More than 50% of Australia's sonographers are employed in the private sector, under individually negotiated or enterprise bargaining agreements. Sonographers in the public health sector are employed under a number of state based awards across Australia and under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 administered by Fair Work Commission. Sonographers are included in the definitions of Health Professional employees within the Act.
There are four levels within this award:
Level 1: Positions at level 1 are regarded as entry level health professionals and for initial years of experience. This level is the entry level for new graduates who meet the requirement to practise as a health professional (where appropriate in accordance with their professional association’s rules and be eligible for membership of their professional association) or such qualification as deemed acceptable by the employer. It is also the level for the early stages of the career of a health professional.
Level 2: A health professional at this level works independently and is required to exercise independent judgment on routine matters. They may require professional supervision from more senior members of the profession or health team when performing novel, complex, or critical tasks. They have demonstrated a commitment to CPD and may have contributed to workplace education through provision of seminars, lectures or in-services. At this level the health professional may be actively involved in quality improvement activities or research. At this level the health professional contributes to the evaluation and analysis of guidelines, policies and procedures applicable to their clinical/professional work and may be required to contribute to the supervision of discipline specific students.
Level 3: A health professional at this level would be experienced and be able to independently apply professional knowledge and judgment when performing novel, complex, or critical tasks specific to their discipline. At this level health professionals will have additional responsibilities. At this level an employee works in an area that requires high levels of specialist knowledge and skill as recognised by the employer. They may be performing across a number of recognised specialties within a discipline and/or a sole discipline specific health professional in a metropolitan, regional or rural setting who practices in professional isolation from health professionals from the same discipline. They will actively contribute to the development of professional knowledge and skills in their field of work as demonstrated by positive impacts on service delivery, positive referral patterns to area of expertise and quantifiable/measurable improvements in health outcomes.
They will be responsible for providing support for the efficient, cost effective and timely delivery of services. They may be accountable for allocation and/or expenditure of resources and may be responsible for providing regular feedback and appraisals for senior staff to improve health outcomes for customers and for maintaining a performance management system; and
Level 4: A health professional at this level applies a high level of professional judgment and knowledge when performing a wide range of novel, complex, and critical tasks, specific to their discipline. They have a proven record of achievement at a senior level, with the capacity to allocate resources, set priorities and ensure budgets are met within a large and complex organisation. They may be responsible to the executive for providing effective services and ensuring budget/strategic targets are met and supervising staff where required. They will be expected to develop/implement and deliver strategic business plans which increase the level of care to customers within a budget framework.
The ASA is not an industrial organisation, and as such, cannot provide specific advice regarding employment issues, awards or classifications. We recommend you seek advice directly from Fair Work Commission and/or your union.
However, in response to the significant difference in recognition of the role of a sonographer in Award structures across Australia, the ASA has commenced research into Award classifications for sonographers. We believe it is important to develop consistency across Australia in this respect. Work will be closely linked to the competency standards for the entry level sonographer and the future work to develop a scope of practice, competency framework for the role of an Advanced Practice Sonographer in Australia.