Are you looking for a career that involves helping people and bringing a genuine difference in their life? Do you want to dedicate your life to taking care of elderly people? Then a career as an aged care worker could be an appropriate career choice for you.
Elderly care workers are trained professionals that offer assistance to old 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 facility or their client’s home.
To qualify to work as an aged care worker you should either complete a Vocational Education Training in individual support or ageing support or undertake a traineeship. You must also possess a First Aid Certificate, aged care vaccine certificate, and a National Police Certificate.
If you are passionate about making a career in the health care services industry and want to know how to become an aged care worker in Australia, read this article. You will learn about the job profile, employment opportunities, salary, and ways to advance your career in the sector.
1. Who Is An Aged Care Worker?
Aged Care Workers are friendly, sympathetic, and a patient who relishes talking with old people and assisting them with their tasks.
They take complete care, and support of old people in residential establishments, private residences, clinics, and hospitals.
An aged care worker offers assistance in areas of personal care, illness management, and domestic duties of the aged people.
Moreover, these trained professionals also provide emotional support, and companionship so that 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 helping older Australians can be a highly 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 who possess the talent, skills, and professional background to provide hands-on assistance to elderly people who need support with their disabilities or domestic duties.
The number of job vacancies in this sector has almost doubled year on year with the number of aged care jobs more than workers in this sector.
An increasing number of employment opportunities makes it a reliable and safe profession for the following decade and beyond in Australia.
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 for future growth.
The beauty of this sector is that it provides flexibility to qualified and experienced aged care workers to work anywhere in Australia.
At present, around 50% of aged care workers are employed in full-time positions and the remaining 50% contribute to part-time work.
They can choose from plenty of areas in the healthcare industry such as hospitality, primary health, and associated health, human resource jobs, administration, or managerial roles.
Strong Job prospects
Presently, the country has reported that more than 1.2 million people have received ageing support in their homes or community.
The government studies show that there could be a huge shortage of aged care workers in Australia in the coming years.
By 2024, the career opportunities for Disabled and Aged Carers will be equivalent to around 179,000 job openings.
This shows that the sector has a very promising job outlook in the coming years.
To be useful for another person and positively impact their life brings immense personal satisfaction.
You feel motivated when you know that you are being an instrument to positively influence the community.
To be an aged care worker and become a support system for the elderly population when they need you the most is truly a heart-warming experience.
The job gives you opportunities to meet and interact with different kinds of people, listen to their emotional stories and experiences, attend community events/festivities with them, and become a part of their family. All of this makes the profession very gratifying and rewarding.
Good Earning Potential
If you are on the lookout for a noble profession in Australia where not just you get to serve people but also get a handsome salary in return, Aged Care could be the ideal career for you. This profession pays you well.
The average aged care worker 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 having 5 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.
Looking at the existing data of registered aged care workers, more than 60% of workers are in the range of 25 to 54 years. It is interesting to note that approx. 19.6% of workers are in the age band of 55 to 64 years.
This implies that recruitment and employment in this sector are not age-dependant. More than age, what matters is your passion to serve people unconditionally and the level of job-relevant experience and skills you have.
3. Aged Care Worker Rights And Responsibilities In Australia
Aged Care Workers engage in activities that aim to improve the emotional, physical, and social well-being of an elderly person. They perform a wide range of activities to ensure their elderly custodies remain happy, supported, and connected.
Here is a comprehensive list of Aged Care Worker rights in Australia:
To provide quality care in accordance with 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/or 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, accommodation, and care
To complain and take measures for 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:
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
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
4. Personal Requirements Of An Aged Care Worker In Australia
Do you want to know what are the desirable and most sought skills and attributes to be an aged care worker?
Australian employers generally look for the following specific 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
A strong sense of community
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
5. Qualification And Courses 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 gain knowledge and develop the necessary skills to get hired for this role.
Aspiring aged care workers must complete mandatory training for aged care workers. An in-person VET qualification in ageing support or individual support or online courses at registered training organizations or TAFE will help you qualify for this role.
Candidates should complete a Certificate III in Individual Support/Disability followed by a Certificate IV in Aged Care. These courses equip a student with the fundamental knowledge and practical exposure required to work in the aged care sector.
Successful completion of these nationally accredited courses will prepare a candidate to manage old people and provide proper aged care services effectively.
You can attend the above course either online or at the campus of TAFE or recognized universities in Australia.
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.
Once you get the work knowledge and skills, you need to provide four essential documents to work as an aged care worker in Australia.
A First Aid Certificate (to be updated every 3 years)
A medical assessment to ensure you are physically fit to work
An aged care worker vaccine certificate that confirms you are vaccinated with the double dose of COVID-19 vaccine
A certificate that confirms the applicant has taken a flu vaccination.
A valid driving license (to provide support and care within 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.
