Qualifications and Requirements to Be an Aged Care Worker

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 July 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.

There are various roles for a professional to pursue in the aged care industry, and each role might require certain qualifications. The qualifications and requirements for specific aged care workers ensure they can provide a certain level of care. Understanding the qualifications and requirements to be an aged care worker can help determine your career path in the industry. In this article, we list aged care qualifications with careers they might lead to, discuss some additional requirements of an aged care worker and provide some common skills for an aged care worker.

Qualifications and requirements to be an aged care worker

The qualifications and requirements to be an aged care worker vary depending on your career goals. Factors contributing to the variance in requirements include the level of employment you're aspiring to and the area of aged care you're pursuing. Here are some common qualifications and the positions they might lead to in aged care:

Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)

This course aims to teach students about the human body and how to support its healthy functioning. It focuses on helping students learn about providing individualised care plans, communicating with aged clients, working ethically and legally and practising safe work practices. It might also help its students learn to support clients with dementia and comply with infection control while supporting the client's independence and wellbeing.

This course might be a requirement for aged care careers such as:

  • assistant in aged nursing

  • aged care worker

  • community care worker

  • home care assistant/worker

  • residential support worker

  • respite care worker

  • food services worker

Related: Working in Aged Care: Jobs, Duties, Salaries and FAQs

Certificate IV in Ageing Support

A Certificate IV in Ageing Support aims to teach students to provide quality, individualised services to aged care clients. It can help students learn to create, review and adapt these individualised plans. It also covers some soft leadership skills, providing the ability to support colleagues. Some units in this course can include facilitating the interests, rights and empowerment of elderly clients, coordinating services that support independence and wellbeing, identifying older adults at risk and implementing interventions, creating and maintaining relationships and providing support for diverse patients.

This course might be a requirement for aged care careers, including:

  • aged care activity worker

  • care service team leader

  • personal care support worker

  • community program coordinator

  • care supervisor

  • residential care officer

Related: How to Get a Job in Aged Care with No Prior Experience

Diploma of Nursing

This diploma can teach students the required skills to work as nurses in an aged care facility. Students aspiring to work in aged care can learn to care for an elderly person with complex needs, communicate with elderly clients, monitor and evaluate nursing care plans, manage wounds and work legally and ethically. This course covers aspects of anatomy and physiology, medication administration and infection control. You can register as an enrolled nurse if you complete this course.

This course might be a requirement for aged care careers such as:

  • aged care nurse

  • rehabilitation nurse in an aged care setting

  • mental health nurse in an aged care setting

Related: Tertiary Qualification: Options for Study after High School

Bachelor of Nursing

A Bachelor of Nursing is necessary to become a registered nurse. Registered nurses have comprehensive education to provide clinical care in an aged care facility. This degree takes longer to complete than other certificates, typically three years, but provides the opportunity to work at the highest nurse level in an aged care facility.

A bachelor of nursing teaches its students how to provide the elderly with clinical care. It also helps them learn to think creatively and logically while being a reflective and honest aged care worker. Students also learn effective communication and leadership skills. This course might be a requirement for a person who aspires to work as a registered nurse in aged care facilities, such as in:

  • a nursing home

  • residential/home care

  • respite care

  • an assisted living facility

  • a retirement village

Related: Skills to Learn at University (And How to Improve Them)

Additional requirements for an aged care worker

There are likely to be some requirements that are additional to the specific qualifications for an aged care worker. These might change depending on your location, but many are conditions for aged care workers nationally. Here are some requirements that you might expect when applying for an aged care position:

Criminal history check

A criminal history check discloses any details on previous convictions and confirms no prior convictions to the employer. A potential employer often uses criminal history checks in the recruitment process for aged care workers. It helps them understand your background and allows them to make an informed and relevant judgment. A criminal history check can help a recruiting manager ensure they're protecting the safety of the elderly people within the aged care facility.

There are different types of criminal history checks, including state and national checks. When applying for positions, it can be beneficial to ensure you pay close attention to which history check the recruiting manager is requesting. Ensuring you get the correct one can display your attention to detail and the ability to follow instructions.

Related: What Is a Background Check? What Employers Look for and How to Prepare

Annual influenza vaccination

Keeping your influenza vaccination up to date is often necessary for aged care workers. This is typically a mandatory annual vaccination dose, and people often get their dose between autumn and the beginning of winter. This requirement is because when you're working with elderly clients, they might be more at risk of contracting the influenza virus. An elderly person might also be more likely to experience complications from certain viruses. Consequently, this requirement is a measure to keep elderly residents safe and healthy.

Related: 15 Important Jobs That Help People

COVID-19 vaccinations

It's necessary for aged care workers to be current with their COVID-19 vaccinations schedule. This includes getting boosters when necessary. The Australian Government Department of Health confirms that vaccination became mandatory for residential aged care workers on 17 September 2021. Shortly after, it became a mandatory condition for in-home and community aged care workers. This mandate protects elderly clients because they might be more likely to become unwell from the virus and have additional complications.

Related: COVID-19 and Your Job: Tips and Actions to Consider

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) workers check

The NDIS workers' check determines if a person is suitable to work in the aged care facility they're applying to. It recognises if the person has experienced exclusion or clearance in working in certain facilities. Some details it might include are previous employment details or incidents within the workplace.

This check ensures each aged care service maintains a safe and caring environment for its clients. It helps a recruiting manager assess the potential degree of risk for a new employee and make an informed decision about the most suitable candidate for the position.

Related: Cover Letter for Aged Care Jobs (With Template and Examples)

Updated first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Many of the qualifications for an aged care position include first aid and a CPR certification. Once you have these certificates, it's necessary to update them frequently and ensure your knowledge is current. It's often necessary to update your first aid certificate every three years and your CPR certificate every year. Once you've already obtained these certificates, many training companies allow a simple refresher course rather than repeatedly completing the entire course.

Related: Aged Care Worker Resume Sample and Template (With a Guide)

Skills required for an aged care worker

Requirements for an aged care worker often include specific soft skills. When pursuing an aged care career, you might consider whether you have these skills. These skills can help you offer a high level of care and consequently aid you in achieving your aged care worker career goals. You can engage in individual and group activities to develop and improve these skills where necessary. Here's a list of some relevant skills:

  • patience

  • dedication

  • respect

  • communication

  • empathy

  • adaptability

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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