Within Australia, obtaining a Working With Children's Check (WWCC) is not always legally required for private tutors who are self-employed.

On the other hand, most tutors who work with minors or vulnerable populations will obtain a WWCC to give their clients and students a sense of security and peace of mind. 

A WWCC is a type of pre-employment screening that provides an official statement proving there is no known reason why the applicant is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. When you apply for a WWCC, a police background check is conducted on you for any criminal convictions that may be relevant to your decision to become a tutor. If you pass the background check, you are issued with a card that shows you have a clean record and are eligible to work with children. You must be over 18 to undertake a Working With Children's Check.

The WWCC is managed through your state government, and the nature and name of the check varies from state to state. The Working With Children Check is the most common name, used in nearly all the states. However, in Queensland the equivalent check is sometimes referred to as a Blue Card and in the Northern Territory as an Ochre Card, whilst in the Australian Capital Territory it is called the Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) check. For ease of reference, we will only be referring to WWCC in this article, but make sure you apply for the relevant check from the state you will be working in.

A WWCC is usually a requirement for people who come into contact with children and vulnerable adults as part of their work or volunteer position. The WWCC verifies that the person has no criminal record which would make them unsuitable for the position.

All qualified teachers working in mainstream education must have a WWCC, and because tutors regularly work with children and vulnerable people, it's very common for a certified tutor to obtain a background check as well, since their work is comparable to jobs in education within schools.

Whilst the legislation differs from state to state on whether tutors must have a WWCC, jobs for teachers offered through agencies will routinely ask that all the tutors working for them have a WWCC before they start working. This precaution ensures that the tutoring organisation is secure and helps to uphold high professional and personal standards.

The benefit of a WWCC, just like other qualifications or certifications, includes helping parents, students and other tutors feel a sense of safety and security and will, therefore, attract even more business to your tutoring services.

Another benefit to the WWCC is that it is valid for 5 years, so you get the check once and can show the same card to any potential clients or employers.

Which checks are available for private tutors?
Nearly all tutoring agencies will require Working with Children Checks for tutors who work with children. Source: Visualhunt

Is Everyone Working at Private Tutoring Jobs Eligible For a WWCC?

Anyone can apply for a WWCC, and it is your responsibility to hold a valid WWCC if you apply for a job that requires the check. 

Tutor jobs are often attractive for ex-teachers, who will usually hold a WWCC from their previous work in schooling. If you apply for a job through a tutoring agency, and they require a WWCC, you will usually need to organise and apply for the WWCC yourself. This is the same if you are a self-employed tutor - you will need to apply for the WWCC yourself.

The WWCC is for all kinds of tutors, no matter which subjects or study skills you teach, be it test prep, writing skills or college tutoring. You will need a WWCC whether you are helping with writing assignments or math homework assignments, conduct your sessions at a tutoring center, do home tutoring or are tutoring online. WWCCs are valid for both individual tutoring and group tutoring.  

You will also need to factor the cost of a WWCC into the expenses of your tutoring business. The application price differs between states but can range from anywhere between $50 and $150.

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How do I Obtain a WWCC for my Jobs In Education?

You can apply for a Working With Children' Check online. Because the WWCC is issued at the state level, you should apply for the WWCC from your home state, which is the state you reside in and the one where you plan to take on your tutoring jobs - either one-on-one tutoring in person or as an online tutor. If you take on online teaching jobs with students from other states or overseas, the WWCC issued from your home state should suffice.

You can click on your home state below to start the application process for a Working With Children's Check.

Victoria
New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia
Queensland
The Northern Territory
Tasmania

So, how long do I have to wait for the department to process my WWCC application? 

There isn't a specific time-frame for the processing of WWCC applications. However, most states advise that you will receive your WWCC card in the mail within 28 days. Applying online will generally see faster results than submitting a paper application. In some states, if you are applying online and have provided your email address, an official document is emailed to you the moment you submit your application. This acts as an "interim" Working With Children's Check, proving that the applicant is in the process of applying for a WWCC and is waiting on their official card in the mail. Some employers and clients will accept this as proof until you can receive your card in the mail, and allowing you to starting your tutoring job right away. However this will vary across employers, so make sure you ask your employer or client directly whether they can accept your interim document. The safest option is to apply for your Working With Children's Check well in advance of applying for or taking on any jobs for teachers, to give yourself time for the application to be processed and to receive your card in the mail. Having your physical WWCC card ready to go shows your employer or client that you are serious about your mission to assist students, understand what is generally required of you within the teaching industry and have a strong sense of professionalism. 

If you've been waiting for your WWCC for a while, know that any delay in processing your WWCC application is not automatically because of any issues with your background. Applications for WWCCs are often delayed by inaccurate information given by the applicant. In addition, most states will require at least 100 points of ID. With this in mind, make sure all the information you input, such as name, date of birth or place of residence, is correct and ensure you have submitted the correct amount of identification to pass your Working With Children's Check. If in doubt, double and triple check your application before you submit it!

Do Jobs For Teachers require a Working With Children Check or a Police Check, or both?

Sometimes there is confusion as to whether you need a Working With Children's Check, a Police Check, or both.

