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An ageing population, the NDIS’s nationwide application and an ever-increasing demand for homecare services are some reasons why Healthcare and Social Assistance is currently the largest and fastest growing industry in Australia, employing more than 1.5 million people.  

Contrary to common assumptions, not all positions in this specialised industry come with graduate certificates or college degrees. In fact, many jobs in demand only require applicants to have sufficient VET qualifications as on-the-job training will be provided. Therefore, if you love helping people, seek a rewarding career path and need time to accumulate experience, here are the best entry-level jobs to start your profession in Healthcare and Social Assistance.

Home Health Aide

Home health aide is an important member of the healthcare team who focuses mainly on providing assistance, support and direct care for patients in the comfort of their own home. While it is common for home health aides to work with elderly people, they could actually assist patients of any age and health condition.

This role doesn’t require any certificate as on-the-job training will be provided. Experienced home health aides can also study further to advance into nursing or medical assistance. Top perks in this profession include flexible working hours, a rewarding career helping people in need and stable, better-than-average income.  

Medical Receptionist

As a medical receptionist, you will be the initial contact for clients upon calling or walking into a hospital or clinic. You are responsible for general administrative duties such as greeting patients, booking appointments, managing payments and monitoring stock levels. Job prospect for medical reception in Australia is really promising with projected growth up to 4.7% in the next 5 years and opportunities to seek employment in a wide range of settings including general practice facilities, medical or allied health clinics, hospitals etc.

While there is no required qualification to become a medical receptionist, a TAFE or short course certification in basic administrative skills would be a big plus for your resume. In the long run, you can move up to be an office manager, practice manager, personal assistant or medical secretary, to name a few.  

Nursing Assistant

A nursing assistant provides certain care and services to patients under the direction of registered nurses or enrolled nurses. Depending on the settings, a nursing assistant’s tasks could range from helping patients with their daily routines (e.g. basic hygiene, feeding, exercise regimes etc.) to keeping patient records and planning care regimens. They normally follow shift works with possible working schedule during weekends.

To be eligible for such roles, you will need to complete a qualification in Health Assistance (either online or on-campus) plus 120 hours of work placement training. Successful nursing assistants, once studying higher, can enjoy a lucrative career path as registered nurses in healthcare centres and aged care facilities across the country.   

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants prepare patients for oral examinations and assist other dental therapists, hygienists or dentists in providing treatment relating to the mouth, teeth and gum. In some cases, you could also be asked to carry out reception and administrative duties. This entry-level role is highly sought-after and well-paid with projected job growth up to 6.6% in the next 5 years.

To become a recognised dental assistant in Australia, you don’t need to have any college degree, but to complete a vocational qualification from accredited course providers or apply for direct traineeship. After several years working, many dental assistants also choose to gain formal training and study further to progress their career in dental therapy or dental hygiene.

Pharmacy Assistant

Pharmacy assistants (also called dispensing assistants) work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist. Your work setting would mainly be in retail pharmacies, hospitals or NHS organisations where you are in charge of selling pharmaceutical goods, filling prescriptions, managing stocks and greeting clients. A combination of lucrative income and meaningful career path, it is easy to understand why the number of people working as pharmacy assistants in Australia grew strongly in the past 5 years and are projected to increase til 2023.

There is currently no formal qualifications required, yet joining vocational training and short courses will be beneficial for applicants. Upon completion, you will be equipped with practical knowledge like health and safety, manufacturing medicine and dispensing prescriptions.  


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