The different types of jobs in aged care: What’s the right role for you?


Aged care is the largest job sector in the country, an industry that is only going to continue to grow as the population ages. By 2066, nearly one quarter of Australians will be aged 65 and over and, to make sure everyone is given the support they need, over 100,000 new employees are needed.

There are a plethora of roles within the aged care sector, with different levels of training and education required. Thankfully there are aged care and disability courses online that will quickly get you up to standard and into the industry. 

This article looks at the various jobs in aged care to help you discover the best role for you.

What is aged care?

In Australia there are three main aged care settings: in-home, short-term, and residential.

In-home care is predominantly supported by personal care assistants (PCA) for self-care, domestic support and getting out into the community. Allied health services, such as occupational therapy and physiotherapy, are involved in making the home safe and improving quality of life.

Short-term care may occur in a respite facility or in the home with additional support. In addition to PCAs and allied health professionals, nurses and meal delivery services may also be involved.

Residential care includes retirement villages and private and government-funded homes. Clinical and care support are the main roles, with administrative and maintenance workers also required.

Roles in aged care

If there was ever a great time to step into the aged care sector, it’s now. The types of jobs available in this field are categorised as non-direct and direct.


Non-direct roles include gardeners, cleaners, volunteers and drivers (it’s a good idea to have a ‘light rigid’ drivers licence so you can drive vans and small buses). Roles in business operations, IT and marketing are also essential to the running of aged care providers.


Tasks that involve direct engagement with the elderly often require specific education and training. Clinical roles such as nurses, doctors, and allied health practitioners require a university degree, whereas the caring roles generally require vocational certification.

What training is right for you?

Due to the demand for aged-care workers, the Commonwealth and state governments are currently subsidising vocational study in this field. Check your State or Territory to find what fee-free courses are available and to check your eligibility.

Vocational training

To enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to provide a high level of support and succeed in your role, it is likely you need vocational accreditation. 

Depending on your chosen course, study takes between six months to two years to complete. Most vocational courses incorporate on-the-job training so you can learn the skills in theory and develop practical experience to prepare you for work. 

Other vocational studies can also offer a way into aged care. Qualifications in therapy assistance, or community, disability or mental health services can support your career and, in addition to an aged care course, will give you more desirable specialised skills.

University degrees

As aged care encompasses many aspects of community services and clinical care, there are many university qualifications that enable you to work in aged care.

Allied health services for which a bachelor degree is essential include occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy and psychology.  Courses in registered nursing, community services, and nutrition can be studied at university level and are relevant to working in the aged-care sector. Undergraduate degrees take at least three years to complete.

Three key roles

  1. Personal care assistants

Also known as individual assistants or support workers, this role requires the highest number of employees and is the only aged care occupation that doesn’t require any formal training. However, workplaces set their own standards, and certified applicants are generally preferred.

Tasks include assisting with self-care (dressing, bathing, eating), domestic duties (cleaning, cooking, washing), companionship (at home or in the community), and transportation.

  1. Leisure and recreational activities officers

With an ageing body comes increased illness, frailty and fatigue, as well as possible memory deterioration. Maintaining health of the mind and body is the key concern of activity leaders, diversional therapists, lifestyle assistants, and leisure coordinators.

This role, which requires vocational qualifications, is all about making life fun for seniors, whether in residential care or in a community setting. From walking groups to bingo nights, responsibilities include planning, organising and leading programs that foster companionship, movement, and well-being.

  1. Nurses

From July 2024, all residential aged care facilities will be required to have a registered nurse on duty at all times so there’s never been a better time to begin a nursing career. 

Being a nurse requires completing either a two-year Diploma of Nursing to qualify as an enrolled nurse, or a three-year Bachelor of Nursing that equips you to be a registered nurse. To specialise in aged care, additional vocational qualifications may be required.


Studying aged care can lead to secure, long-term employment in the sector and, with so many job options available, you are sure to find a role you are passionate about. As many aged-care vocational courses are currently subsidised or fully-funded by the government, now is the time to check your eligibility to see if the industry is right for you.

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