How to Become an Independent NDIS Support Worker in Australia

A comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to become an independent NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) support worker in Australia.

Ariel Community
5 min

The NDIS is a national program that aims to provide individualised support to people with disabilities to enhance their independence, social inclusion, and overall quality of life. Support workers play an exceptionally important role in supporting people with disabilities to execute and achieve all these outcomes mentioned.

An increasing number of people with disabilities in Australia are making the transition from large NDIS service providers to independent support workers. This shift is driven by the desire for more tailored support, increased choice and control, and a consistent, personalised support worker experience. Independent support workers offer individuals the flexibility to select services that align closely with their unique needs, goals, and preferences. This transition empowers individuals to take an active role in shaping their support, fostering a sense of ownership and independence over their care and contributing to a more inclusive and person-centred approach to disability support.

How do you get into Independent Support Work? Well, we’ve done the homework for you and compiled a simple guide to help you get started.

Training and Experience

The pivotal first step in embarking on a career in Independent Support Work is the assurance that you possess the requisite skills and experience to excel in this field. If you're starting with a blank slate, we strongly recommend pursuing formal training and commencing your journey by joining a larger organisation. These established entities offer valuable training and support during your initial foray into the profession. When you eventually transition to independent work, the aim is to emerge as a well-rounded professional, rich in both skill and experience. Your role involves supporting individuals in their daily lives, a task of utmost importance, complexity, and responsibility that demands unwavering dedication, attentiveness, knowledge and meticulous care.

If you have the experience and are looking for further training, here are some great resources to look to when expanding your knowledge and support in your independent support work endeavours:

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

NDIS Worker training modules and resources that are designed to support NDIS workers to understand their obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct and to better support people with disability.


TAFE offers a number of Individual Support Courses, a few that are free. This is a great opportunity for individuals to expand their knowledge and skill as a Support Worker.


DSC is Australia's leading training, conference and consulting group specialising in the NDIS. They are a fantastic resource that allows their students to access training and resources across the entire Disability Sector.

The mandatory training and certificates you will need:

NDIS Worker Check (NDISWC)


Working with Children Check (WWCC)


National Police Check


First Aid and CPR Certificate

Mandatory - You need to complete this course in-person, so will need to find a local provider. Simply google search First Aid and CPR training + your location and you should be able to find some options. CBD College is a great one if you are close to one of their locations

Mental Health First Aid Certificate

This is not mandatory, however highly recommended - Lifeline offers fantastic courses for Support Workers supporting participants with psychosocial and mental health support needs.

NDIS Code of Conduct and Worker Orientation Module – Quality, Safety and You

Mandatory - Promotes safe and ethical service delivery by setting out expectations for the conduct of both NDIS providers and workers.


Getting your ducks in a row right from the outset is paramount for individuals venturing into the realm of sole trading. As a sole trader, you shoulder the responsibility of managing various aspects, including invoicing, tax obligations, super contributions, and insurance. The encouraging aspect is that it's a manageable process thanks to the ingenuity of several businesses that have streamlined these tasks, making the journey a far more simple and efficient one.

Professional Indemnity and Liability Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance protects individuals and businesses against claims of professional negligence, while liability insurance covers legal liabilities related to third-party injuries or property damage. A great provider for this is bizcover.

Invoicing & Tax

There are so many invoicing apps and software out there, some well known ones being Xero or Square, The Mobile Invoice App is also a fantastic, simple and free option. However, we’ve found an app that goes the extra mile and is targeted towards Independent Disability Support Workers. The app is called HNRY and this app seriously does it all. It will cost you a very small fee per invoice, but the fees are tax deductible.

