How to Become a Residential Care Worker (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A care worker's role is increasingly vital in modern society. With the availability of residential facilities, residential care workers can take care of people who can't live independently or with their families. If you're passionate about taking care of the vulnerable in society, you might consider this career as an option. In this article, we show you how to become a residential care worker, outline their duties and skills and provide their average salary.

How to become a residential care worker

Discovering how to become a residential care worker can help you plan your career path. A residential care worker, also referred to as an out of home or resi-care worker, is a professional who provides therapeutic aid to clients. They monitor the physical and mental well-being of those under their care by supporting their living activities, personal growth and life skills. They can work in various residential facilities such as independent living centres, hospitals, boarding schools, family group homes and home-based care locations. Here are five steps to becoming a residential care worker:

1. Obtain a certificate

A Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention is the minimum qualification standard if you want to become a residential care worker. Additionally, it's mandatory for residential care workers to complete three units of competency, including:

  • CHCMHS007 - Work effectively in trauma-informed care: This unit describes the skills and knowledge that contributes to trauma care. It applies to individuals in the community services and health services sectors.

  • CHCCCS009 - Facilitate responsible behaviour: This unit offers skills and knowledge to monitor and respond to changes in behaviour. It discusses the current State and Commonwealth legislation about responsible behaviour in health care.

  • CHCPRT009 - Provide primary residential care: The unit describes the knowledge and skills you can use to provide care and support. It applies to all care workers in the community service field.

If you're an aged care residential worker, other qualifications may include a national police certificate and a first-aid certificate.

2. Gain residential care experience

Gaining fieldwork experience in residential care services may improve your chances of becoming a residential care worker. A great way to gain experience is by completing an internship with a residential care facility. You may also volunteer as a companion or a sitter in residential care facilities to gain experience.

3. Write a resume

Compile a resume for a residential care worker's position. Emphasise the skills and knowledge you gained during your internship or other experience. List all your certifications and other relevant documents to prove your competence in this position. In your resume, show your passion for working with the vulnerable in society and your career development plan.

4. Apply for a job in residential care

Start looking for job opportunities in residential care facilities. You may find work as an intern or a volunteer in these facilities. You can visit online job boards and check for matching adverts, and you may also write a letter of interest and send it to residential care facilities in your area.

It's important to establish connections with other people in the same fields during your internship or volunteer work. Socialising with people and creating a good rapport may also help you in your job search and might lead to invitations for an interview. Network connections may give you tips on applying for job opportunities and might share job opportunities with you.

5. Consider further education

You can consider getting a degree in community service, alcohol and other drugs addiction and misuse, community development, mental health, youth justice, behavioural sciences, human services or social work if you want to advance in your career. This can attract more responsibilities and higher salaries in some cases. It can also boost your skills and knowledge in this field.

Related: How to Become a Support Worker (with Qualifications and Skills)

Duties and responsibilities of a residential care worker

A residential care worker may perform several duties depending on the facility, including:

  • interviewing and assessing clients' physical and emotional stabilities to understand the extent of their challenges

  • consulting the client's family and healthcare professionals to establish a preferable care plan

  • helping clients with their daily tasks, such as dressing, washing, grooming, using the toilet and feeding

  • ensuring that clients follow behavioural rules set for them

  • teaching clients daily living skills such as budgeting and shopping

  • referring clients to appropriate residential facilities that can appropriately handle their challenges after reviewing their medical records

  • accompanying clients during their routine outdoor activities, including doctor appointments and leisure activities in a supportive environment

  • helping clients to establish positive social networks

  • providing physical and emotional support by helping clients get through challenging situations

  • monitoring clients' physical and mental well-being within a residential facility and documenting any changes

  • promoting community services by liaising with welfare agencies, community groups and private and public sectors who can address community issues

  • helping clients dealing with addictions to overcome them

  • providing complete support to encourage the development of individual interests

  • assisting clients in claiming benefits from governmental welfare programs

  • developing and implementing training, educational and support programs according to the clients' needs and plans

Related: What Does a Support Worker Do? (With Definition and Salary)

Qualities and skills of a residential care worker

The following are some qualities and skills that benefit residential care workers:


Residential facilities may look after people experiencing challenging situations. Caring for such people may take openness and warmth. Being friendly can make them feel happy and safe, which can help enhance the behavioural changes they make. Even something as simple as smiling at clients, especially those with serious health issues, can impact their mental and physical well-being.


You can show care for the people you work for by listening to and interacting with them kindly. Some people in residential care facilities face isolation that can negatively affect their physical and mental well-being. Caring may help you deliver the best service when interacting with such individuals.


As a residential care worker, you might encounter various clients with different needs. Sometimes they might require support beyond your normal working hours. Being flexible enables you to adjust to new situations and handle unique issues. Flexibility may also allow you to customise unique approaches to suit each client's challenges.


Excellent communication skills are important to any care worker. Some of your clients may be facing health issues that affect their interpersonal skills. Finding better ways of communicating with them can help you understand their challenges and help you find solutions.


Working as a residential care worker, you may encounter clients that wish to talk about their life experiences. Being sensitive helps you understand and analyse each client's sentiments. This may help build trust that can lead to a good working relationship.


Vulnerable people in a society depend on care workers' services. The clients you care for and their families may expect you to be responsible whenever needed. As a residential care worker, your clients depend on your support for everyday tasks and their survival. This may require you to be available and work diligently to the best of your abilities.


Confident residential care workers rely on their abilities. They can work alone without supervision and take the initiative to solve clients' issues. When patients or clients believe in your confidence, they easily trust your care measures and approaches. Clients may also be more relaxed when they realise they're being taken care of by a confident care worker.


Some of the clients you interact with may have had traumatic experiences. The role of a residential care worker may require you to understand them and show empathy. Having empathy for the experiences your clients and their loved ones have been through may help you provide comfort and enhance their recovery.


Your job as a care worker may involve caring for clients facing varied health challenges. You may establish a close relationship with them and remain positive to encourage them through their struggles. Being positive during difficult times and remaining strong may help your clients cope with difficult phases.


Residential care workers handle various activities each day. These may include visiting clients, recording their progress, organising external doctor visits and recruiting new clients. As a residential care worker, good organisational skills can help you plan and schedule your daily activities.

Related: Skills of a Support Worker: Definitions and Examples

Salary of a residential care worker

The national average salary of a residential care worker is $58,292 per year. This salary may vary depending on their location, duties and level of expertise. The salary may also vary depending on the position and employer. For example, a senior residential care worker may have a higher salary than a residential care officer.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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