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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker

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Summary of occupation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers liaise between health care professionals and Indigenous patients to improve the quality of services provided and health outcomes for those patients. They help to bridge the cultural differences that can exist in healthcare settings, by acting as an interpreter to ensure both the healthcare professional and the Indigenous patient understand each other. These workers may also provide counselling and/or treatment for physical diseases or injuries. They may also make house visits to monitor patient progress, and provide support to patients and their families to encourage them to learn more about health issues.

ANZSCO description: Liaises with patients, clients, visitors to  hospitals and other medical facilities and staff at health clinics, also works as a team member to arrange, coordinate and provide health-care delivery in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health clinics (registration or licensing may be required).
Alternative names: Aboriginal Health Worker
Specialisations: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Hospital Liaison Officer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker needs:

  • to be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • good communication and negotiation skills
  • a good understanding of Indigenous culture and health promotion, sensitivity
  • an ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • a commitment to improving the health of Indigenous communities.
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Working conditions

These workers are often the first point of call for patients attending Aboriginal medical services located throughout the State.  As a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers may be required to work in remote communities.  This may require travelling long distances, as well as working shift work and weekends.
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Salary details

 

On average, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers can expect to earn between $931 and $1 072 per week ($48 432 and $55 737 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers are expected to be able to apply first aid in an emergency and should be able to use appropriate first aid equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker you usually have to complete a qualification in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care work.

The Certificate III and IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Work are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA).

To become an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, you need to complete the Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia accredits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner programs in Australia. Visit their website for a list of accredited providers in Australia.

​To use the title Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, you must also obtain professional registration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia.

To work with children in WA, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services. ​ 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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