How To Get Started In A Career In Community Services
Careers in community services work can be extremely rewarding on a personal level and, as your career progresses, the industry can be quite lucrative financially. Another great thing about community services is there are so many job opportunities, as community services comprise a vast number of careers and industries.
Some people mistake community service work as unpaid volunteer work. While this can be the case in some sectors, overall, community services offer a myriad of well-paying jobs and careers, from disability support workers, through to psychologists, social workers, and so many more options.
Let’s look at some tips on how to get started in this fantastic and rewarding industry.
Is Community Services Work Right for You?
Before diving into training and searching for jobs in community services, it’s vital that you first determine whether you’re suited to a career in this industry.
The important thing to keep in mind is that community service work is mostly about helping people and making a difference in their lives. It’s a very people-centric industry. If you’re not a people person, or you feel that helping people on a daily basis might prove draining on you physically and/or mentally, you might want to reconsider choosing a career path in community services.
Successful community service workers are patient, have a desire to help others on a day-to-day basis, and have a natural empathy for the plight of other people.
Volunteering for Your Community Is a Good Start
If you’re searching for a career, you’re obviously hoping to get paid and earn a living and you can certainly do that in community services. However, to gain some hands-on experience and also to be able to determine if community services work is right for you, it would be a good idea to do some volunteer work in your local community for a time.
This doesn’t have to be a full-time gig by any means and you certainly don’t have to volunteer for years. It could be helping out at your local community center or sports club on weekends, or any one of dozens of other community tasks you could do locally.
You Will Need Some Official Training
While some people who seek a career in community services might attain a diploma in community services through university, you don’t have to go that route to get started in community services work. Instead, you can complete the Certificate III In Community Services, which is a nationally recognized qualification. It’s an entry-level course that will enable you to start looking for jobs within the community services industry.
The good news is that there are no special entry requirements to undertake the course, other than a sound understanding of English, both written and spoken.
If you have the time to complete the course on a full-time basis, you’ll be done in 12 months. Alternatively, there is a part-time option that spans 24 months for those individuals who may be working or have other time commitments. You can even study at your own pace and at times that suit you. However, there is a requirement to complete 120 hours of work placement, so you gain hands-on industry experience.
The course is comprised of 5 core units and 7 elective units of competency. The 5 core units include:
- CHCCCS016 – Respond to client needs
- CHCCOM005 – Communicate and work in health or community services
- CHCDIV001 – Work with diverse people
- HLTWHS002 – Follow safe work practice for direct client care
- HLTWHS006 – Manage personal stressors in the work environment
Following successful completion of the CHC32015 Certificate III in Community Services course, you’ll have the qualifications and experience you need to find entry-level jobs within the industry. You can then go on to further study to chase after more coveted positions that also come packaged with a higher income.
Some immediate job prospects following course completion include:
- Youth support worker
- Community support worker
- Accommodation support worker
- And more…
There are literally dozens of different jobs and career paths you can take in the community services industry, so it’s definitely something to seriously consider. In fact, it’s currently one of the biggest and fastest-growing sectors in the Australian job market.