How to start a career in Disability Care

12th April 2021

Helping other people achieve their goals is always rewarding. If you think you’d like to be a part of supporting people with special needs, a career in Disability Care could be for you. Disability Care offers a wide range of opportunities from assisting people with everyday tasks to helping them be more involved in their community. You might support people with a disability in their own home or work with them in a residential facility. Disability Care workers might coordinate support programs for clients or assist allied health professionals to deliver their services.

Working in Disability Care requires patience and understanding. You’ll need to be able to communicate with people with a range of disabilities and be flexible with how you go about your duties. Depending on the needs of your clients you may have to perform physical tasks including lifting. Disability Care workers often work irregular hours and might work shifts at nights or on weekends. It’s important that you can liaise with other support providers as well as families and carers.

If you’re interested in a career in Disability Care, the following courses can help you get started:

Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)
A Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) will give you the practical skills you need to provide one-on-one support to clients with a disability. You’ll learn to assist them with daily living tasks such as cooking and cleaning or take them out into the community. You’ll also learn to support clients as they develop their skills or reach therapy goals. This course will show you how to support the physical needs of people with a disability, but also looks at the emotional and social needs of clients.

Certificate IV in Disability
A Certificate IV in Disability will prepare you for a range of careers in the disability care sector. You’ll learn how to deliver individual support to clients with varied needs. Whether you plan to work in a residential care facility, offer support to clients in their own home or deliver community service programs, this course will give you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you’ll need. You’ll also develop strategies to encourage empowerment of people with a disability and also for managing challenging behaviour.

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
A Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance gives you the skills and knowledge to help deliver allied health programs to people with a disability. You’ll be able to work as a therapy assistant where you’ll help clients to follow the programs of an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist. This course will show you how to use allied health programs to address problem areas or help people increase their skills or range of movement.

A Disability Care qualification could lead to a range of careers including the following job roles:

Disability Support Worker
A Disability Support Worker performs a range of roles to assist people with a disability. You might help clients to attend appointments or take them out into the community. You might support them while they undertake work or social activities or provide assistance with daily living tasks such as shopping, cleaning or cooking. Disability Support Workers liaise with family and caregivers as well as other health professionals to ensure clients are getting the support they need.

Residential Care Worker
A Residential Care Worker works with people with a disability who live in a residential care facility or who are staying in a respite centre. You’ll support residents with their everyday living tasks such as preparing food and cleaning or you might help with personal care such as dressing and showering. Residential Care Workers might organise social activities or accompany residents on visits into the community.

Diversional Therapist
A Diversional Therapist organises lifestyle activities for people with a disability. You might provide opportunities for social interactions or encourage clients to be involved in activities such as dancing, art or games. Diversional Therapists often work in a residential care facility, but you might also work with clients living in their own home. You might deliver group programs or organise activities in the community.


Getting started

If you’re interested in working in Disability Care, enrolling in a relevant course is the first step. It’s important you find the right course for your needs though, so make sure you collect information from a range of course providers. You’ll need to find out about course duration, costs, any prerequisites and the content the course will cover. There is usually some variation in how providers deliver their courses, so comparing information will help you work out the right course for you.

Written by Jodie Magrath
Jodie Magrath
Jodie is a freelance writer with a background in communication and journalism. She’s spent almost 20 years working in roles such as Special Projects Writer and Publications Officer.

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