Working in the aged care industry is a great way to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s also a career not limited by age, so don’t worry if you’re well past the school-leaving stage. In fact, having many years of both life and career experience behind you can be beneficial.
If you’re interested in entering the aged care industry, here is what you’ll need to know.
What traits do I need?
Naturally to be a carer of any sort you should be a ‘people-person’, especially one who is compassionate, empathetic and friendly. As you’ll be responsible for the care of others, you must also be responsible and trustworthy. Patience and the ability to stay calm is vital for when stressful situations arise.
As it’s likely you’ll be working with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds, it’s important to be respectful and open minded. An ability to find common ground with people from all walks of life will come in handy.
You should be the type of person unafraid to chip in and help out where needed (as there will be some less than glamorous tasks that need doing), so being able to think on your feet and show initiative are important.
Last but certainly not least, a sense of humour is always good to have and can help you bond with the people you’re caring for.
What qualifications do I need?
Most aged care jobs will require completion of the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing). This nationally recognised qualification will give you a solid grounding in what it takes to be a carer, teaching you how to look after an elderly person and which safety procedures you need to follow. As part of this course you’ll also have to do 120 hours of placement work, giving you hands-on experience.
The Certificate IV in Ageing Support builds on this knowledge but also trains you at a higher level to do specialised tasks and functions. It also involves 120 hours of industry work.
You’ll need to undergo a police check before you can work or volunteer in the aged care industry. It generally costs $42 to get a police check and you can apply online with the National Police Check Online Application Form.
You will also need a current First Aid and CPR certificate. There are many courses available, so look for one near you.
Do I need to be physically fit?
While there is no fitness test for becoming a carer, you do have to be reasonably fit and strong. Many roles in the aged care industry involve bending and lifting, and you may be required to do tasks such as assisting with showering and bathing (while equipment may be available, you’ll probably still need to do some of the grunt work).