged Care could be the ideal career for you. This profession pays you well.
The average aged care worker's salary in Australia ranges between $55k and $60k. According to the most recent Fair Work Ombudsman pay guide, the average weekly pay for a full-time aged care worker with five years of experience is between $801.40 and $973.40.
The aged care sector is massive and composed of several critical roles to ensure the highest level of care for older people. The estimated salary of workers employed under different aged care worker jobs in Australia is as follows:
Aged care support worker: $59k
Residential aged care support worker: $137k
Community Care or Lifestyle support worker: $70k
Care manager: $137k
Enrolled Aged Care Nurse: $57k
Registered Aged Care Nurse: $99k
Another prominent reason to work in the aged care sector is that you can continue to work even if you age.
More than 60% are 25 to 54 years old. It is interesting to note that approx. 19.6% of workers are in the age band of 55 to 64 years.
It implies that recruitment and employment in this sector are not age-dependent. More than age, what matters is your passion for serving people unconditionally and the level of job-relevant experience and skills you have.
3. Qualifications To Become an Aged Care Worker In Australia
Aged Care is a complex and diverse segment of the healthcare industry. There are two pathways to gaining knowledge and developing the necessary skills to get hired for this role.
Candidates should complete a Certificate III in Individual Support/Disability followed by a Certificate IV in Aged Care. These courses deliver fundamental knowledge and practical exposure required to work in the aged care sector.
Completing nationally accredited courses will prepare a candidate to manage older people and provide good aged care services.
A traineeship is another way to get the skills and knowledge to work as an aged care worker. This way, you can earn while you study and qualify for this job. Most Australian employers need Year 10 as a pre-requisite for internship programs.
Internship students can complete a Certificate III in Individual Support after 12 months of their traineeship to be eligible to apply for an aged care worker job.
When you have the work knowledge and skills, you need to provide the following documents to work as an aged care worker in Australia:
A National Police Certificate
A First Aid Certificate (to be updated every three years)
A medical assessment to ensure you are physically fit to work
An aged care worker vaccine certificate that confirms the double dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
A certificate that proves the applicant has taken a flu vaccination.
A valid driving license (to provide support and care within the home and community)
Some Australian states, like South Australia, also require applicants to undergo a mandatory employment screening before they can legally work as aged care workers.
4. Steps To Become an Aged Care Worker In Australia
To secure a job as an Aged Care worker in Australia, you must complete training in individual support and fulfil minimum education requirements, including training.
Step 1: Study Aged Care
Complete a VET Qualification in Ageing Support or Individual Support.
The certificates below provide a decent overview of aged care and the legal and moral protocols you must follow when assisting the elderly.
Complete a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home & Community)
Certificate IV in Ageing Support at a TAFE or Nationally Accredited Training Organisation.
Step 2: Enrol In an Apprenticeship at an Aged Care Center
You will work under the supervision of senior Aged Care Workers. When working with Seniors and Aged Care workers, you gain industrial exposure that will add weight to your resume.
Also, complete a first-aid certificate proofing your capability to administer basic first aid in emergencies.
Provide an aged care worker vaccine certificate. On 28 June 2021, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee made it mandatory for all residential care workers to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination certificate to their employers.
5. Personal Requirements Of An Aged Care Worker In Australia
Australian employers generally look for the following traits that make one ideal for this role:
A caring and supportive attitude
Excellent verbal communication skills
Understanding and considerate
Empathetic towards old/disabled
A strong desire to take care of others
Good listening skills
Attention to detail
Commitment to enable the elderly to live life with dignity
Team player skills
Able to handle the physical demands of this job
Proficiency in performing domestic duties
Time and people management skills
Able to effectively engage with the family of the client or resident
6. List of Aged Care Courses And Certification Programs
Certification courses in aged care develop practical skills and knowledge to deliver outstanding care to elderly clients.
The knowledge you gain from these courses helps empower and support the vulnerable population of our community. Qualified students get the necessary skills and career confidence to positively impact people's lives by working as aged care nurses or nursing support workers.
Below is a list of nationally recognized aged care worker courses delivered via face-to-face, on-campus, or online learning.
Certificate IV In Ageing Support - TAFE NSW
Certificate IV in Ageing Support - TAFE QLD
Certificate in Aged and Disability Services – TAFE Government of South Australia
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) – TAFE Gippsland
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) - TAFE North Metropolitan
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) - South Regional TAFE Western Australia
Short Courses in Aged Care
Short courses are also available and provide valuable entry-level knowledge for an aspiring aged care worker, including:
7. Aged Care Worker Rights And Responsibilities In Australia
Aged Care Workers engage in activities aiming to improve older people's emotional, physical, and social well-being. They perform various tasks to ensure the elderly remain happy, supported, and connected.
