Which RTO should I choose?
Look for this logo and ask these questions:
Will you organise my placement or will I?
Where will my placement be?
Will it be with just one Allied Health Discipline or more than just one? (preferably more one)
Is the "empower people with a disability" elective in this course? (moving forward, we want more opportunities for AHAs to complete this elective so they are more employable in the NDIS setting)
Should I do a Cert III or a Cert IV? If you have the choice, go for the Cert IV. The Cert IV is more desirable to an employer as it will give you more in-depth knowledge and experience.
What is the role of an AHA like?
The role of an AHA is a busy and varied professional role. Some work with just one discipline some work multidisciplinary (this might include 2 or more disciplines during the day.)
Some admin, cleaning and maintaining of equipment might be required, but your role should predominantly be clinical in nature. You might be involved in the running of groups, attending meetings and performing one on one sessions with clients or assisting Allied Health Professionals (AHPs).
Working within your scope of practice is essential as is developing clinical reasoning, good time management skills and being solution focused. You are often the person a client sees most so it's important for you to know how to build rapport whilst maintaining professional boundaries. The Allied Health Assistant role is a very rewarding career.
Are you workplace ready? Draw upon life skills; Do you know your way around a computer? This is a very handy skill, don't forget to mention it in the interview. Working within a team is invaluable, have you done this in a sporting environment or a previous job (even if it's not the same type of role).
Knowing how to prioritize competing tasks is essential. As an AHA you might perform many tasks from multiple AHP's in a single day, this may require you to prioritize these tasks according to staffing ratios, discharge times, various treatments and more.
An example of this in your everyday life could be as a parent you might have to organise kids school lunches, dental appointments, getting a car fixed and buying groceries all in the same day - how do you manage it? how do you prioritize your day? Have examples of time management, prioritization and effective communication ready for interview, making sure you relate it back to the Allied Health Assistant role.
What do the different grading systems mean and how do they relate to the different certificates?
Put simply a Grade 1 AHA is not widely used unless it is to support a trainee or unqualified AHA. This grade was used to identify those people who had transitioned into the role from other positions, who had not completed relevant training or were employed as a trainee. These people perform basic Allied Health Assistant tasks and require high levels of supervision.
A Grade 2 AHA is a general entry level position for either a Cert III or a Cert IV and includes a range of tasks with a some independence or indirect supervision. Supervision is still in place however this might be more distant and not require the Allied Health Professional to be with the AHA at all times.
Grade 3 AHA is a Cert IV Allied Health Assistant with a minimum of 5 yrs experience and someone who can work more independently with remote supervision and can conduct supervision of Grade 1 and Grade 2 AHAs. This role is not an automatic transition. This role is created to fulfill a need in the industry. Suitably qualified and experienced AHAs apply for these positions.
How do I find the right job?
Check out Seek, go to various organisations web pages and look for there current vacancies.
AHA jobs are readily available. AHAs are a valuable employee in the workforce, we are cost effective (training and wages are cost effective), we enable AHPs to get on with more complex tasks and we are highly valued in the workforce because of our cost effectiveness and professional application. This means that the AHA workforce will continue to grow.
External factors include the introduction of the NDIS - this system puts more pressure on AHPs to service clients in the disability field; an ageing population means we don't have enough people in the workforce to meet the demands of this group so again AHAs enable AHPs to service more clients more effectively.
Qualified but still not getting interviews?
Here's a well known secret. Experience in a health setting is very attractive for an employer particularly if your new to Allied Health Assistant work.
How do I do this?
Volunteering should not be underestimated as a way to develop your work related skills. You may work with various AHPs or other Health Professionals, work in diverse teams and work with clients. It demonstrates time management skills, commitment to your career and helps further your overall experience as an AHA.
But where do I volunteer?
Neighbourhood house, Aged Care facilities, Relief Centres, Hospitals, Rehabilitation Facilities, various Allied Health services, Disability organizations and more. Think outside the square, find somewhere you can implement the skills you have learnt and increase your employability.