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 by undergoing the courses helps you empower and support a vulnerable population of our community. Qualified students get the necessary skills and career confidence to positively impact the lives of people by working as aged care nurses or nursing support workers.
Below is the list of nationally recognized aged care worker courses that deliver the course via face-to-face learning, on-campus learning, and online learning.
Nationally Recognised Training
On campus, Virtual classroom on campus, Combination, Virtual classroom off campus
Full Time, Part-Time
Certificate IV In Ageing Support - TAFE NSW
Nationally Recognised Training
On campus, Combination, Virtual classroom off-campus, Virtual classroom on campus,
Full Time, Part Time, Variable
Certificate IV in Ageing Support - TAFE QLD
Mode Of Delivery: Online
Certificate in Aged and Disability Services – TAFE Government of South Australia
Duration: Up to 6 months
Delivery Mode: Full Time or Part Time equivalent
Delivery Mode: Campus
Location: Barossa Valley, Berri, Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Port Pirie, Victor Harbor, Whyalla
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) – TAFE Gippsland
Course Type: Accredited Course; Free TAFE
Study Mode: On Campus
Duration: 6 months
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) - TAFE North Metropolitan
120 hours of supervised work placement
Fee: From 1 January 2021 through to 31 December 2025, candidates who are eligible for concession have to pay half the tuition fees capped at $1,200; or $400.
Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) - South Regional TAFE Western Australia
Fee: From 1 January 2020 through to 31 December 2025, candidates eligible for concession will pay 50% of the course fees, a maximum of $1,200; or $400 if you are 15 to 24 years of age
Location: Collie Campus, Bunbury, Albany, Harvey, Esperance, and Manjimup
Short Courses in Aged Care
Short courses are also available and provide valuable entry-level knowledge for an aspiring aged care worker, including:
7. Steps To Become an Aged Care Worker In Australia
If you are looking into how to become an aged care worker, or how to get into aged care, you need to get a qualification in this industry. By undertaking courses in aged care, it will help you to secure a job.
To secure a job as an Aged Care worker in Australia, you have to complete training in individual support and fulfill minimum education requirements or undergo a traineeship.
Step 1: Study Aged Care
Complete a VET Qualification in Ageing Support or Individual Support
The below certificates provide a decent overview of aged care, coupled with legal and moral protocols that you need to 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 for an apprenticeship at an aged care center
Where you will work under the supervision of professionals from senior Aged Care Workers. Volunteering with Seniors and Aged Care will give you the industrial exposure that will add weightage to your resume.
Also, complete a first-aid certificate that proves 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 has made it mandatory for all residential aged care workers to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination certificate to their employers.
The job of an aged care worker is not just incredibly rewarding but also a smart career option regarding job security.
The profession comes with abundant opportunities and rewards that lead to a satisfying career.
FAQ’s on becoming an Aged Care Worker in Australia
How to get a job in aged care with no experience?
Complete Certificate III in Individual Support/Disability followed by a Certificate IV in Aged Care/ Disability Certificate course in Aged Care to get an entry-level exposure in the aged care sector.
The course teaches how to serve elderly people 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 give you the flexibility to enroll and study as per your pace and preference in terms of time and place.
What careers involve aged care?
Those who qualify as aged care workers can work on the following job roles:
Aged care worker
This professional provides residential care to elderly clients.
Based on their needs, you will prepare a personalized care plan and assist them with their daily needs.
A residential support worker
These professionals are employed in group homes, aged care homes, and residential care centers. They help older people with daily tasks and provide companionship to keep them engaged.
Community support worker
They offer assistance to elderly people across an array of 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.
Assistant in nursing
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.
Aged care registered nurses are considered as the top position within an aged care facility. They are mostly employed in hospitals, medical clinics, and aged care centers.
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 areas like 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 centers, homes, clinics, private residences, special dementia care units, hospitals, group homes, and community institutions.
An average full-time aged care worker works for 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 are mostly involved in providing 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% of workers are above 65 years.
Around 42.6% of the aged care workforce possess a Certificate III/IV. Around 3.5% hold a Post Graduate degree or a Graduate Diploma.
A large chunk of workers of nearly 80% percent working population in this sector comprises women.
Around 52% of the Australian aged population that is above 65 years, opt for in-home care while 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 who is employed in a residential aged care facility is responsible for offering superior personal care and regular and uninterrupted access to medical services, nursing, event participation, and community building.
Those who are employed as in-home carers have to work with the patient on a one-to-one basis. Their duties comprise taking the best care of the personal, domestic, traveling, and budgeting needs of the client.
This includes cooking, cleaning, shopping, exercise, and discussing their health status with the client’s family members.
Can I work in aged care without a certificate in Australia?
Yes. You can work but only for a limited set of jobs that do not require official accreditation. Also, if you do not possess the appropriate qualification, then it could even restrict your progression in the 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 centers and group homes. It won’t be possible to work without certification.
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