Here is a comprehensive list of Aged Care Worker rights in Australia:
To provide quality care per their needs
To obtain full knowledge about their medical condition and available treatments
To get treated with respect and dignity
To maintain your privacy
To live in a safe and homelike environment
To live without being victimized or discriminated
To move without any restrictions within and outside the residential care service
To live with respect and as per your preferences
To continue your religious and cultural practices
To maintain social relationships (friendships and associations) with anyone without fear, constraint, or condemnation
To speak freely without feeling scared and controlled
To decisions your independence
To form your own decisions regarding your aspects, finances, and possessions
To access services and activities in the community
To know about your rights
To complain and take measures for the resolution of disputes
To seek the assistance of advocates and other ways of grievance resolution
Here Is a Comprehensive List of Aged Care Worker Duties In Australia:
Cook and feed food and drinks
Follow health, hygiene, and safety guidelines.
Tidying, sanitizing and cleaning activities
Discuss observations and updates with family members and health professionals to implement a support program.
Help with mobility and mild physiotherapy exercises.
Escort them to outings such as cafes, trips, and shops
Implement care programs when working in a residential setting
Provide in-home support with disabilities, and daily household work, including showering, dressing, walking, cooking, serving meals, vacuuming and cleaning, washing clothes and utensils, ironing clothes, administering medications, and accompanying shopping.
Perform activities to support the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of the aged person
Provide companionship and emotional support throughout the day
Implement relevant strategies to manage dementia and other related issues
8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How To Get A Job In Aged Care With No Experience?
Complete a Certificate III in Individual Support/Disability. You can continue afterwards with a Certificate IV in Aged Care/ Disability Certificate course to get entry-level exposure in the aged care sector. The course teaches how to serve older adults with complex needs and medication.
You learn legal and ethical ways to work and use medical terminologies to communicate the requirements of the patients. Graduating with a nationally recognized and government-accredited qualification boosts your employability.
Online aged care courses allow you to study at your pace and preference in terms of time and place.
What Careers Involve Aged Care?
Those who qualify as aged care workers can work in the following job roles:
Aged Care Worker
This professional provides residential care to elderly clients.
You will prepare a personalized care plan based on their needs and assist them with their daily needs.
A Residential Support Worker
These professionals are employed in group homes, aged care homes, and residential care centres. They help older people with daily tasks and provide companionship to keep them engaged.
They assist older people across various places, such as nursing facilities, group homes, and day programs.
A community support worker also assists disabled people and encourages them to participate in community service programs to support them with recuperation needs or mental/physical development.
These professionals assist other health professionals, like registered nurses and doctors, in medical environments, including assisted living facilities, residential aged care, and hospitals, to deliver the best health care and services to residents.
In addition to it, they also perform a few more tasks, such as administering medicine and reporting on residents' health.
Registered Aged care nurses are at the top position within an aged care facility. They work in hospitals, medical clinics, and aged care centres.
An RN is highly experienced and possesses extensive knowledge in the area of clinical care. They are the ones who formulate health care plans and administer infection control, and medication management, for taking care of residents.
What Are The Working Conditions For an Aged Care Worker In Australia?
Aged care workers generally work in a residential setting, day therapy centres, homes, clinics, private residences, special dementia care units, hospitals, group homes, and community institutions.
An average full-time aged care worker works 43 hours a week.
Besides their usual working hours, they may even have to work in the evenings and on public holidays and weekends.
They mainly provide 24/7 personal care supervision, nursing, personal care, event participation, and support to aged people. This also includes companionship and management of their disability and illness.
The average age of workers in this sector is 45 years. More than 25% of workers fall within the age bracket of 45 to 54 years, and only 5% are above 65 years old.
Around 42.6% of the aged care workforce possess a Certificate III/IV. About 3.5% hold a Post Graduate degree or a Graduate Diploma.
A large chunk of workers of nearly 80% of the working population in this sector comprises women.
Around 52% of Australians over 65 years choose in-home care. At the same time, the remaining people prefer a residential aged care home.
What Are The Differences Between In-Home and Residential Aged Care Facilities?
An aged care worker in a residential facility is responsible for offering superior personal care and regular and uninterrupted access to medical services, nursing, event participation, and community building.
Those employed as in-home carers have to work with the patient one-to-one. Their duties comprise taking the best care of the client's personal, domestic, travelling, and budgeting needs.
This includes cooking, cleaning, shopping, exercising, and discussing their health status with the client's family.
Can I work in Aged Care Without A Certificate In Australia?
Yes. You can work only for a limited set of jobs that do not require official accreditation. Also, if you do not possess the appropriate qualification, it could even restrict your progression in your career.
Successful completion of the course makes a student eligible to pursue several roles in a broad range of professional disability services, which includes respite centres and group homes. It will only be possible to work with certification.
The job of an aged care worker is gratifying and an intelligent career option regarding job security.
The profession comes with abundant opportunities and rewards that lead to a satisfying career.
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