Integration Aide Courses in Victoria
This article covers integration aide courses and the work of integration aides in Victorian schools. While this information is relevant to most states of Australia, its has a particular focus on Victoria - where integration aides are employed.
Integration aides are also known as teacher aides, teacher assistants and various other titles. There is however a slight difference: integration aides are employed with the specific purpose of helping children with disabilities and disorders to integrate into mainstream classroom. They can work in a range of roles and settings depending on the needs of the school, the class, the teacher and their focus student.
Completing an integration aide course with a reputable provider is the first step in your journey towards a new and exciting career as an integration aide in a Victorian school.
Completing an integration aide course with a reputable provider is the first step in your journey towards a new and exciting career as an integration aide in a Victorian school. Most integration aides complete an integration aide course such as ITAC's nationally recognised CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support or our popular Teacher Aide Combo.
For detailed and specific information pertaining to any of our nationally recognised courses, click below:
- CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support
- CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support
- Our popular Teacher Aide Combo
Learn how to choose the best provider for your needs by reading this article.
What is an integration aide?
An integration aide is a person employed by a school to assist the teacher and to support students throughout the school day. They support learners with their behaviour, learning, access to activities, activities of daily living, academic and content learning, and in many other ways. They assist the teacher with operational and logistical tasks such as developing resources and light cleaning.
By definition, integration aides work with students with disabilities and disorders. This is the primary reason for why people in these roles are required to complete a nationally recognised integration aide course such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. As an integration aide in Victoria, you are likely to work with students who have one or more of the following conditions:
- neurological and processing disorders
- physical disabilities
- behavioural challenges such as defiant disorders
- autism (ASD)
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- down syndrome
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- developmental delays.
Integration aides may also assist students who are having issues with literacy, numeracy or a range of behavioural or neurological disorders - even if the student has not been 'officially' diagnosed with the condition. In other words, the roles and responsibilities of an integration aide is many and varied, and as such, integration aides need to 'wear many hats' as they say.
Defining exactly what integration aides are expected to do in the classroom has been the topic of a number of studies. Some key findings from these studies are outlined below:
One study from 2018 investigated the effectiveness of teacher aides in 105 schools and found that trained teacher aides are much more effective when working in cooperation with the teacher.
Other studies such as this one in 2016 found that 'students with disabilities in full-day kindergarten have higher reading and mathematics outcomes at the end of kindergarten when the classroom has a teacher aide'.
A Victorian study said that the four main areas where teacher aides are focused on are 'a) inclusion in the school community, (b) curriculum, (c) classroom management, and (d) student support'.
How do I become an integration aide in Victoria?
We have written a detailed article on how to become a teacher aide which we highly recommend.
If you are considering whether to enrol in a teacher aide course, read our article on how to choose a training provider.
The most common way to become an integration aide in Victoria is to complete a nationally recognised integration aide course. The two nationally recognised courses to become an integration aide is the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. Holding one of these qualifications (from a reputable provider) is essential if you are planning to work in a Victorian school as an integration aide.
In fact, Victorian schools generally require their support staff to have completed an integration aide course before being employed - usually this means the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support given then nature and complexity of the work, and the fact that this qualification is designed for work with students with disabilities.
Holding one of these qualifications (from a reputable provider) is essential if you are planning to work in a Victorian school as an integration aide.
Anyone studying an integration aide course will learn vital skills such as working safely, managing students' behaviour, supporting literacy and numeracy development, and of course let's not forget the most important role (your bread and butter): supporting students who have a disability or disorder. This entails learning about common disorders and the strategies used by schools to support these students.
The best integration aide course to complete if you would like to work as an integration aide in Victoria is the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
The best integration aide course to complete if you would like to work as an integration aide in Victoria is the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. People at the beginning of their career may also consider the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support however this course is considered to be the introductory, basic and more general qualification.
Note that students may (at least with ITAC) go straight into the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support even if they have not completed the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support. Having a nationally recognised qualification means that you will have achieved a certain level of skill and can therefore offer high quality support to your clients (students, teachers, families - depending on how you look at it).
Are there different types of integration aides in Victoria?
There are various types of integration aides. The most common type is a special need's integration aide. These positions require the completion of a special needs integration aide course such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
In this role, the primary focus is supporting students who have one or more disabilities or disorders, and who require regular support (one-on-one). Many integration aides work in a special needs schools while others are employed in inclusive mainstream classrooms.
To learn more about what teacher aides or integration aide do, please read our detailed article on the topic: what do teacher aides do?.
A special need centre or school caters specifically and exclusively for students who have a disability or disorder, and who require specialist care, programs and support staff. The cohort for this type of school is comprised solely of students with high needs and who require near constant one-on-one support from an adult.
These positions require the completion of a special needs integration aide course such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. In this role, the primary focus is supporting students who have one or more disabilities or disorders, and who require regular support (one-on-one).
In an inclusive classroom, integration aides spend time working with non-disabled students as well as their focus student. They might spend 30%, 40% or even 50% of their time circulating around the classroom and working with whoever needs help. The rest of their time will be spent with their allocated focus student (who has additional needs). Integration aides don't spend the entire lesson with their focus student as this reduces their opportunities to learn social skills and to become independent.
