Aged or Disabilities Carer

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Future job growth is expected to be very strong over the next five years.
Median weekly earnings: $1,265
An Aged or Disabilities Carer provides professional and attentive care to the elderly or to those with disabilities. This can be a rewarding and challenging occupation with carers feeling a sense of accomplishment that they have helped someone in a meaningful way.

There are currently around 177,200 persons employed in this occupation. Employment is largely part-time and most work in health care and social assistance; public administration and safety; and administrative and support services. Most persons in this occupation are female and 80% of workers are female.
  • Being able to go about our daily activities with ease is something that most of us take for granted. We have been eating, drinking, sleeping, talking and walking without thought for as long as we can remember. However, some people, as a result of old age or disability, need help with these daily activities. Fortunately, for those who do need a helping hand, there are professional caregivers to assist.

    Aged and disability carers assist people who are unable to care for themselves and/or their families because of sickness, disability or old age. They undertake domestic duties, arrange social activities and shopping trips, and accompany people on outings and provide companionship, friendship and emotional support.

    Helping and Community Services

  • It is recommended that you obtain the available qualifications to give yourself the best possible chance of gaining employment. TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) and Certificate III in Individual Support (Home and Community).

    Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in Disability with the Certificate IV in Disability/Bachelor of Disability and Development Education.

    Traineeships are available in this occupation; for further information go to the Traineeship and Apprenticeship Services website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • Factors such as an ageing population have led to an increase in the number of employment opportunities for aged and disabilities carers. People are also becoming increasingly aware of the range of care services that are available. While in the past the elderly were often cared for by their families, this too is changing. Due to work or other commitments, there is often no one at home to undertake a full-time carer's role, creating a further increase in the demand for carers. These trends are expected to continue, although the large numbers in training may make the job market quite competitive.

    Some carers progress on to careers in nursing, rehabilitation or social work.

  • Carers provide support services to elderly people or to those with disabilities. This can be in their clients' homes, at community service establishments or in nursing homes. Their duties vary from client to client. They may be required to provide assistance with personal care duties such as showering or dressing, and they may also assist with general household duties, such as washing and shopping, especially for clients who live independently. Some carers may take their clients on outings if they have difficulty moving around without assistance.

    In addition to the practical assistance that professional carers provide, the simple gift of companionship, whether it is having a chat or enjoying a cup of tea with their client, is often just as important to an aged or disabled person.

  • Carers may work in private homes and community establishments. They may be required to work evenings, weekends and public holidays and may be required to live-in. Care workers must have a supportive and caring attitude and demonstrate a respect for the rights of others. They must be able to perform domestic duties efficiently, have the adaptability to work in different environments under limited supervision and also have good communication skills.

    Care workers also need to be physically fit as there is a large manual component to the occupation from personal care and domestic duties.

  • This occupation requires people with a caring and supportive attitude towards people suffering from difficult circumstances. Patience and good decision-making are also useful traits for a prospective carer to have, as aged or disabled clients may need assistance in performing a range of activities. It also requires dedication as you may have to work in the evening, on weekends and public holidays or on a live-in basis. Organisations which employ aged or disabilities carers can arrange for a carer to be in someone's home on an hourly, daily, overnight or continuous basis. Clients who have just undergone an operation may feel more at ease if they know that a carer actually lives in their home and can assist them whenever a situation arises.

    Kathy from Home Care Service has been an aged and disabilities care worker for four years. She has cared mostly for aged clients, and occasionally for young children with a disability. While she has had to deal with some demanding situations, she says that it is an occupation she finds very rewarding. 'I love it, partly because it is very challenging. Some people are more difficult than others and sometimes I ask myself why am I doing this? But helping people who are often just plain frustrated because they need help with things they were once able to do for themselves, is what makes it rewarding'.

    For further information, contact:

    Health Services Union of Australia (SA)
    Phone: (08) 8279 2255

    Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council Ltd (National)
    Phone: (02) 8226 6600

    Health Services Union of Australia (National)
    Suite 1 Level 3, 377 Susses Street, Sydney NSW 2000
    Ph: (02) 8203 6066
    Fax: (02) 8203 6060