Building your support team

What qualifications should a support worker have?

Last updated 9 August 2023

The question regarding whether paid support people require qualifications has long been a topic of debate. Many people insist some kind of certification should be a prerequisite for a paid support person. Others believe certification gives no assurance that the person is actually right for the particular role.

In Australia, formal qualifications to undertake paid support work are currently not required by law. It does, however, depend on who is engaging the person and what requirements they set around qualifications, as well as the type of work the person is going to be engaged in.

NDIS support worker qualifications

Different providers and self-managed individuals apply different standards. If, for example, the person is a support worker through the Mable platform and they are offering to provide ‘personal care’, they need to have at least one of the below qualifications: 

  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Individual Support
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Aged Care
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Disabilities
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Home and Community Care
  • Official Transcript – Working towards degree in nursing (needs to have completed first year)
  • Degree in nursing
  • Degree in Allied Health
  • Other relevant qualification
  • 2 or more years of experience

If offering ‘social and domestic support’ only, no formal qualification is required on Mable, but there are other minimum requirements a person must reach prior to being approved on Mable. Other organisations may not require such qualifications, however, some self-managed participants may have higher standards and requirements. It’s a personal choice.


Different states in Australia have different qualification requirements for people providing support in the aged care and disability sector. There is currently no requirement for either in all states except Victoria. 

From 1 July, 2021, people in paid support roles can choose to become a ‘registered disability support worker’ in Victoria under the Victorian Disability Worker Regulation Scheme. This registration is voluntary.

NDIS Worker Screening Check 

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has introduced a National Worker Screen Check for people working in the disability sector. It is part of the move to increase safety and quality and reduce the risk of abuse and neglect of people with disability. It is compulsory for employees of registered providers.

The assessment process will provide clearance to people wishing to work with people with disability. This check is not about qualifications, it’s about the person’s suitability for working in this sector.

Mable does not require an NDIS worker screening clearance for independent support workers providing services through the platform.

If an independent support worker has an NDIS worker screening check, it is displayed on their profile. They are included as a search filter, so people can find independent workers who are screened.

If you are plan-managing or self-managing your NDIS plan, you can request that any of the paid supports you engage (including those through Mable) have an NDIS worker screening clearance. You may choose to increase your safeguards by requiring the support people you engage to have an NDIS worker screening check.

Aged care support worker qualifications

A support worker providing personal care through Mable needs to have at least one of the below qualifications:

  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Individual Support
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Aged Care
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Disabilities
  • Certificate 3 or 4 in Home and Community Care
  • Official Transcript – Working towards degree in nursing (needs to have completed first year)
  • Degree in nursing
  • Degree in Allied Health
  • Other relevant qualification
  • 2 or more years of experience

If the support worker offers nursing services, they will need to:

  • Be a Registered Nurse
  • Have more than one year of relevant nursing experience
  • Have been registered as a nurse with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency)
  • Have an active AHPRA registration for at least 12 months

Nurses should not provide any services within these categories that their AHPRA registration does not allow them to provide.

Aside from the above qualifications, all support workers providing support through Mable are required to complete minimum requirements.

Relevant experience and personal qualities

Qualifications aside, when seeking paid support, it is important to focus on the things you believe provide you with the best chance of attracting and keeping the ‘perfect match’ for you. Consider things like relevant experience – has the person provided the type of support you are seeking before? When, where, how did they approach it? Make sure you explore this with them at the time of interview, as this is an important role you are trying to fill. 

If what you are seeking is pretty unique, then you are looking for someone who has performed similar types of work before. If you are wanting someone to teach a particular skill, then it’s best to seek someone who has that skill themselves and has the capacity to teach that skill to someone else. For example, if you are seeking someone to support you to manage your garden, it’s probably best to look for someone who has a garden and who is interested in sharing their love of plants and gardening. 

If you are looking for someone to support your person to manage their home, you are looking for someone who has done that themselves – being a homemaker brings with it many skills: budgeting, paying bills on time, shopping, cooking, cleaning, checking the mail, making beds, etc. If you are particularly fussy about your home cleanliness for example, you will need to make sure your support person is similarly keen on cleaning.

There may, however, be particular skills and training that is required, like nursing, or medication assistance or management. If so, you would seek people with these particular qualifications. For example, if you are seeking someone to support a person who requires support at meal times, to ensure safe eating practices, that does require someone with training and experience to ensure safe and quality support.

Certificates and degrees don’t guarantee the quality of the support provided. Due diligence in your recruitment process is more likely to assist in finding the right person. Interviewing people in a way that explores who they are as a person and asking questions that bring out their human qualities, as well as their knowledge, experience and qualifications, is a good start. 


Not if your social support worker is not qualified to provide personal care such as showering or toileting. As mentioned above, to offer support services that come under ‘Personal Care’ your support worker needs to gain the right qualifications. Your existing support worker can’t be trained on the job.

Personal care support services such as showering, toileting, manual handling, hoist, medication are more complex types of support. To ensure your safety, your support worker needs to have the right qualification to provide these types of services. Additionally, for any support invoiced through Mable, a support worker is not covered by Mable’s suite of insurances in the case of an unsafe incident occurring during the support session.


  • Disability support
  • NDIS disability support
  • NDIS self management
  • NDIS support worker qualifications
  • NDIS worker screening check
  • Support worker interview
  • Support worker qualifications
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