Aged Care Career Pathways in 2020: What You Need to Know
Choosing to pursue a career in aged care creates an essential and meaningful change in your community and society as a whole. Though this line of work can be challenging and should be taken seriously, the special moments and benefits that come with it make every day well worth it.
To help you decide whether or not an aged care career path is right for you, we’ve collected vital information and data that you should know before choosing to pursue a job in Australia’s aged care industry. That includes the salary, responsibilities, the required education, and more.
Demand for Aged Care Workers
According to Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on the Future of Australia’s Aged Care Sector Workforce, one quarter of the Australian population will be 65+ years old by 2055. While an aging population puts pressure on the health care industry and younger generations will have to finance retirees, it also means that there will be strong demand for aged care services. The Department of Education projects that aged and disabled care jobs are going to increase by 69,200 jobs until 2023.
Aged Care Career Pathways
There is far more than just one career path in the aged care industry. There are many in-demand jobs that require people of different skill sets, schedules, and education backgrounds. By learning more about the various careers in the industry, you’ll be able to determine which ones accommodate your life and passions the best. For example, your career could consist of living with your client and providing around-the-clock care. It could also be as a nursing or personal care assistant, a multi-skilled carer, or as a specialist in short-term respite care.
Necessary Qualifications for an Aged Care Career
Employers in the aged care industry will have different requirements depending on the specific position they’re hiring for. So, it’s important to determine what kind of position you’re interested in before pursuing any educational programs.
A high school diploma is almost always necessary for a career in the aged care industry, but further education may be required for positions involving medical knowledge. This might take the form of a nursing degree or a bachelor’s degree, so long as that degree is directly related to the position. Whether you choose Tafe or Uni, both pathways offer excellent opportunities in this versatile field.
Thankfully, there are other ways of pursuing a career in this industry that don’t require an expensive four-year university program. Certificate programs are a suitable alternative for those interested in gaining hands-on experience from industry professionals in a way that is both more affordable and time efficient.
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)
Centacare offers a 19-week-long certificate program that will qualify you for various entry-level jobs in aged care. This includes work as a personal care assistant, a respite care worker, a community support worker, and much more.
The Certificate III in Individual Support provides people who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of the elderly an opportunity to learn important skills and to gain 120 hours of experience working at an aged care facility. This can contribute immensely to your employment opportunities as many employers require actual work experience in these facilities.
Aged Care Recruitment
A survey conducted by the Department of Education revealed that aged care employers predominantly rely on posting job ads on recruitment websites in order to find suitable aged care workers. Surprisingly, word of mouth is the second most popular recruitment method, followed by directly approaching possible candidates. 44% of employers also use Social Media to advertise vacancies.
Contrary to the belief that experience and qualifications are the most important factors for recruitment, the survey found that personal qualities matter most when hiring aged care workers.
Aged Care Worker Salary
Salaries for those working in the aged care industry will vary depending on a wide range of factors. This includes your education, seniority in your field, location, and your specific job position and responsibilities. However, the average hourly pay for an aged care worker in Australia is currently estimated to be $22.37 an hour. This amounts to an annual income of approximately $40,729 to $58,403. As stated above, your specific position and the skills required to perform your job will impact your wage, whether you specialise in in-home care, palliative care, or disability support.
Aged Care Worker Duties and Responsibilities
Aged care workers must be able to take on a potentially significant amount of duties and responsibilities to ensure their clients’ needs are being met. The quantity and complexity of these duties will be determined in accordance with the mobility level, physical health, and emotional needs of the client, along with other factors.
For example, if your elderly client is more in need of emotional support, your responsibilities will lie in providing companionship and friendship. This includes things like arranging social activities, participating in the client’s interests and hobbies, and simply being there for good conversation.
For clients with more limiting physical and/or mental health issues, your responsibilities may consist largely of ensuring their home is clean, well supplied, and free of hazards, along with grooming and transportation to and from appointments. The duties that fall under this type of aged care can include food preparation, vacuuming, washing dishes, and assistance in dressing and personal hygiene. This work can also be quite physical, depending on the client’s mobility. Many aged care workers are responsible for tasks such as lifting their clients and helping them to walk.
The needs of the client will also determine the frequency of care they require. Many aged care workers live with their clients, providing around-the-clock care. Other workers may stop by for a set amount of time every day or every few days to ensure the client is doing well and has everything they need. Your education, commitments, and lifestyle will affect which type of care you may be most suited to providing.
It’s also essential that every aged care worker is knowledgeable about their client’s conditions, both mentally and physically, as well as the signs of deterioration. Knowing when to reach out to your client’s family and/or when to seek medical assistance for them is critical. It can also be the difference between life and death for elderly people across the country. It’s for this reason that many employers require some form of post-secondary education for these positions.
Is a Career in Aged Care Right for You?
Working in the aged care industry will definitely come with its challenges, both physically and emotionally. However, the personal fulfilment, sense of purpose, and connections you’ll make along the way are simply priceless. After all, many of our own loved ones rely on these essential services to lead happy and healthy lives. Despite its challenges, any aged care worker you ask is likely to tell you that it’s worth it. For those of us who are dedicated to improving the quality of life of some of our most vulnerable Australians, the decision to pursue a career in aged care is a no-brainer.