Once you have completed your integration aide course and are armed with the necessary skills to effectively support students and teachers, you could find yourself working in any number of schools in Victoria including kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, k-12 schools, government and non-government schools, alternative, religious-based or a special needs school. Examples of where you MAY end up working or volunteering include:
- primary schools such as Abbotsford Primary School and Yea Primary School
- high schools such as Balwyn High School or Box Hill High School
- special needs schools such as Croxton Special School or Echuca Specialist School.
What is the best integration aide course for me?
As outlined earlier, if you're looking to work as an integration aide, we highly recommend that you consider the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
This integration aide course is known in the industry as being the best qualification to hold for those who work with students with special needs. It includes specific topics and subjects related to disabilities and focuses on implementing strategies relevant to working with students with disabilities, disorders and difficulties.
The CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support really only touches on the basics of working with students with additional needs.
While we are talking about courses, be sure to choose the right provider for you. Learn more about choosing a provider here.
How much do integration aide courses cost?
Integration aide courses vary in cost depending on your selected course. See the main course pages on our website for more details.
Are integration aide jobs hard to find?
There are thousands of schools in almost every state of Australia and Victoria is no exception. There are also tens of thousands of integration aides. In fact, many schools have a higher number of integration aides than teachers.
This is because integration aides support students one-on-one and there are often multiple integration aides working under a single coordinating teacher. Take your average special needs centre for example: it may have 10, 20, 30 or even more integration aides and only 10-15 teachers.
It may be easier to find work 2-3 days per week than a full-time position.
Many integration aides are mothers seeking to work on a part-time or casual basis (about 98% of our enrolments are female). For this reason, it may be easier to find work 2-3 days per week than a full-time position (almost like a job-share).
The easiest way to find work in this industry (at least initially) is to first complete a nationally recognised integration aide qualification, obtain your necessary clearances to work with children, put your resume together and finally ask at all schools in your area to be placed on their relief list.
Provided you have the right demeanour, dress professionally, hold the required clearances, and have completed a nationally recognised integration aide qualification with a reputable provider, you have a good chance of finding work in a local school given the sheer volume of schools and positions.
How much do integration aides get paid in Victoria?
If you are working with a special needs student in a special need's school, you will potentially be on the highest pay level.
Integration aides get paid approximately $30 per hour or just under $1000 per week according to our research.
Most integration aides however, work in special needs. If you are working with a special needs student in a mainstream classroom you will be paid more than an integration aide who is not working with a special needs student (this is not always the case - check with your school). If you are working with a special needs student in a special need's school, you will potentially be on the highest pay level.
It is worth noting that the majority of integration aides work approximately 32 hours per week. This gives you the flexibility to start work a little later and to drop kids off to school or even have a bit of a sleep in. It also means a finish time of around 3 p.m. depending on the school. Some integration aides work the full 38-hour week and are required to stay on site until around 4pm although this is not that common.
Please feel free to read our detailed blog about how much teacher aides are paid in Australia including a state by state breakdown.
What is the hardest thing about being an integration aide?
The answer to this question really depends on the individual, the student, the classroom and the quality of your initial integration aide training or course. The area that our students (as well as school staff in general) say is the most stressful and challenging is behaviour management.
If you are working with students with disabilities, you will come across a range of behavioural challenges such as runners, tantrums and other outbursts. Occasionally students may kick you, students will swear and sometimes they will 'do a runner' as they say.
These situations can be very challenging especially if you have not been trained in best practice strategies and techniques to deal with these situations as they arise. A high-quality integration aide course will give you the skills, techniques and strategies to manage a range of behavioural issues and challenges.
Can I study an integration aide course online?
Yes - Integration aide courses in Victoria are available online for the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support online. The most popular integration aide course in Victoria that we offer online is the Teacher Aide Combo.
If you wish to study an integration aide course online, check with your provider and ask as many questions as need be in order to satisfy yourself that you have chosen the right provider for you. For example, ask about the support services on offer e.g. weekly webinars, the resources that they provided (which should be developed by your trainers and not purchased), whether you can contact your trainer at any point etc.
Ensure that the provider only teaches integration aide courses as that ensures that they specialise in this area i.e. they don't offer 20 courses. Also make sure that they deliver courses using an integrated approach (all units mashed together) as opposed to a unit-by-unit structure which can mean twice as long to complete the same course.
The most popular integration aide course in Victoria that we offer online is the Teacher Aide Combo.
Another important aspect to consider is the fact that you will still need to complete a work placement of 100 hours in a Victorian school. The work placement is not an online component of your course for obvious reasons. It is important to ensure that you choose a provider who will come and see you during your work placement. This is important for a number of key reasons such as supporting your professional development and assisting if there are any issues; even the best students experience issues from time to time.
The overwhelming majority of integration aides in Victoria work with special needs students including those that have disabilities, disorders or difficulties. Some integration aides work in special needs centres or special need schools, whereas others work in inclusive mainstream classrooms. Those that work in inclusive mainstream classrooms work with students who have special needs but also spend a portion of their time working with students who do not have a disability or disorder.
Special needs integration aides are paid approximately $30 per hour and generally work 32 hours per week. It's generally easy for most people to find casual and part-time work as an integration aide once they have completed an integration aide course with a reputable provider. The most common course for integration aides in Victoria is either the Teacher Aide Combo or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.