Ageing is a side-effect of life, and a side-effect of ageing is a decreasing ability to manage daily life. Aged care workers help the elderly by providing services that include anything from shopping and laundry to nursing and palliative care. Anyone can volunteer to do the shopping, but serious aged care requires more comprehensive study.
Aged care, like most healthcare services, is more of a calling than a job simply because it involves a lot of hard work that would make most people turn up their noses, like cleaning bed pans and feeding elderly people who can no longer manage basic tasks. You also need to consider that some people can be very cantankerous and stubborn, which means that they’re not always a joy to be around.
Popular Aged Care Courses
Before you even think of signing up for aged care courses it’s a good idea to visit some of the aged care facilities in your city, from private residential homes in Brisbane, Queensland to nursing facilities in public hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria. That way you can get a taste of what the job really entails.
TAFE courses in aged care are great, not only because of the high standards but also because they offer students the chance to enter traineeships and apprenticeships in the early stages so that, once again, they can get on-the-job experience before committing to study beyond Certificate III or IV level.
If you’re passionate about caring for the elderly and know that you can make a positive difference in the lives of Australia’s ageing population, then read on to find out what your study options are, from accredited online aged care courses in Sydney, NSW to advanced diplomas in Perth, WA and short courses for continuous professional development in Adelaide, SA.
Aged Care Study Path
Certificate III in Community Services
If you want to study aged care in Australia you have to start with Certificate II in Community Services. It starts with community services because very often aged care workers have to successfully integrate themselves into different communities and they need to be able to recognise needs and assets that the community provides. The course will help them assess community situations to better care for the aged within it. In any event, Certificate II Community Services courses typically focus on disability and aged care.
The course includes several compulsory and elective study units, including those that deal support for older people and working effectively with older people, which are especially for those who want to go into aged care. There is also a practical component, the duration of which varies depending on the course provider.
Certificate II Aged Care courses can take anywhere between three and six months to complete, although this will also depend on where students are completing the course (Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide), the course provider and whether they studying online or attending classes.
Certificate III in Aged Care
The next step is Certificate III in Aged Care. Before you register to study at any education and training institution you should ensure that the Aged Care Certificate IV is nationally accredited; the courses at many TAFE learning centres are recognised throughout Australia.
Certificate III in Aged Care contains theoretical and practical components to ensure that you are fully equipped to start working as a carer. Completion of the Cert III in Aged Care allows students to get jobs as care workers, care assistants, nurse assistants, personal care assistants and community support workers. They will have the option to work privately or for residential age care facilities.
Students who reach this level of aged care also need to be aware of certain legal requirements. For example, they will be subject to a National Criminal Record Check, in NSW students enrolled in aged care courses have to inform the Department of Health Screening Unit if they are charged with a criminal offence. Students must sign a CCYP Student Declaration form, which states that they not prohibited from working with children and young people, they must sign the Health Code of Conduct, undergo screening and vaccination for various infectious diseases and they must obtain manual handling and first aid certificates to prove they can manage all the heavy lifting and medical emergencies that aged care requires. Courses can take up to 18 months to complete, depending on the course provider and state in which it is being taken.
Certificate IV in Aged Care
Certificate IV in Aged Care builds upon Certificate III by providing students with more supervisory and management skills and teaching them how to work with special needs cases. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to coordinate and supervise programmes to help those working in aged care as well as the elderly who need care. After Certificate IV in Aged Care, employment opportunities will also include more medical responsibilities, especially with regards to illness, infection control, infirmity and age-related disabilities.
The legal requirements that applied to Certificate III in Aged Care also apply to those working in Certificate IV. Courses can take up to 18 months to complete, depending on the course provider and state in which it is being taken.
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