Type of DBS CheckPriceWhat's Included
Standard£26Check for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
Enhanced£44Same as that standard check + any additional information held by local police that is considered relevant to the role being applied for
Enhanced with List Checks£44Same as the enhanced check + check of the DBS barred lists

In Australia, any employer that offers you jobs with children will usually require you to have a Working With Children's Check. Some tutors may wonder how this differs from a Police Check and if they need both checks. However, whilst an employer can ask for a Police Check alongside your Working With Children Check, this is very uncommon.

This is for many reasons. Firstly, the Working With Children Check allows the holder to work with children and vulnerable adults, whilst a Police Check on its own does not. Also, a Police Check only shows your criminal record at the time it is conducted, whilst anyone holding a WWCC has their criminal record monitored throughout the period that the check is valid (usually five years), and the card can be canceled or revoked if an offense is committed that disqualifies someone from working with children. This means the Working With Children Check is specifically designed to give ongoing security to the holder and their clients and students. 

Once you have passed your Working With Children Check, the card that is sent to you can be shown across different jobs and positions. This means, for example, that you can use the same WWCC for your private tutoring jobs, for any jobs for teachers offered to you by tutoring companies, or any volunteering roles with children or vulnerable adults, such as coaching the local under 15s rugby team. 

If you are still curious about the differences between a Working With Children's Check and a Police Check, you can find out more here

Another good advantage to the WWCC is that it not only allows you to work for any businesses requiring their employees to get checked but your check will give peace of mind to your prospective students' parents, as your private tutoring business will be perceived as a safe environment for student learning.

If you are on the path to becoming a tutor and are advertising your study support services or online tutoring services, make sure you mention that you hold a current WWCC in all of your marketing materials. When a prospective student or their parent sets out to find a tutor, they are more likely to choose someone who holds the WWCC card. In this way WWCC is designed to show whether someone is suitable for work involving children or vulnerable adults, and it also gives you advantages when advertising yourself. For example, maybe you are just starting out and taking on your first jobs in education, and may not don't have any previous teaching experience. By holding a WWCC, you show prospective parents and clients that you are someone who cares about students' well-being and their parents' peace of mind, whilst also being passionate about giving tailored academic support to their tutee, passing on academic skills within their subject area.

Ensuring you have a valid WWCC will show a degree of seriousness regarding your role as a one-on-one tutor - this quality makes you highly desirable to parents searching through the tutoring market for someone they can entrust with their their children's wellbeing and academic success.

You can mention on your marketing materials that you hold a current Working With Children's Check - this means printing it on your leaflets and posters, as well as listing it on social media profiles for your business and on any online adverts for your tutoring service. 

As a majority of tutoring jobs are with children, mentioning that you hold a Working With Children's Check is very common within the tutoring industry. A mention of your WWCC would normally go alongside any other major achievements and qualifications such as degrees or diplomas the tutor may hold. WWCC is therefore a big asset to your tutoring profile and will give a sense of security and professionalism to any potential clients

Proving My Identity For My Tutoring Jobs: What Documentation Do I Need?

The exact documentation required for a WWCC will vary depending on the state you are applying in. Most states, however, require at least 100 points of identity documentation. This system is very common in Australia, and is used for many processes that require identity verification, such as opening a bank account or applying for a passport. With this system, different "point ratings" are given to certain pieces of documentation. A birth certificate or current passport are two of the strongest pieces of identification, worth 70 points each, whilst a credit card with your name and signature on it is one of the weakest, worth only 25 points. There are also many more types of identification you can use, all with different points ratings. When applying for a WWCC, the documents you provide to prove your identity must add up to over 100 points in total. You will often also be asked to provide at least one document that proves your place of residence, such as a rental contract or utility bill with your name on it. 

Again, the process and documents required differ a little from state to state, so make sure you check out your home state from the list above to see which documentation they require for a successful WWCC. The application website will tell you which kinds of identity documentation you must submit.

Also, read more about how to how to turn your tutoring program into lively classes for student success and peak academic performance.

Once I have a Working with Children's Check, How Long are my Tutor Jobs Covered?

A Working With Children Check is usually valid for 5 years. However, this may differ from state to state, so be sure to check out the information on your home state in the list above. Your criminal record is monitored for the duration of the 5 years, and if you commit an offense that would disqualify you from holding a WWCC, your card can be canceled or revoked and you will be barred from tutoring students who are underage. Once you have a valid Working With Children Check and have supplied it to your employer or clients, you won't have to provide another one for another five years.

Make sure you keep a record of the date you passed the Working With Children Check and when it will expire. You may want to put the expiry date in your calendar, or even set up a reminder for six months before your WWC expires. Many states allow you to apply for your WWCC to be renewed up to six months before your current WWCC has expired, so you are continuously covered. For some states, the renewal fee will be lower than the price you paid for your first WWCC, whilst in others you must pay the application fee in full again each time you renew.

Your Working With Children Check has a specific security feature that allows employers such as tutoring centers or clients such as parents or carers to verify that your check is valid and genuine. This is the unique identification number that comes with your check. Your employer or client can input this number online at the relevant state website, and the website will verify that your check is real. If they also provide their email during this process, they will receive an update from the government if, for any reason, your card is canceled or revoked.

All checks may not always be necasary but they offer credibility and security to parents and students.
A Working With Children Check is essential for any professional tutor. Source: StockSnap

Now you understand the necessity of a Working With Children Check for tutoring jobs, read up about the legal responsibilities within your tutor jobs, or how to report any income you earn through tutoring jobs and the types of insurance available to cover your tutoring service.

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