Skip to main content Facebook Twitter
Find an aged care home for you!  
On 1300 606 781

How to become an aged care worker

The industry needs more staff, is paying considerably more than before and the emotional reward is a big draw. Keen to get started?

Have you ever thought about joining the workforce? There’s never been a better time. [Source: Shutterstock]

Have you ever thought about joining the workforce? There’s never been a better time. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is funding the Fair Work Commission’s decision on the Aged Care Work Value case of a 15 percent increase to award wages for some staff, enticing new recruits
  • There are currently no minimum standard qualifications for entry-level care workers, although some organisations and roles will require a formal qualification
  • Training opportunities for new aged care workers include fee-free Technical and Further Education, also known as ‘TAFE’ and subsidised places


The Australian aged care sector is set to grow over the next 40 years, as per the Intergenerational Report 2023, with residential and home care providers set to hire more staff to accommodate the ageing population.


As such, the Fair Work Commission has decided to award a 15 percent increase to the wages of:

  • registered nurses
  • enrolled nurses
  • assistants in nursing
  • personal care workers and home care workers
  • head chefs and cooks
  • recreational activities officers


Suppose you’re thinking about entering into the aged care industry and forging a career for yourself. In that case, it may be worth considering the different requirements, training opportunities and screening checks you will need.

This edition of Aged Care Guide covers the different roles, responsibilities and pathways that come with entering the workforce, which is welcoming of both Australian citizens and international applicants.

Entry-level care work

Entry-level aged care workers are new to the industry and only require screening checks to ensure that they are trusted to work around older people. These will include a worker screening check, which requires a police background check. Your employer may arrange this for you before you start your job.

Different states and territories may have different checks depending on the nature of your entry-level aged care job, such as a Working With Vulnerable People check.

To work in residential aged care, you may be required to have an up-to-date COVID-19 and/or influenza vaccination.

As per the Aged Care Act of 1997, you will also need to be of sound mind, in control of your actions and must not have declared bankruptcy.

If you’re looking to further your abilities and move up in the industry, you will need to complete additional training as an aged care worker through TAFE to complete a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing).

Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) is obtainable through the fee-free TAFE initiative, which is a government-funded initiative to provide accessible tuition to people who are new to the course and meet the eligibility requirements.

For people who are particularly new to the industry, obtaining a Certificate II Pathway to Health Studies is recommended.

Specialised roles and requirements

The Roman numeral system indicates the level of vocational training and education — with a higher numeral, such as a Certificate IV, known as a Cert four, demonstrating a greater degree of specialised knowledge than a Certificate III, known as a Cert three, for instance.

A Certificate IV gives you the skills and training to provide specialised support for older people in a range of settings and requires 120 hours of specified work. A Certificate IV will help you move into management roles and the operational side of aged care work.

There are multiple avenues to assisting with nursing or allied health support in aged care, such as a Bachelor of Nursing that can facilitate students entering the Aged Care Nursing Clinical Placements Program. A Bachelor of Nursing is required to become a registered nurse, but a Diploma in Nursing or an Advanced Diploma in Nursing is needed to become an enrolled nurse. 

The Home Care Workforce Support Program provides subsidised training and supported work placement opportunities for home care workers.

Other aspects of the aged care sector are tailored to specific needs and duties that range from cooking to dementia or palliative care. Programs that offer specialist qualifications can be found through resources from the Department of Health and Aged Care.


Have you considered a career in aged care? Let the team at Talking Aged Care know your career aspirations!

For more information, news and updates on Australia’s care and support industry, subscribe to the Talking Aged Care newsletter — it’s completely free!


Aged Care Guide is endorsed by
COTA logo
ACIA logo
ACCPA logo