Australian Community Workers Association Australian Community Workers Association

Guidelines – Disability Services Officer

A disability services officer is a professional who works with people living with disability in a variety of settings including clients’ own homes, adult service units, group housing and disability services agencies. The DSO’s primary role is to assess a client’s needs and assist them in planning and accessing educational, training, employment or additional health or welfare supports.

 

ABS definition – Disability Services Officer ANZSCO 411712

A disability services officer ‘works in a range of service units which provide education and community access to people with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities’

Common occupational titles

Disability Services Officer, Disability Case Worker, Client Services Coordinator – Disability Services, Developmental Educator, Disability Liaison Officer, Disability Case Manager, Disability Advanced Case Manager, Assessment Officer, Disability Justice Officer, Care Manager.

 

PLEASE NOTE: having your occupational title listed does not necessarily mean your work experience is relevant. Please refer to all relevant information.

Qualifications can be one of the following:
  1. A relevant diploma or higher with a specialisation in disability services
  2. An ACWA accredited diploma or higher with a specialisation in disability services (Not currently available)
  3. A relevant qualification (non-specialised): A relevant qualification related to community services and comparable to AQF level 5 or higher
A relevant qualification has a focus on providing community and human services and will typically cover:
  • sociology; social, political, economic structures and function
  • social policy, human development and function including psychological, physical and social aspects
  • general and specialised welfare services and systems
  • work with individuals, families, groups and communities
  • communication, basic counselling and interpersonal skills
  • additional subjects which could include child development, social justice, child protection, mental health, case management, group theory, drug and alcohol issues, crisis intervention, psychology, youth work, working with children and families, community development, juvenile justice, family violence.
Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the following ways:

  1. English language test results. Results must be within 3 years of application and, for IELTS only, you can submit multiples tests as long as they are from within a period of 12 months.
    The acceptable tests and required scores are:
    IELTS (general or academic) = 7 in each band
    PTE Academic = 65 in each band
    Advanced (CAE) = 185 in each band
    TOEFL IBT PTE = Listening 24, Speaking 23, Reading 24, Writing 27.
  2. Study conducted in English from a country with English as its main language. Completed course delivered and assessed in English at the level of bachelor’s degree, masters or Ph.D. or completed all secondary education and diploma delivered and assessed in English in a country with English as the main or official language. These are Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, United States of America, Canada, and New Zealand.
  3. Two years of relevant industry experience in an English-speaking country. Completed at least 2 years full time (or part time equivalent) employment at the required skill level with English as the primary means of communication in a country with English as the main or official language. These are Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, United States of America, Canada, and New Zealand.
  4. A suitable skills assessment that expired within the last 6 months. Applicants who received a suitable skills assessment and are applying for the same occupation can submit a copy of their original outcome to establish English proficiency.

Employment

Employment in the industry is defined as paid employment which involves the provision of direct service to people living with a disability. It is employment within the past 4 years, post-qualification, and must be at an appropriate skill level.
  1. Relevant diploma or higher with a specialisation in disability services: Applicants must have at least 12 months full time (or part time equivalent) employment in a disability services setting; and performed at the required skill level (see glossary).
  2. ACWA accredited diploma or higher with a specialisation in disability services: Applicants who have completed an ACWA accredited diploma or higher are deemed to have sufficient industry experience through their field placement requirements. Where shortcomings are identified in a practicum component ACWA may ask an applicant to reapply after completing 3 months full time or part-time equivalent industry experience.
  3. Relevant qualification (non-specialised): Applicants must have 2 years full time (or part time equivalent) employment in a disability services setting and performed at the required skill level (see glossary).

Currency

Applicants must also demonstrate their knowledge and skills are up to date in one of the following ways:
  • holding a qualification that is less than 4 years old
  • a minimum of least 3 months full time (or part-time equivalent) employment in a relevant current role at the required skill level
  • at least 6 months relevant employment at the required skill level within the last 18 months

Glossary of terms

ACWA accredited course

An applicant is deemed to have graduated from an ACWA accredited course if the course and campus was accredited by ACWA for the entire duration of the applicant’s study. If the course gained ACWA accreditation during the applicant’s study period, applications will be assessed on a case by case basis under this category. ACWA accredited courses are listed here.

Industry experience

Employment which involves the provision of direct service to people living with a disability. It is paid work, post-qualification, and must be at the skill level appropriate to the qualification.

Full time work

Paid employment of 30 hours or more per week.

Skill level

The range and complexity of the tasks performed in the occupation require a qualification equivalent to AQF Level 5. Please note: some support worker roles take place in the same setting as this occupation but only require a certificate level qualification (AQF Level 3/4). Employment at this skill level will not be considered.