Do you want to make a difference in the lives of those in need? Are you a compassionate, caring individual with strong communication skills and a knack for staying organised? If this sounds like you, a role as a personal carer could be the perfect way to start a rewarding career in one of Australia’s most in-demand industries.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What is a personal carer, what does personal care entail, and, most importantly, how do you become a care worker?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions in-depth and show you how to get started with an accredited personal carer training program today.
What is a personal carer?
Personal care work is all about providing holistic support to those in need so that they can live comfortably and independently within their own home.
A personal carer typically assists chronically ill, disabled or elderly clients with daily living. Most carers specialise in aged care or disability care, though other options are available.
While helping with day-to-day tasks is a core aspect of the role, personal care is more than just physical assistance. Many personal carers also provide psychological, social and emotional support to their clients.
A qualified personal carer will adapt their support strategy based on their client’s needs and will strive to build quality personal relationships to facilitate empowerment and support wellbeing.
What are the core responsibilities of a personal care worker?
Personal care work is in demand across Australia – there are enormous opportunities for those looking to get involved. That said, having the right expectations and understanding of what the job entails is crucial. Let’s look in more detail at some critical responsibilities of personal carers.
- Daily living support: Personal carers routinely need to assist clients with the different parts of their everyday life, including eating, drinking, maintaining personal hygiene and dressing.
- Meal preparation: You may be required to plan, prepare and serve meals, taking into consideration your client’s dietary needs to ensure they have access to nutritious food.
- Assist with household duties: As a personal carer, you’ll help with household tasks such as cleaning, shopping, washing and organisation.
- Administering medication: Personal carers may need to administer medications to the client according to a prescription. Organisation and documentation are essential to ensure you provide the correct dosage on time.
- Providing emotional support: Personal carers must show empathy and compassion to their clients, actively listening to concerns and offering a sympathetic ear to help clients work through their emotions.
- Empowering clients: In your role, you should also facilitate the empowerment of clients by helping them to socialise, complete independent tasks, and participate in community events. You will also help clients pursue their hobbies and interests.
- Transporting: You may also be required to transport clients to and from appointments, social events, or therapy sessions. During this time, you’ll need to ensure the client is safe and content with their experience.
- Crisis intervention: As a personal carer, you must recognise and respond to physical and mental health risks quickly, calmly, and effectively. As part of your training, you may complete a dedicated first-aid module to attain a first-aid certificate.
Six steps to become a personal carer
Now that we’ve explored the different responsibilities expected of you as a personal carer let’s dive into how you can become one.
1) Assess whether a career as a personal carer is right for you.
Before embarking on a personal care career path, consider whether this career is right for you.
A personal care worker needs to be confident, communicative, and compassionate. Your goal is to build long-lasting, empowering relationships with your clients. A strong sense of empathy is a must – putting yourself in your client’s shoes and imagining how they may be feeling builds trust and informs best practices.
Organisation and time-management skills are essential. You need to be a reliable source of support, comfort and information to your clients. Being consistent with your care is the key to first-class support.
If you believe you possess all of these qualities and have a passion for helping those in need, gaining certification as a personal carer is an outstanding opportunity to build a rewarding career.
2) Complete a certification course.
A nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualification is the easiest, fastest way to start your career as a personal carer.
There are many types of VET qualifications, each with different levels of complexity. Most roles in the care industry require a relevant Certificate III as a minimum. Let’s look at three key courses that will set you on the path to success.
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing or Disability)
The Certificate III in Individual Support course is the essential, all-in-one pathway to an entry-level position as a personal carer. It will teach students everything they need to know about supporting diverse individuals with complex needs. Our Certificate III course also features several elective modules, allowing you to specialise in the areas of your choice.
Click here to find out more about our accredited Certificate III in Individual Support course.
Certificate IV in Ageing Support/Certificate IV in Disability
Certificate IV courses are more advanced than Certificate III courses, with a focus on complex knowledge and expertise. An Ageing Support or Disability Support course is a great way to hone in on your chosen specialisation, boosting your employability and making the transition to senior leadership roles easier.
Click here to learn about our accredited Certificate IV in Ageing Support Course.
Click here to learn about our accredited Certificate IV in Disability Support Course.
First aid certificate
While a first aid certificate is not mandatory to start your career, it will make you more attractive to employers. A first aid course will teach you how to assess and mitigate risks, handle emergencies, and perform life-saving CPR.
Click here to browse Sage’s range of accredited First Aid courses.
3) Hold a driver’s licence.
An unrestricted driver’s license is essential for any personal care worker because you must help clients travel. You may need to take them to appointments, go grocery shopping, pick up medication or transport your clients to and from social events.
4) Obtain a national police check.
Obtaining a national police check is an essential step toward becoming a personal carer. Check the requirements for your state and territory and fill out a form online to get started. Once you pass your background check, you can legally apply for personal care positions.
When you enrol with Sage, we will help you through the process of attaining your national police check.
5) Gain voluntary experience
While voluntary work isn’t essential, it is a great way to stand out when applying for jobs. Consider volunteering for your local healthcare and residential facilities. The more experience you have when applying for a job, the more experience you have, the easier it is to secure employment.
6) Find employment
Now that you’ve attained your certification, obtained all necessary licences, and built some experience, it’s time to start looking for work.
Job boards are an excellent way to find employers, but they can be tough to navigate, time-consuming, and disheartening, especially if you aren’t receiving responses.
At Sage, we’re committed to helping you find a career you’ll love. That’s why we help all of our graduates find work once they complete their training.
In fact, we help over 80% of graduates start relevant, rewarding careers within just ten weeks of finishing their training.
Want to learn more about our accredited courses and graduate employment scheme? Reach out today. A member of our team will be happy to help you find the right course path for you.