A job as a disability support worker can be a rewarding and enriching career where you can make a real difference in people lives. With the workforce growing 10% annually it is also an occupation that’s in demand!
The following guide will help explain how to become a disability support worker, as well as provide a glimpse into the daily responsibilities and the career opportunities available to you.
While the industry does not currently require certifications to gain employment it is advisable to get some training to both help you secure a job and make sure you are prepared for the role.
There are two options when looking at getting qualified as a disability support worker:
This course will help prepare you to provide highly individualised personal care to your future clients.
The Certificate III combines practical components with the theory you need to work in a support facility or provide in-home care.
While you may be able to complete the training in as little as 14 weeks it generally takes 6 months to finish. During the course, you will undertake 120 hours of work experience in a home or community setting.
You may also get to choose some electives within the theoretical component to make the study more relevant to your interests and career preferences.
Depending on which state you live in you may also be entitled to subsidies for training so its worth exploring this option with your consultant.
This qualification is designed for those that already have experience within the disability support industry or have completed their Certificate III.
A Certificate IV in Disability provides a more in-depth and specialised theoretical study that prepares students for leadership or specialist roles in the disability support industry.
While a Certificate IV will normally take a year to complete, if you have significant experience or have completed a Certificate III, you be may be able to have some recognition of prior learning which can speed up your study.
As a disability support worker, you have the chance to make a significant difference in peoples lives.
Everyone’s experiences, capabilities and therefore needs are different, however, so this means that no two days or clients are the same.
You may be in the community assisting clients with errands or generally as a companion.
You may also be helping out at their home with household tasks like cooking or cleaning, or in a care facility with daily living activities.
You will also have to write clearly written reports of your day including any issues so that the family and other members of the care team are informed. This is also to ensure care is complying with regulatory requirements.
The most important skills to have as a disability support worker are:
A caring and empathetic nature.
Ability to clearly communicate.
Patience and understanding.
Ability to work as a team.
Able to handle the physical components of the job.
The majority of opportunities in the disability support sector are for those that provide individual care at home or in care facilities.
These positions are generally part-time or casual and offer a lot of flexibility for those wishing to achieve a great work/life balance.
For those that wish to develop further in their career there are many different routes you can take.
You could pursue a leadership role as a team leader managing a group of clients or a particular site. This path leads to other higher-level leadership roles just like in any other industry.
There are also plenty of jobs within the industry for administration roles such as in Finance and HR.
If you would like to grow your career but stay on the front line you could use your experience and knowledge and don’t mind some more study there are plenty of specialist roles that you could progress in from occupational therapy, creative therapies using art or music, or interpreting Auslan.
If you would like to go to university but stay in the industry there are plenty of opportunities for speech pathologists’ psychologists and physiotherapists too.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in Disability Support get in touch with our team to see how we can help you.