How Much Can I Make Working in Aged Care? [2024]

Aged care workers | Registered Nurses | Kitchen workers | Lifestyle coordinators | Assistants in Nursing

Posted 20th March 2024 | 5 minute read

Written by Jesse Gramenz 

st vincent's staff member smiling at the camera

 

It's the ultimate question for work: how much am I getting paid? To try and give you a head start on what you can expect to make in aged care, we've put together a short guide on a few of the key roles in aged care, how much they make, and even some additional tips in how to make more money in your area of employment. So, let's get started.


Before you read about salaries in aged care

  1. It's important to know that the salaries provided on this page aren't definitive, they are a collection of averages of pay in the aged care industry.
  2. When comparing aged care providers, make sure to consider the full package of benefits that a provider can offer to you.
  • Is the aged care provider you're looking at is close to your home or easily accessible?
  • Do they offer specific wage benefits such as salary packaging with not-for-profit organisations (opportunity to pay less tax on your income)?
  • Do they have opportunities for discounted gym memberships and other lifestyle benefits that some aged care providers offer?

Make sure that when you're comparing jobs, you're weighing up the full package to see what works best for you.

Now, with that out of the way, let's talk about salaries.

What is the average salary of an aged care support worker in Australia?

LocationAnnual salary rangeHourly rate
Sydney$54k-$66k$28-$35
Brisbane$54k-$66k$27-$33
Melbourne$54k-$66k$26-$32

Combined sources: Payscale.com; Fair Work Ombudsman Australia (2023); St Vincent's Care data (2023)


an aged care worker walks through gardens with a staff memberAn aged care worker walks with a resident through the gardens at St Vincent's Care Bronte

What does an aged care worker do?

An Aged Care Support Worker assists the elderly with daily tasks, such as personal care, mobility, meal preparation, and medication management. They provide critical emotional support and companionship, contributing significantly to the overall well-being of their clients by getting involved in a person’s general day-to-day activities and daily living like putting clothes away in the wardrobe or even just having a tea.

If they have any concerns about health (mental or physical), they pass on that information to nurses, who can work with care managers and even the facility manager to ensure the needs of residents are being met.


Considerations for salaries in Aged Care Support Worker roles

  1. While there are subtle variances between pay across the three cities, the average here still makes the most sense for aged care workers in Australia.
  2. Night shift roles, weekends and public holidays will significantly increase pay if those types of shifts are secured
  3. Starting your role as an aged care worker in a role such as a personal carer or support worker (with the relevant qualification) will immediately see your starting salary at around the $30/hr mark.


What is the average salary of an aged care Registered Nurse (RN) in Australia? 

LocationAnnual salary rangeHourly rate
Sydney$85k - $95k$41-$46
Brisbane$80k - $100k$38-48
Melbourne$80k - $95k$38-$46

Combined sources: Payscale.com; Fair Work Ombudsman Australia (2023); St Vincent's Care data (2023); Seek (2023); Jora (2023) 1 2


aged care nurse smiling at the cameraRegistered Nurse Sarah from St Vincent's Care Toowoomba

What does a Registered Nurse (RN) do?

RNs in aged care facilities play a critical role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of the elderly. Their responsibilities include conducting health assessments, administering medication, supervising other nursing staff, and developing personalized care plans. 


Considerations for salaries in aged care Registered Nurse roles

  1. The levels of salaries provided are averages, however they will go up depending on your level of seniority.
  2. Night shift roles, weekends and public holidays will significantly increase pay if those types of shifts are secured
  3.  Case managers and nursing consultants for example can make upwards of $120k a year depending on their role.
  4. Facility managers in aged care often have a background in being a registered nurse. If you are looking to get into management in a clinical role perhaps even at a leadership and governance level, a clinical background such as an RN makes a lot of sense.



What is the salary of an aged care kitchen assistant/cook/chef in Australia? 

LocationAnnual salary rangeHourly rate
Sydney52k - 67k25-32
Brisbane$54k - $69k26-33
Melbourne52k - 67k25-32

Combined sources: Payscale.com; Fair Work Ombudsman Australia (2023); St Vincent's Care data (2023); Indeed (2024) 2 3


aged care chef serves aged care residents food in dining roomOne of our aged care chefs at St Vincent's Care Kew serving residents their lunch

What does an aged care kitchen assistant/cook/chef do?

