Early childhood services have to employ staff who hold, or are studying towards, a nationally approved qualification to comply with the
National Quality Framework.
Different service types have slightly different requirements, however there are generally 3 levels of nationally approved qualifications to work in early childhood. These are:
- certificate III level
- diploma level
- bachelor level or above.
Note: In Queensland, outside school hours care (OSHC) qualifications are broader in range than just early childhood. An educator can be 1-year or 2-year qualified or equivalent, in an approved area of study such as nursing, sport and recreation or behavioural science. For example, you can work as an OSHC educator while you are studying your bachelor degree in behavioural science.
All approved qualifications are listed on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website.
Vocational education and training (VET)
Registered training organisations (RTOs) deliver certificate and diploma level qualifications in early childhood education and care or school aged care. There are a number of RTOs delivering early childhood VET qualifications, including TAFE Queensland.
There are many pathways you can take to become qualified:
VET in school including school-based traineeships and apprenticeships. These count towards your QCE.
Employed as an apprentice (Diploma) or trainee (Certificate III).
Study full-time at an RTO of your choice.
Study part-time at an RTO and work in an early childhood service.
Help to get there
The Government recognises the important role of early childhood teachers and educators, so is encouraging and supporting people to enter an early childhood career.
You may be eligible to enrol in your early childhood qualification fee-free.
Queensland Skills Gateway
Check if you are eligible for
Job Trainer Queensland or other government funding to reduce your fees via the
Queensland Skills Gateway.
- Find a training course – search 'early childhood'
- Am I eligible? – view 'check eligibility' tab
Before you enrol in a qualification at any registered training organisation, check that it is on the
ACECQA list of nationally approved early childhood qualifications.
Higher Education Providers
Early childhood teachers (ECTs) require a nationally approved bachelor degree or higher with an early childhood specialisation. Each university or higher education provider will have their own qualification titles and subject selections. You can study online or on campus if you prefer.
The steps to become an early childhood teacher are similar to becoming a school teacher. In fact, some nationally approved ECT qualifications also enable you to teach in the early years of school.
Teacher registration is not currently required by law to work as an ECT in Queensland, however some employers seek ECTs who are registered. The
Queensland College of Teachers can help with registration requirements.
There are prerequisites to study teaching at university. If you are in school, this means choosing the right senior subjects.
If you are changing careers, then talk to your university about how to manage prerequisites. Each university will be slightly different. Prerequisites for early childhood teaching include:
Before you enrol in a qualification at any university, check that it is on the ACECQA list of nationally approved early childhood teacher qualifications.
Pathways to a teaching qualification
There are a number of pathways to a nationally approved ECT qualification, depending on where you are on your career journey.
If you do not already hold a degree you can:
- Start your degree at school—Several Queensland universities offer programs to start degree subjects at school, or may offer you direct entry once you graduate from school.
- Start your degree after school—You may not have thought about university when leaving school and have now decided to become an ECT. You can either enter through the
Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) or through the university application process at your preferred university.
If you already hold:
- an approved early childhood qualification—speak to a university about credit towards an early childhood teaching bachelor degree.
- a degree in another field or secondary teaching degree—you can do post-graduate studies. Check the ACECQA website for approved qualification options in Masters and Graduate certifications via the link below.
- a primary teaching degree—check the ACECQA list of approved qualifications as yours might be on it. If not, you have two options:
- enrol in post-graduate studies at a university
if you are a registered teacher, enrol in either an approved diploma (up to 31 December 2021) or an approved certificate III or higher (from 1 January 2022).
Note: registered primary and secondary teachers are included from 1 January 2022.
Help to get there
The government recognises the important role of early childhood teachers and educators, so is encouraging and supporting people to enter an early childhood career.
The Australian Government has cut fees for eligible students on education degrees through the
Job-ready Graduates Package.
Eligible students can also be assisted to pay their tuition fees upfront via a student loan.
Course seeker or find out more about
career paths and qualifications.