Summary of occupation
Disability services officers provide care and support for individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities and assist them to integrate into the community.
Disability services officers may work as social trainers, teaching people living with a disability the skills to live independently in the community. They may organise social and leisure activities for clients to assist them with integration into the community. They may also work as a support worker for an employment service that helps people living with a disability to find a job, and offers support and training on the job for as long as they need it.
Works in a range of service units which provide education and community access to people with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities.
Social trainer, Direct care worker, Support worker
A disability services officer needs:
- understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities
- a supportive, patient and caring nature
- excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- good time management and organisation skills
- good problem solving abilities
- to be able to work independently and as part of a team.
Disability services officers may travel to visit people with disabilities in independent living facilities, at work in supported employment, or in their family home to develop lifestyle plans, routines and training programs.
Disability services officers may be required to work outside of business hours, depending on the nature of the training involved. They may take clients to social events or leisure activities to help clients get out into the community.
On average, disability services officers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a disability services officer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Disability support workers regularly use office equipment to record and maintain services provided to clients. They may use charts, lists or labels to help clients learn the steps involved in a new skill or routine. They may require a driver’s licence to travel to clients and provide transport within the community.
To become a disability services officer you usually need to complete a formal qualification in disability.
The Certificate III and Certificate IV in Disability are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a traineeship. The disability services officer, accommodation support worker, and disability officer – day support traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The disability services officer and accommodation support worker traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.
To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.
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.
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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.