Thinking about becoming a teacher aide (learning support officer) in NSW? This article will introduce you to the training and employment options available in New South Wales, and also answers many of the common questions that we get about the Certificate III and IV in School Based Education Support.
Study the introductory CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support if you wish to work in a mainstream class, or the more advanced CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support if you wish to work with students with disabilities and disorders.
Only at ITAC will you develop a professional level of pedagogical skills and knowledge; making you a high performing teaching aide or learning support officer (LSO) in any of NSW’s 3000+ schools.
To learn more about any of our popular, research-based teacher aide courses, click on any of the links below:
The CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support is the most popular teacher aide course in New South Wales for anyone intending to work as a learning support officer (LSO). This is the introductory course that covers all of the basics of working as an LSO or teacher aide. It does not qualify you to work with students with disabilities or disorders however, although some LSOs who hold the Cert III in School Based Education Support may be asked to do so.
The second option is the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. If you want to work with students with disabilities, disorders and other difficulties (e.g. autism, ADHD, intellectual disability), then this is the course for you.
We recommend the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support or the Teacher Aide Combo as both courses provide graduates with the highest level of skills, confidence and employability. In fact, the vast majority of our students enrol directly into one of these two programs.
Graduates of either the introductory CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the higher and more advanced CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support may seek employment in one or more of NSW’s 3103 schools (Source: ABS).
According to government statistics, in 2019 more than 560,000 students were enrolled in a public school in New South Wales, and more than 273,000 students were enrolled in a non-government school in NSW.
With approximately 30% of school staff being employed as teacher aides or learning support officers, thousands of opportunities come up each year in practically all areas around NSW. If you want to take a look at the current opportunities being advertised, check out SEEK, the Education Department’s Careers website or the Catholic School’s NSW website.
Note that we estimate that fewer than 1% of LSO jobs in NSW are actually advertised - most go to qualified LSOs that already work in the school or who are known by the school e.g. they have worked casually for some time.
By searching for “learning support” on the I Work For NSW government site, you will find a range of vacancies advertised at any one time. Almost all successful applicants for such positions in New South Wales will hold a qualification from a reputable provider such as ITAC and most tend to have the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
This course is designed and developed specifically for LSOs who undertake learning, behavioural and other support tasks with children with disabilities and disorders. As 80% or more of the jobs out there for LSOs and teacher aides are for working with such students, schools logically search for staff with the higher qualification.
The CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support is also accepted by schools as it is the introductory teacher aide course that many support workers complete initially. However, nowadays, students can go straight into the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support without having first completed the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support (at least at ITAC they can - most providers don't offer the higher level course).
Applicants for teacher aide or LSO positions in NSW must also show that they can meet the requirments of the role. This includes being able to:
The only way to learn these skills is to complete a research-based, nationally recognised qualification. Learn these vital skills by enrolling in one of ITAC’s best practice, research-based teacher aide course. ITAC is the go-to provider for teacher aide courses in New South Wales - in fact, we have graduates in hundreds of schools across the state.
With economic volatility and job market fluctuations in other industries, a stable career in the NSW education sector attracts many to this industry. The simple fact of the matter is that student numbers will continue to increase over time as will the number of students who need LSO support. This means more and teacher aides will be needed in the future. Plus, family friendly hours and the ability to work anywhere in Australia means becoming qualified gives you options.
According to the Australian government’s Job Outlook website the education support industry is a ‘very large occupation’ and its growth expectation is ‘very strong’ (the highest possible rating).
To work in a school as a teacher aide or LSO in New South Wales, you will first need to complete a qualification such as the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. These are the two qualifications that all schools in New South Wales require.
A popular option is ITAC’s Teacher Aide Combo. This program provides maximum employment prospects because graduates have more skills and knowledge than someone who has only completed a single qualification. The combo saves time and money and is the only genuine 'combo' available in Australia (i.e. it combins all units together as opposed to studying them unit-by-unit). To learn more about how to become a teacher aide in NSW we recommend reading this detailed article on the topic.
ITAC offer both the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support in New South Wales online.
Students access learning materials and complete activities (such as watching lectures and webinars) by logging into our in-house developed student portal. Students follow a simple, structured, self-paced and fully supported learning program.
They also receive unlimited support and guidance from their experienced and friendly trainer – one reason for why our course completion rate is 3x the national average according to the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training.
