‘One profession, many occupations.’ You may have heard us say this before and that’s because it sums up the drawcard of community work; once you’re qualified, the job prospects are extensive. From Juvenile Justice Officer to NDIS Support Coordinator, a professional community worker can do it all.
Of course, this can make it tricky when you are trying to find work. With over 50 different occupational titles, how do you start your job search or plot your next career move?
We’ve created a flow chart to show a typical career path for community workers. The generic position titles are common across Australia’s community services sector and will help you find work that suits your practice level.
Chart – Career path for community workers
Most entry level jobs in community services are frontline roles. These are often the first point of contact for clients engaging with an organisation. Common duties include intake and assessment, outreach, and case work.
No one can expect to start out at the top of the career ladder, but if you’ve graduated with a tertiary qualification, you should be able to find work at this level within the first few years.
Once you have gained confidence and experience in the field, the next step up is case manager. This still involves direct practice but with the added responsibility of developing, coordinating, and monitoring client case plans.
From here, a supervisory or leadership role offers a move away from the frontline. Team leaders supervise and support a team to ensure outcomes and targets are met.
Experienced community workers may find roles coordinating a program, service area or an entire service.
For some community workers it’s not about moving up the career ladder but rather taking on new challenges. The community services sector is comprised of many service fields and a move to a different setting may be the choice of some practitioners who find frontline work the most fulfilling.
So how can this information help you find your dream job? Well, job/career websites typically have a search function that helps you filter vacancies. Instead of searching every conceivable occupational title, you can use these generic titles to find suitable roles. You can also add in different service fields (for example, ‘case worker, youth services’) if you have an idea of where you want to work.
For more tips, and also links to sector specific job sites, visit our jobs page: https://www.acwa.org.au/workers/jobs/