Certificate III vs Certificate IV in Aged Care: what’s the difference?

You already know why aged care is important

With the aging population in Australia, 1 out of 5 Australians are now approaching their golden years.

And that means that the demand for aged care services – as well as qualified aged care workers – will continue to grow over the next few years and even decades.

So if you are looking for a rewarding career with plentiful opportunities, you’re in the right place!

Of course, just like many other professions, in order to get into this industry, you’ll need to get trained.

If you’re planning to enrol in any aged care courses in Melbourne, you’ve probably heard of both the Certificate III in Individual Support and the Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

Both of these courses can help you get your start in this vibrant and growing industry. Just one question: what’s the difference?

Read on to find out which course may be best suited to your career goals.

Which is the best Certificate for an aged care course?

Whether you are a local or a foreign worker who’s planning to work in an aged care facility, you will be required to finish a certificate in aged care study.

After all, aged care workers have a lot of responsibility. They deal with the elderly, one of the most vulnerable groups in the community due to their advanced age as well as physical conditions.

The state of Victoria offers government funded aged care courses online that cover a wide range of certificates, including aged care-specific qualifications (learn more about skills first funding and who’s eligible).

Here at Academia, we offer the Certificate III in Individual Support and the Certificate IV in Ageing Support, both of which arm you with the skills and knowledge you need to kick-start your career in aged care.

While both of them can help you start your career, one or the other might be better for you depending on:

  • Your career goals
  • Where you are currently
  • Which role you’re targeting

What is a Certificate III Aged Care?

Is it right for you?

The Certificate III in Individual Support serves as the basic qualification you need to break into the aged care industry.

This Certificate equips you with theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as all the skills required to flourish as an aged care worker, including:

  • Safety work practices
  • Using mobility aids and tools
  • An understanding of healthy body systems
  • Personal support needs
  • Providing home and community support services
  • Empowerment activities for older people

The Certificate III in Individual Support helps you develop and improve basic communication skills, adaptability, flexibility, and multitasking even before you officially work in an aged care facility.

Working in an aged care facility can be quite challenging at first – that’s why in order to help you prepare, this Certificate also includes a mandatory work placement so you can experience the challenges you’ll face on a day-to-day basis.

Do you need a Cert 3 before a Cert 4?

Since a Certificate IV in Ageing Support is a higher level of qualification in aged care, most students will need to first complete a Certificate III in Individual Support before they’re eligible for this course.

Students may be able to begin their Certificate IV immediately after completing their Certificate III, studying many units at the same time and essentially making it one course.

Alternatively, you can complete your Certificate III and come back years later when the need arises.

Either way, in order to enrol in a Certificate IV, you’ll generally need to complete the preceding Certificate first or alongside it.

How long does it take to complete Certificate 3 in Aged Care?

The answer depends on whether you plan to study full-time, part-time or a combination of both. Assuming you study full-time however, a Certificate III in Individual Support should take you 6 to 8 months to complete.

In addition to finishing written tests, assignments and workshop classes, this course also features a 150 hour work placement in an aged care facility.

What is Certificate IV in Ageing Support?

The Certificate III in Individual Support gives you the basics of aged care – what it doesn’t include are further skills that you might need if you want to take on a more senior role.

The Certificate IV helps you acquire skills in aged care that will prepare you to give specialised medical responsibilities, including age-related illnesses using the palliative approach.

Through this course, you will be able to:

  • Empower people with disability 
  • Enforce safety work practices
  • Support the elderly with dementia

Of course, specialised care isn’t the only pathway open to students who complete this course – it can also open the door to management roles.

For example, if you want to become a manager, you’ll need to be trained in:

  • Admin work
  • Legal requirements
  • Budgeting and finance
  • Employment law
  • Legal compliance

So, is Certificate III or Certificate IV better?

The question of which is better depends on your career goals.

If you’re just starting and looking for opportunities in aged care, the Certificate III might be a great place to start.

However, if you plan to upgrade your skills and knowledge with learning specialised aged care techniques for elderly people with complex needs, you will need to enrol in the Certificate IV.

Only you can answer this question – that said, our friendly course advisors are always willing to help, guiding you and providing advice about your options!

Choosing between Certificate III or Certificate IV in Aged Care

Explore our aged care courses in Melbourne today!

Learn from our team of certified and experienced instructors who will equip you with all the skills and knowledge needed for the aged care career pathway that you’ve been dreaming of.

One of the best things about both our Certificate III in Individual Support and Certificate IV in Ageing Support is that they’re included in the list of government funded courses – eligible students in Victoria will be able to study for free without having to worry about tuition costs.
Find out more about our aged care courses in Melbourne by filling out this enquiry form or contacting our friendly team by calling our Melbourne campus: (03) 9671 4755.