Aboriginal Health Workers

Photo: Staff at Nguiu - Alice (Team Leader Administration), Della (Trainee Aboriginal Health Worker), Anthea (Aboriginal Health Worker), Sarah (Administration Officer)

Small Font Large Font Print this page

A Career as an Aboriginal Health Worker

In the Northern Territory (NT), an Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW) is a health worker who is registered with the Aboriginal Health Worker Board of the NT. AHWs deliver primary health care including clinical care to individuals, families and groups within communities, outstations and hospitals.

AHWs work as part of a health team, providing support to members of the community, other AHWs, Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals. AHWs are usually the first point of contact at community health centres and provide a link between the cultural practices of the community and health services operated by Government or non-government organisations. They are involved in promoting good health and treating diseases and injuries. Many AHWs manage their own community health programs and can become specialists in areas, e.g. eyes, ears, women’s health, men’s health and well baby programs.

What training programs are available in the NT?

Training is available at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Alice Springs). During training, students are required to attend lectures and do work placements in community health centres. The minimum requirement for registration as an AHW is a Certificate III in Aboriginal Health Work (clinical) or Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice). In order to practice as an AHW, it is necessary to have a current practising certificate. After qualification and registration as an AHW, there are further training opportunities, including Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Degree levels.

Career Opportunities

The NT Department of Health (DoH) employs AHWs across a range of primary health and acute care settings.

In hospitals, AHWs assist in educating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients about their treatment and procedures, gaining informed consent for surgery, tests and procedures, and explaining why their course of treatment is important. AHWs also provide communication between medical staff and patients, ensuring treatment provided is culturally appropriate.

In remote settings, AHWs are able to screen, observe and treat patients according to Standard Treatment Manuals, Protocols and Guidelines. (Note: AHWs working in remote areas will require varied skills sets and demonstrated working experience due to employer requirements).

There are also employment opportunities for AHWs in specialist areas such as renal units, communicable diseases palliative care, policy, sexual health, chronic disease management and many others.

An AHW must have a current Practicing Certificate before commencing employment with DoH.


The salary range for AHWs varies depending on qualifications and experience. Salary levels range from AHW Class 2, starting at $39,983, to AHW Class 6, starting at $80,913.

For more information please contact:

Nathan Aucote, Aboriginal Health Worker Director, Central Australia on (08)8951 7821

>> Next Accommodation

"The minimum requirement for registration as an AHW is a Certificate III in Aboriginal Health Work (clinical) or Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice)."

Remote Health
Ph: (08) 8985 8002
Fax: (08) 8981 9340

Northern Territory Government of Australia © 2010 | Disclaimer / Privacy Statement | Email Web Manager