For those enrolled in either qualifications in NSW, key topics include behaviour management strategies such as ‘with-it-ness’ and proximity. Students also study a range of instructional strategies such as:
In the higher level CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support, a greater emphasis is placed on working with students with disabilities, disorders, difficulties, and complex needs (including multiple disabilities or comorbidities). Students learn to work with:
Both education support qualifications require a 100-hour placement - this usually equates to around 16 days. Students usually find a placement in a local public or private school, and many do this by asking people who they know and who work in a school. Many students choose to work in the area of special needs as there are ample job opportunities in this area.
Given the growing number of children who need the support of an LSO (see for example this article), the higher-level CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is recommended because it provides graduates with maximum employment prospects (even for those not intending to work with students with disabilities and disorders).
To complete the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support, students need to devote approximately 600 hours to their studies (including a 100-hour work placement in a local school). The course is largely self-paced meaning the length of time it takes to complete the course depends on how much time the student can devote to their studies each week.
The estimated 600-hour duration may be extended for those who need additional support such as for students who struggle with English. On the other hand, it may be reduced for those with experience with children (including parents or childcare workers).
Those who have worked and/or studied in a related field or who have completed higher level qualifications (in any field) are also likely to require less time to complete the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support - for some, it takes half the amount of time.
While some students may finish sooner than others, many are busy juggling life’s demands and commitments. For this reason, many study part-time or ‘casually’ with the occasional block of concentrated or intensive study. This is the best part about studying a self-paced online course – you can study an hour this week, 30 hours the next week, 5 hours the week after that and so on. While the study schedule is very flexible, support is only a phone call or click away.
Most students go straight into the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support, although some applicants are advised to begin with the lower level qualification for certain reasons e.g. language concerns.
The CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support is the basic introductory course for teacher aides and LSOs in NSW, while the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is the more advanced course that covers working with students with disabilities and disorders.
Both qualifications cover:
The CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support devotes more time to applying instructional and behavioural strategies to supporting children with disabilities and disorders.
For this reason, and given that most work in schools for teacher aides involves children with disabilities or disorders, we strongly recommend the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support or the very popular Teacher Aide Combo.
To be a teacher aide or LSO in NSW you will need to complete an education support qualification such as the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
The most popular course in Australia is currently the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support, however the most sought-after graduates hold the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. For this reason we recommend the higher level course and in particualr the Teacher Aide Combo which combines the two.
ITAC’s unique Teacher Aide Combo is popular because it provides two qualifications for not much more than the cost of the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support (saving $2100 compared to enrolling in two separate courses).
This option gives students maximum bang for their buck as well as supercharges their resume with two qualifications. Our Teacher Aide Combo is a true 'combo' in that we combine or mash all units from both courses together (as opposed to studying dozens of units individually which means little in the way of time-saving).
There are literally thousands of schools in NSW so there are certainly plenty of opportunities out there. Many schools employ dozens of teacher aides (LSOs) so chances are there are positions available in your local area right now.
However, that doesn’t mean finding a teacher aide job is always easy. Some areas, such as kindy and lower grades, are highly sought after, so it's important to have a nationally recognised qualification on your resume.
Thinking about high school, special schools (SSP) and other options such as schools outside your immediate area, will also boost your chances of finding employment sooner rather than later.
There are however several things that you can do to boost your chances of finding work as a teacher aide or LSO in any one of NSW’s many public or private schools:
Remember this is only for the first year (often first few months) or so, but it's a really good way to get your foot in the door. Once schools get to know you and are happy with your work ethic and professionalism, you'll have plenty of work coming your way. After awhile, schools will hopefully offer you long-term contracts and even permanency when such positions become available.
If you're thinking about becoming a teacher aide or LSO in NSW, your first step is to enrol in a nationally recognised course with a reputable provider. Then start putting your resume together and obtain your clearances to work with children (your provider will help with this). There are plenty of opportunities in New South Wales once you have learnt the essential skills, techniques and strategies that LSO's in NSW are expected to master.
To learn these skills, we recommend the higher level course: CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support or the Teacher Aide Combo. With thousands of graduates, decades of experience, and our industry-leading expertise and resources – ITAC continues to be the ‘go-to’ provider for teacher aide courses in New South Wales.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
The introductory teacher aide course for anyone seeking to work as a support worker.LEARN MORE
Maximise your job prospects and skills with the highest level teacher aide course.LEARN MORE
Turbo charge your resume and save $2100 with our most popular teacher aide course.LEARN MORE
View resources and materials from our research-based, best practice teacher aide courses.LEARN MORE
The introductory teacher aide course covering all the basics of working in a school.LEARN MORE
The industry standard TA course with a focus on disabilities and disorders.LEARN MORE
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The Institute of Teacher Aide Courses is the go-to provider for nationally recognised teacher aide courses. Around 1 in 2 students choose to study Australia's most popular TA course with ITAC.