While these three positions have very different roles, in general, professional food workers in aged care specialise in creating nutritious and appealing meals for elderly individuals. This role requires knowledge of dietary needs and restrictions common among older adults, such as diabetes-friendly or low-sodium diets. 

One of the big advantages of working with food in aged care is the hours worked.

Comapared to working in restaurants or in hospitality more generally, aged care chefs opt to work in aged care for the consistent hours so that they can compete in competitions and hone their craft more freely outside of work.


Considerations for salaries in aged care hospitality roles

  1. In general, kitchen assistants, laundry & cleaners tend to fall under the same category in terms of pay as opposed to staff who are directly involved in caring for residents.
  2. If you're an apprentice in training getting on the job experience, your pay will generally be a bit lower at around $21-$25 p/hr but you will be working towards a qualification in this role.
  3. Getting a qualification such as a Certificate III or IV in Commercial Cookery (Hospitality) can improve salary in the long term.
  4. Generally if you're making above $30 an hour, you're qualified and have adequate experience with titles such as chef, senior chef or working in a food administration role.



What is the salary of an aged care lifestyle coordinator in Australia? 

LocationAnnual salary rangeHourly rate
Sydney$60k - $70k28-34


Brisbane$64k - $75k31-36

Melbourne$62k - $66k30-32

Combined sources: Fair Work Ombudsman Australia (2023); Glassdoor (2024) St Vincent's Care data (2023); Indeed (2024); Jora (2024)


aged care staff member and residents cooking togetherCodie from St Vincent's Care Arundel doing some cooking with residents


What does a lifestyle coordinator do?

Lifestyle Coordinators or Officers are responsible for organizing and implementing a range of activities to enhance the quality of life for residents in aged care facilities. This can include physical activities, social events, and therapeutic programs. 


Considerations for salaries in aged care leisure & lifestyle roles

  1. Leisure and lifestyle assistants will make on the lower end of the pay scale and may make somewhere between $55k to $60k depending on the level of experience.
  2. Leisure and lifestyle coordinators or lead roles with qualifications such as a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health will make more and are more likely to make beyond the $30 p/hr listed



What is the salary of an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) in Australia? 

LocationAnnual salary rangeHourly rate
Sydney55k - 68k
24-30

Brisbane55k - 68k24-30
Melbourne55k - 68k24-30

Combined sources: Fair Work Ombudsman Australia (2023); St Vincent's Care data (2023); Talent.com (2024); Seek (2024); Glassdoor (2024)


What does an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) do?

AINs support RNs and ENs in delivering patient care in aged care facilities. They help with basic tasks like feeding, bathing, and moving patients, as well as some basic health care tasks. 


Considerations for salaries in aged care Assistant in Nursing (AIN) roles

  1. Because AINs are usually in training, they are predominantly paid according to what year of their study they are involved in. This is also why we've listed the pay rates as similar across the three major cities.
  2. Night shift roles, weekends and public holidays will significantly increase pay if those types of shifts are secured



2 ways to grow your pay in aged care

1. Get more qualifications

Whether it's through a certificate, diploma or bachelor many of the roles in aged care will pay at least another $2 p/hr with a qualification compared to without one.

Qualification

2. Get more experience (and document it properly!)

Depending on how many hours you've accumulated in a particular role, you can be paid more.

Important note: When it comes to experience it needs to be properly documented!

Evidence of previous hours worked must be provided to your employer so they can offer the relevant pay rate in your contract.

Examples of evidence can include:

  • Statement of Service including Company Letter Head, Employee Name, Length of Service, Role, Total
  • Hours Worked in Role, signed off by a Payroll/HR Rep from the previous company or;
  • Statutory Declaration Form – complete section ‘D’ provide prior experience or;
  • A minimum of two (2) payslips within the last six (6) months stating your position and hourly rate


Parting Thoughts

Aged care is a vast industry with a vast number of roles and with that comes a lot to consider when it comes to your pay. But by getting an idea of how much you can get paid in the industry, you can decide the kind of education and career that works best for you.

Interested in working at St Vincent's aged care? Check out our careers page for active roles today.