Career paths and qualifications


Qualifications give you the formal knowledge and skills to become a quality teacher, leader or educator in early childhood education and care.

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) oversees the implementation and administration of the National Quality Framework (NQF). Most services are approved and regulated under the NQF.

The NQF sets out the minimum qualification requirements for staff working in children's education and care services.

Learn about the qualifications for each of the following career paths:

Find out about the range of leadership and management roles in early childhood education that exist outside a service.
Study an ACECQA-approved early childhood teacher qualification and have a nationally recognised qualification that lets you work in a range of early childhood services.
Find out about a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Then, you can progress to a diploma and continue growing your career.

Important information about transitional provisions ending 31 December 2021

Countdown to 1 January 2020

Early childhood teachers—Regulation 242

Until 31 December 2021, educators who are actively working towards their early childhood teacher (ECT) qualification can be taken to be an ECT. From 1 January 2022, educators will need to hold an approved early childhood teacher qualification to be considered an ECT. Please visit the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority website for more information about the transitional provision applicable to ECT qualifications and for the list of approved qualifications.

This also applies to registered, primary-qualified teachers who are working towards the ECT Bridging Program. The ECT Bridging Program will need to be completed before the end of 2021 for educators to continue to be recognised as an equivalent ECT from 2022.

Remote and very remote services

From 1 January 2022:

Regulation 240—Educators in centre-based services can be included to meet a relevant educator-to-child ratio without holding, or be actively working towards, a Certificate III qualification, in the following circumstances:

  • they have been continuously employed as an educator in an education and care service (it need not be the same service) for a period of at least 15 years up to immediately before 1 January 2012
  • they are employed by the same approved provider as the educator was employed by, immediately before 1 January 2012.

Regulation 239A—centre-based services that provide education and care to 25 or more children will need to have an ECT in attendance at the service.

More information

Qualifications list—Learn about approved (and formerly approved) qualifications.

Where you can work—Learn about the types of services where you can use your qualifications.

Course requirements—Learn about course requirements to become an early childhood teacher.

Help and support

Financial assistance—Get financial help for education study.

Free TAFE courses—Free priority TAFE courses for Year 12 graduates.

Professional development—Find out about services and resources to upgrade your qualifications.

Employment conditions—Learn about rights and entitlements and blue card requirements.

Contact us—Early Childhood information service.

Last updated 04 January 2021