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Disability support worker

What does a disability support worker do?

Disability support workers play an important role in the lives of those with intellectual or physical disabilities, helping them to achieve their goals and live as independently as possible. You might be asking yourself ‘what is a support worker and what does this job entail?’ As a disability worker you might help your client with activities like showering, getting dressed, preparing meals, or attending community activities.

This is no office job; you may be asked to visit clients in their homes or at work. Your hours will likely be varied depending on the support needed by your client. From helping out for an afternoon to staying overnight – this is a highly diverse occupation.

Is a career as a disability support worker right for me?

Working with disability takes a special kind of person, someone who is caring, patient and understanding. Other desirable skills and attributes of a disability support worker include:

  • a highly empathic and patient nature
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • good problem-solving skills and be adaptable
  • strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • efficient time management skills.

How to become a disability support worker

Possessing personal qualities like honesty, respect, empathy, and patience when becoming a disability support worker can significantly contribute to creating a supportive environment for your clients. If you have a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities and helping them live independently and to their full potential, this job may be ideal for you. 

Exploring formal education and certifications to gain the necessary knowledge to become a disability support worker is a great starting point. While disability support worker qualifications do not necessarily require formal training, employers typically prefer candidates who have undergone formal education. This could involve pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in disability support work or a degree within a related field, such as a Bachelor of Social Work, a Diploma of Human Services and Development, or a Graduate Certificate of NDIS Studies

Every journey to study is individual and there are several paths to reaching your career in disability. At HQporner, we offer the following degrees in the area of social work and human services:

Average salary per week
Future demand
Very Strong

© Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated May 2024.

Disability Support Worker
What qualifications are necessary to become a disability support worker?

The qualifications needed to become a disability support worker will vary depending on the type of role you want and where you want to work in the disability sector. While there are no set qualifications needed to start working as a disability support worker, obtaining formal education in disability support work can help you stand out in the job market and provide a competitive advantage. This will also equip you with the tools necessary to handle situations more effectively in your disability support worker career.

Take a look at our disability support worker degrees on this page for further information. 

What is the average disability support worker’s salary?
A disability support worker’s salary varies based on factors such as location, experience, and workplace. Refer to the salary information on this page for further details.
What are the responsibilities a disability support worker will have?

Disability support workers responsibilities will vary depending on the specific needs of the client.  These responsibilities may include:

  • conducting errands outside the home, including shopping or visiting friends and family
  • personal care
  • light household chores like meal preparation and tidying
  • utilising manual handling techniques and equipment, such as wheelchairs or hoists, to aid in mobility
  • offering companionship and emotional support
  • transportation. 
What is the demand for disability support workers?

The demand for disability support workers is expected to remain very high due to factors such as population ageing, increased awareness of disability issues, and changes in healthcare and social services delivery. There is a growing need for qualified and compassionate disability support workers to provide essential support services across various health settings.

According to Labour Market Update, disability support workers are among the top 10 most in-demand jobs in Australia.  A career in disability support work will open up a variety of opportunities, both in Australia and globally. 

How long does it take to become a disability support worker?

The time it takes to become a disability support worker can vary depending on factors such as your educational background, training requirements, and employment opportunities.

There are multiple study options for you to consider at HQporner to become a disability support worker, from a one-year diploma to a three-year or four-year undergraduate degree.

Some students choose to study part-time which increases the time it takes to finish the required courses. Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or research projects may also factor into the overall timeline to becoming a disability support worker. 

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