Disability in Australia
Disability services refer to the care and assistance of anyone affected by a disability. Disabilities include any form of restriction, limitation or impairment that can interfere with everyday life. They can refer to physical, mental or any other issues that impact a person’s permanent state of well-being. There are an estimated 4.3 million Australians living with some reported form of disability, 1.4 million of whom are severely limited in cognitive function. One in every five Australian suffers from a disability, and one in every three households includes at least one person with a disability.
Most graduates will find job opportunities with organisations such as aged care homes, disability support agencies or private employment. While qualifications are required for many jobs, there is also a growing need for education when taking care of personal relationships such as elderly family members. Because there are many types of disability, there are many different options available beyond just primary care giving. Careers such as speech pathology, or a disability counsellor may be an option for graduates.
There are also opportunities for more administrative positions such as case manager and program coordinator available, ensuring that graduates of all levels of education will have many avenues available to pursue. Many of the positions are part time or contract based and thus are flexible for busy or otherwise occupied job seekers.
At the completion of a Disability Course, you’ll have the opportunity to find employment in the following roles:
- Care Coordinator
- Disability Coordinator
- Disability Support Worker
- Development Officer
- Disability Team Leader/ Supervisor
- Senior Personal Care Assistant
- Community Care Worker
- Residential Care Officer
Job Outlook for Aged and Disabled Carers
With an ageing population, and growing demand for aged care workers, and support workers, the industry remains highly important to the country. There are around 2.7 million Australian as a support workers’ who are caring for someone with a disability, the majority of them women. They make up 68% of all primary caregivers. There are also an additional 58,000 disability service instructors and 130,000 disability carers who are working throughout the country. The industry is well respected and has earned a reputation for hard workers and truly inspirational individuals.
- Job openings for this profession are expected to be high (greater than 50,000) over the next three years
- The median earnings per week (before tax) for an Aged and Disabled Carer is $898
- Most Aged and Disabled Carers are Females (81%)
- On average a full-time employee would work 35.1 hours
- 2% of employees in this profession have a Certificate III/IV to their name
- The median age for this occupation is 47 years
Due to the nature of disability care, there are many different methods of learning. This includes many disability courses online, as well as in-class courses in disability services that provide students with an enhanced understanding of the aged care and support worker professions.
If you’re looking to step into an entry-level role, or are already currently working in a professional or domestic setting with a person with a disability, you may consider gaining certification. These include courses such as a Certificate IV in Disability, or a Certificate III in Aged Care. Such courses teach you about a broad range of disabilities, and also how you can go about offering care and assistance. They also provide updated information regarding current laws and regulations surrounding the industry and offer a foundation of knowledge from which further study or more effective care can be gained.
A Diploma is the next step to making a career in disability services a fulfilling and long-lasting endeavour. There are both online courses designed to give you the theoretical knowledge, as well as contact courses featuring placement programs that will provide you with invaluable hands on experience. This is often highly sought after as it shows you have a proven track record with administering care. For example, a Diploma of Disability may provide technical knowledge on how to provide specialist services, utilise yourself as a resource for other workers, and coordinate work programs, but may also feature a short placement at a local nursing home designed to expand your understanding of how things are run in a real life organisation.
A Bachelor degree is the highest level of undergraduate study and is required for more specialised and demanding careers. These can include things such as program development, education and other multi-disciplinary skills drawing from science, business, humanities, and more. These offer an extensive insight into how the industry is run and governed, as well as advanced methods designed to improve the knowledge of disabilities into organisations. A Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education may provide you with career options such as services practitioner or disability educator and offers you the ability to assist disabled persons to fully integrate into society.
What Skills Are Needed To Work in Disability?
To be successful in a disability services career you must possess often hard to come by skills. These can include soft skills such as extreme patience, friendly manner even in difficult and challenging situations, as well as a genuine interest in the health and well-being of others. Sometimes workers can work long hours, with night shifts and weekend work being commonplace. Other roles require physical fitness and strength, and all require excellent communication skills. You must also be able to process and understand constantly changing laws and regulations as the industry and government seek to continually develop these.
If this sounds like you, or someone who you would like to be, stop thinking and start acting! Find your dream career now by searching our courses in disability studies to find the perfect fit for you.