Patient care assistant

What they do

Patient care assistants help with providing care, support and services to patients in a hospital or health care environment. They assist patients with their personal care needs such as showering, dressing and eating. They help patients move around the facility by pushing them in wheelchairs or in mobile beds. Patient care assistant may also perform manual support tasks at the direction of medical staff. This can include assisting with lifting, turning and re-positioning patients and assisting nursing staff in making beds.

Working conditions

Patient care assistants usually work indoors in a hospital or health care environment.  Your position may involve using hospital strength cleaning agents required to meet hospital infection control standards.  Patient care assistants may be required to work shiftwork.

Tools and technologies

Patient care assistants can be required to use a range of tools and technologies including: equipment to transport patients, lifting aids, cleaning equipment.

How do I become one?

Education and training

You can work as a patient care assistant without formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in health services assistance or health support services.

The Certificate II and III in Health Support Services and the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance are offered at TAFE colleges and other 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 in health service assistance or health support services. The health support services (level 2 and level 3) and the health service assistance (level 3) traineeships usually take 12 months to complete and are available as school-based traineeships.

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.