Aged Care Support Worker

Becoming an Aged Care Support Worker for the Elderly in Australia

With an aging population, working as a support worker for the elderly in Australia presents a fantastic opportunity for people looking for new career opportunities. The main duty of support workers in elderly care is to enhance the quality of life and general well-being of elderly clients who need assistance in the twilight of their lives.

If you have a passion for helping others and are driven by making an impact on people’s daily lives, pursuing a career in this field could be an excellent choice for you. Let’s take a further look at why Australia’s care sector is currently booming.

Australia’s Elderly Care Industry

The elderly care sector in Australia is expanding rapidly resulting in a growing demand for support workers. The need for caregivers continues to rise with over 185,000 Australians using residential care services in 2022, according to the Aged Care Data Snapshot 2022/2023 released by the Australian Government.

The Australian Government recognised the importance of this industry by allocating $2.2 billion towards supporting care services in its 2024-2025 budget, as reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Before jumping right into starting a new career in the care sector, you should consider the specific criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to qualify for the role.

First and foremost, you’ll need to acquire the relevant qualifications and undergo training as well as pass a few background checks to become certified in this area. Let’s take a further look at the requirements.

Requirements and Training

In Australia, it is crucial to obtain a Certificate III, in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) or an equivalent certification in order to work as a care support worker.

This certification qualifies you to assist the elderly and provides thorough training on all aspects of the job such as caregiving, communication skills and safety procedures.
Numerous training institutions across Australia offer accredited courses designed to prepare aspiring care professionals with the skills and knowledge for their role.

These programs often include components like internships or volunteer opportunities to enable you to apply your learning in real-world settings and gain experience.

Before starting work as a care support worker there are a few further background checks you must fulfil to ensure the well-being of clients. These responsibilities include:

  • Undergoing a National Police Check to confirm any convictions.
  • Demonstrating financial stability by not being declared bankrupt.
  • Health assessment: The requirements for a health assessment vary depending on your employer and state regulations. You may need to provide evidence of vaccination for illnesses and undergo an assessment to verify your physical ability to perform job duties.

A Typical Day in the Life of a Support Worker in Elderly Care

Working as a caregiver, specifically for seniors, includes duties that are focused on improving the ease and quality of life of senior citizens. Here’s an overview of what a typical day in the life of an aged care support worker day entails;

  • Morning Schedule: Typically your day kicks off early by helping clients with their morning rituals like bathing, grooming, and personal hygiene.
  • Morning Nutrition: After the morning routine you’ll help clients with breakfast preparation, including aiding those who have challenges with eating and making sure each client has a meal to kick start their day. Meal times also serve as an opportunity for interaction and addressing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Morning Activities: During the day you will interact further with clients and involve them in a range of activities such as exercises, reading, games, or personal hobbies. Some clients may find value in sessions with physiotherapists while others may prefer engaging in puzzles or memory games for stimulation.
  • Lunchtime: During lunchtime and the afternoon you’ll assist clients with meal preparation and dining. After lunch, you’ll organise activities like exercise programs or outings to provide mental stimulation while fostering a sense of community among residents.
  • Afternoon: Throughout the afternoon, you will be responsible for tending to needs and providing support assisting with rest periods ensuring clients’ well-being, and offering comfort through companionship and reassurance.
  • Evening routine: During the evening routine, as the day winds down, your tasks will include aiding clients with other rituals such as meal assistance, personal hygiene care and preparing them for a good night’s sleep.

Accurate documentation plays a role in your job. So after clients go to sleep, a proportion of your time will be dedicated to recording any changes in clients’ conditions, documenting medication administration details and reporting any incidents or concerns promptly.

Effective communication within the healthcare team is key to maintaining continuity of care and keeping everyone informed about each client’s needs and progress, so an end-of-day team meeting is typical.

Career Opportunities and Growth

The field of care presents an array of avenues for career advancement. By obtaining training and certifications like a Certificate IV in Ageing Support or a Diploma in Aged Care individuals can progress into leadership positions such as team leader, care coordinator, or facility manager.

Continuous learning and professional development are highly encouraged within this sector to keep abreast of industry practices, advancements, and regulatory changes.

Employers often provide training initiatives and resources to pursue qualifications for career progression within the organisation.

What Wage Does an Aged Care Worker Make in Australia

Considering a career in aged care is commendable, especially if you have a passion for helping others.

However, it’s also important to consider the financial aspects of this career. Salaries in the aged care sector in Australia can vary based on responsibilities, qualifications, hours, and location.

According to the latest Fair Work Ombudsman pay guide, full-time aged care workers can expect to earn between $910.90 and $1,103.60 weekly. Pay rates can also increase for overtime ($35.96 – $43.56 per hour), public holidays ($59.93 – $72.60 per hour), and weekend overtime ($47.94 – $58.08 per hour).

Take a look at the projected weekly salary per classification below:

Classification Weekly salary ($)
Aged care employee level 1 $910.90
Aged care employee level 2 $947.00
Aged care employee level 3 $983.40
Aged care employee level 4 $995.00
Aged care employee level 5 $1,028.70
Aged care employee level 6 $1,084.10
Aged care employee level 7 $1,103.60

It is worth noting that wages can also differ slightly across states, here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

State Average hourly rate ($)
Australian Capital Territory $21.28
Queensland $23.89
New South Wales $23.92
South Australia $28.22
Tasmania $23.91
Victoria $25.28
Western Australia $24.31

Source: PayScale

These figures are approximate and do not necessarily include penalty rates, overtime, and bonuses. Your actual earnings could be higher depending on where and when you work.

Considerations for Salaries in Aged Care Support Worker Roles:

  1. Pay Variances: While slight differences exist across states, the average rates provide a useful benchmark for aged care workers in Australia.
  2. Shift Work: Working night shifts, weekends, and public holidays can significantly boost your pay.
  3. Starting Salary: Entering the field as a personal carer or support worker with the relevant qualifications typically starts at around $30 per hour.

In summary

Choosing to become a care support worker in Australia is a fulfiling career decision that allows you to have a direct impact on the lives of elderly individuals.

By acquiring the credentials and gaining hands-on experience, you can take the first steps on the path to beginning this highly rewarding career.

Given the rising demand for skilled workers in the eldercare field, there has never been a better time to consider pursuing this profession. Take the step today by looking into programs and practical training options available in your area.

To explore employment opportunities and network with employers in eldercare, download the hopstep app to kickstart your journey towards a fulfiling career in aged care.