Here’s what HNRY does:
  • Allows you to create clients, save your custom NDIS line items/rates
  • Easy invoicing
  • Sorts your tax, including your returns, so that you don’t have to think about it - they automatically separate your tax when you get paid so that all you get in your account is your take home pay.
  • Allows you to raise and expenses and deductions 
  • Allows you free space in the comments section at the bottom of the invoice to include all essential information: Participants Name, Participants NDIS Number, Your ABN, Your Phone Number, The Dates of your support/s (you can have multiple supports in one invoice) as well as the period of support e.g. 12/12/23 9am - 3pm = 6hrs

Daily notes and Incident Reporting

Keeping record of your shift activities is essential and mandatory for the benefit of both your participant and you as a support worker. Notes ensure: 

Clear communications, consistency, and progress monitoring

Notes serve as a means of communication between support workers, allowing you to share information about the participant's needs, preferences, and any changes in their condition or goals. They also allow us to track the participant's progress over time. This is crucial for assessing the effectiveness of interventions and making necessary adjustments to the care plan. You will very likely have to collaborate with healthcare professionals, therapists, or other specialists. Notes facilitate effective communication and information sharing with these professionals.

NDIS Supporting Evidence

There’s a high chance that your notes could be used as supporting evidence at your Participants next plan review. This is so important, because it could give crucial evidence to the support needs and the daily activities of your Participant. The NDIS requires significant evidence to support funding in their plan and your notes can play a huge role in that.

Legal Documentation

In some cases, notes may be required for legal or auditing purposes. They can serve as evidence in case of disputes or inquiries related to the care provided.


Keeping notes can enhance the safety of the participant. For example, by documenting allergies or medical conditions, support workers can avoid potential health risks.


Detailed notes enable support workers to provide more personalised care by tailoring their approach to the individual needs and preferences of the participant.

Accountability & Memory Aid

Notes help support workers remain accountable for their actions and the care they provide. They can demonstrate that care is being delivered according to established standards. Support workers may need to remember specific details about each participant's care. Notes serve as a memory aid, reducing the risk of forgetting critical information.

Agency Management vs. Plan Management Vs. Self Management 

What style of plan management your Participant has will alter where you send your invoice. All you really need to know is that they are not agency managed and which email to send your invoices to. However, for your information, he’s some details on how they are different:

Agency Management

As an unregistered Independent Support Worker, you are unable to support Participants whose NDIS plans are agency managed. If a Participant would like you to support them, it’s best that they change their NDIS plan management over to Plan Managed via submitting a change of circumstances.

Plan Management

Have chosen to have their NDIS plan financially managed by a registered plan management provider. This provider pays invoices and manages the budget on behalf of the participant. When you commence supporting a new participant you will need to find out who their plan manager is and what email address you need to be sending your invoices to. Alternatively your Participant may request that you send the invoice to them and they pass it onto the Plan Manager, it’s not typical, but it’s 100% their choice and control.

Self-Managed Participants

Take on the responsibility of managing their NDIS plan budget independently. They have full control over their funds, including budgeting, paying service providers, and claiming expenses. In this case you have to send your invoice directly to your participant. 

Understanding the NDIS Pricing Arrangement and Line Items

The NDIS Pricing Arrangement (formerly known as price guide) is a comprehensive document that outlines the maximum rates and conditions for services and support that can be funded by the NDIS. It provides guidance on pricing, ensuring that service providers and participants have a clear understanding of costs, funding limitations, and payment processes. The NDIS price Arrangement is regularly updated to reflect changes in the disability sector, ensuring equitable access to necessary services and support for NDIS participants across Australia. Make sure you keep up to date with any newly released Pricing Arrangements, you can find the price guide here:

For your convenience I am going to pick out some examples of line items that you could be using and putting in your invoices. 

Please note **

  • It is important you include the line item code in your invoice e.g. 04_104_0125_6_1 so your participants plan manager knows what service you are charging for. 
  • Please also note that these examples of line items below are from the 2023-24 volume of the Pricing Arrangement, so may not be the same - please double check to ensure you have the updated pricing.
  • You cannot charge for TTP line items unless you are a TTP provider - for more information go to pg. 36 of Pricing Arrangement

Assistance with Self Care Activities

Community Access



Finding Employment Opportunities

Discovering NDIS Participants to collaborate with may initially appear daunting, but the process is more manageable than it may seem. The pivotal step in connecting with potential participants lies in creating a comprehensive package that effectively communicates your personality, credibility, experience, and qualifications. Crafting this package can be as straightforward as designing a polished PDF document through platforms like Canva, or alternatively, establishing a basic, cost-free website using platforms such as Squarespace or Wix. Your information pack should encompass the following essential components:

A Photo of Yourself

Participants are engaging in Independent Support Workers because they want to personally pick their support staff. That means they want to see who it is that might be entering their home and hanging out with them everyday. The photo doesn’t have to be super formal, a photo with your cute dog is always great.

