Special Care Workers
Special Care Workers provide care and supervision for children and young people in residential and institutional facilities, and provide care and support to people in refuges.
planning and implementing programs of supervision and care for children in residential care
supervising and arranging activities to enhance the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of children in residential care
waking children and ensuring they are washed, dressed, fed and ready for educational and recreational activities
supervising children during domestic activities such as eating meals and showering
maintaining discipline, enforcing regulations and behaviour standards, compiling disciplinary reports and assisting in implementing remedial measures
organising refuge accommodation
providing emotional support to residents of refuges
referring residents of refuges for health and welfare assistance
ensuring security of refuge
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 5,900 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 52% of people employed as Special Care Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 14 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 46 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,296 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,071
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,813
Median hourly earnings are $41, this is the same as the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Special Care Workers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Special Care Workers work in the Education and training industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Special Care Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 52% of Special Care Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Special Care Workers is 38 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 69% of the workforce. This is 21 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Special Care Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||5.5||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Special Care Worker. Although some workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in residential care, community services, social services, child, youth, and family intervention, or related studies.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Health Industry and Community Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Special Care Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||7.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||8.0||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Special Care Workers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and communicate clearly, with strong people skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking to others.
Looking for ways to help people.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
57%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
54%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Teaching people how to do something.
46%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
45%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
87%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
67%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
49%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
48%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
47%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
44%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
43%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
35%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
23%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
21%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
21%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
19%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
50%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
41%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
See details that are far away.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
78%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
78%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
74%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
72%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
70%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
68%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
67%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
66%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
65%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
63%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
60%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
58%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
56%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
54%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
52%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
51%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
51%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
49%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
48%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Talk on the telephone.
99%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Use electronic mail.
Work with people in a group or team.
90%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
87%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
87%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
87%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
86%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
84%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
83%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
82%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work to strict deadlines.
74%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
73%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
73%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
67%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 21-1021.00 - Child, Family, and School Social Workers.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.