Why You Should Consider a Career as a Disability Support Worker

Why You Should Consider a Career as a Disability Support Worker

Employment in a healthcare role is one of the fastest growing and meaningful options for anyone looking for work in today’s world. While some roles in healthcare require extensive schooling and training, there is a wide array of options at many levels for those looking to break into the healthcare field. 

If you are considering a new job or a career change, a career as a disability support worker is a worthwhile pursuit. Disability support workers work with people with disabilities, their loved ones, and the general community to improve the quality of life and lived experience of people with disabilities.

Regardless of whether you are looking for work for the first time or you’re looking for a new career, roles in the healthcare field, and particularly being employed as a disability support worker, are exciting opportunities. Let’s examine what it means to be a disability support worker and how you can build a career doing this purposeful work. 

What does a disability support worker do?

As the name suggests, a disability support worker provides support to people with disabilities. In order to do so, they work in people’s homes, in specialised care settings, or sometimes in hospitals. They can provide support for a wide variety of people with disabilities, though they sometimes will work with just a single patient or a few patients.

The work of a disability support worker can involve a number of varied tasks. These tasks can be as varied as the day is long, though they will ultimately depend on the needs of the person with disabilities with whom they’re working. Some possibilities include providing companionship, assistance with daily errands or shopping, ensuring medications are taken appropriately, or arranging transportation. They may also provide support with day-to-day living activities such as bathing, eating, and grooming, as well as household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. 

Just as disability support workers can work in several settings, they can also work different schedules that suit their own preferences or needs. There are opportunities to work in short term and long term roles as well as on a part time or full time schedule depending on the nature and place of their employment. 

What are the qualifications to become a disability support worker?

Since disability support workers perform a wide variety of tasks, the most important attributes a person can have who wants to work in this field are flexibility and adaptability. Similarly, as they work with people who have specialised needs, they require patience and empathy.

In terms of the experience required to become a disability support worker, a background in customer service or experience looking after other people can be helpful, though is not absolutely necessary. People who have worked in other healthcare roles may also find it easier to transition into work as a disability support worker.

In Australia, there are no specified educational qualifications to be a disability support worker, meaning as long as you can perform the tasks required of the role, you can be a disability support worker. While there is no requirement for educational attainment or certification, there are several certifications available for people who would like to train to do different kinds of support work. Options include a Certificate III in Individual Support or a Certificate IV in Disability, both of which may help an individual prepare for a career in disability support work. These certifications do require committing time and resources to complete, but they can increase your employability, as well as potentially commanding a higher salary.

How much do disability support workers earn?

The average salary for disability support workers in Australia is $1265 per week. As there are different levels of disability support work depending on an individual’s experience and qualifications, the salary range can be higher or lower, but the average is a useful guide for roughly how much a person can expect to earn.

Is a disability support worker a good job?

There are more than 4 million people in Australia living with a long-term disability. Approximately one-third of these have disabilities that are considered severe, requiring them to have support in an in-home, hospital, or specialised care setting. The job of supporting people with disabilities frequently falls to disability support workers in any or all of these settings. With an aging population, Australia expects to see continued growth in disability support care for a long time to come. 

With job security and increasing demand for support workers, a role as a disability support worker is definitely a good job. With the option to work as many or few hours as you’d like, the position offers flexibility. At the same time, the work can be very fulfilling as the work you do directly contributes to another person’s improved quality of life. 

What companies do disability support workers work for?

Disability support workers can work for many different types of organisations. Most commonly, a person in a disability support worker role will work for a specialised care organisation such as Maple Community Services. Within Maple, there are multiple roles at different levels and working with people from all walks of life. Other settings for disability support workers include being employed privately by an individual who has support needs or their loved ones or in a hospital or other acute-care facility.