Your Contact Details

Phone number, email etc. 

Your location and areas that you service

Do not list your address, but it’s a good idea to list the area you live so they know how far you would be driving to get to them. Listing LGA’s that you service in is also a great way to highlight upfront how far you are willing to travel to support a participant.

Your Availability

Be explicit and don’t waste people's time. E.g. I am available Monday - Friday 9am - 3pm 

Your Bio

Who are you as a person? What are your interests? This needs to be a short and sharp paragraph that will give the participant a snapshot of who you are and what you’re like as a person. Again, Participants are investing in specifically you as an individual, so it’s important that you are the right person to fit their needs. You might have all the right qualifications, but they are looking for someone who has a keen interest in sport to talk NRL with, so you might not be the right fit. That’s what person-centred support is all about!

Qualifications and Experience

you need to list all the qualifications, experience and certifications you have under your belt. It’s a good idea to attach these certificates to this PDF or link through your website. This is also a great area to specify any support areas you are passionate about supporting individuals with. E.g. I have extensive experience working with Participants that have Psychosocial support needs, this is something I am super skilled at and passionate about. 

Testimonials and References

Have any past Participants, family of Participants, or Employers willing to give a written testimonial or reference? There is nothing more reassuring or powerful than a glowing letter from a past participant that gives evidence to the amazing support worker you are. 

Now that you have your Support Worker Profile/Website together, where do you go to find the Participants? Well, there’s a few great options and this may take some initiative from you to get your name out there to find the right Participants that you pair perfectly with. Here are a few great options:

Register and list your business on the Ariel App, it’s free

The Ariel App connects people with disabilities to inclusive and accessible businesses and services in their community, businesses like yours! Despite being a sole trader, you are your own business. You might like to simply call your business [*Your Name* Independent Support Service]. Listing your business on the Ariel App will enable participants, their networks and Support Coordinators to discover your service. 

Support Coordinators (CoS)

A Support Coordinator or CoS is a designated person funded by the NDIS that connects participants to the services they need, services like yours. If you download the Ariel App and select Support Coordinator in the filters, you will be able to find some local CoS in your area. When you find a local CoS provider, it’s generally a good idea to give them a buzz, introduce yourself and let them know that you’re a new independent provider in the area and you would love to send them your Support Workers Profile/Website to forward on to any participants that may be interested in engaging a new Support Worker. Generally, people love this initiative and will respect how well-presented you are with your fabulous cold-calling skills and professional Support Worker Profile. Remember, Support Coordinators typically support anywhere from 25-40 Participants at a time, so they are an incredible resource.

Facebook Groups

If you do a quick search in Facebook Groups for something like “NDIS [your town]” or “[your town] disability support”, something usually will always pop up. Many Participants, their networks and Support Coordinators post in these groups and search for Independent Support Workers. There’s a lot of work to come from these groups! If you don’t have a FB group like this in your area, here’s your sign to make one.

In conclusion, becoming an independent NDIS support worker in Australia offers a fulfilling opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of self-employment. This transition from traditional service providers to independent work aligns with the NDIS's core principles of choice, control, and individualised support.

To embark on this journey, it's crucial to invest in comprehensive training and relevant certifications, ensuring that you're well-prepared to provide high-quality care. Equally important is the administrative aspect of sole trading, including insurance, invoicing, and record-keeping, which has been made more manageable by modern tools and services. Moreover, understanding NDIS pricing arrangements and using the appropriate line items in your invoices is key to receiving fair compensation for your services. Lastly, reaching out to potential clients, such as through the Ariel App, connecting with support coordinators, and leveraging local Facebook groups, is the bridge to establishing a successful career as an independent NDIS support worker. This shift not only empowers you to tailor your services to the unique needs and preferences of your clients but also contributes to a more inclusive and person-centred approach to disability support in Australia. By embarking on this journey, you'll not only be taking steps towards a rewarding and meaningful profession but also helping to create a more inclusive and supportive society for people with disabilities.

Article by

Ariel Community

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