What they do
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers liaise between health care professionals and Aboriginal patients to improve the quality of services provided and health outcomes for those patients. They help to bridge the cultural differences that can exist in healthcare settings, by acting as an interpreter to ensure both the healthcare professional and the Aboriginal patient understand each other. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers provide cultural education to persons outside the cultural community. These workers may also provide counselling to clients, as well as make house visits to monitor patient progress, and provide support to patients and their families to encourage them to learn more about health issues.
These workers are often the first point of call for patients attending Aboriginal medical services located throughout the State. As a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers may be required to work in remote communities. This may require travelling long distances, as well as working shift work and weekends.
Tools and technologies
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers are expected to be able to apply first aid in an emergency and should be able to use appropriate first aid equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker, you usually need to gain a qualification in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care work.
The Certificates III and IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care and the Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also undertake a traineeship. The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health care worker (level 2) traineeship takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship. The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health care worker (level 3 and level 4) traineeships usually take 12 and 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia.
Only persons who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander are eligible for registration as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner.
You may also need to hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.