How To Become an Early Childhood Manager or Director

As an Early Childhood Manager or Director, you’ll ensure that all of the children at your early learning service are thriving and that the educators under your direction make a great team.

What is an early childhood manager or director?

An early childhood centre manager or director is a leader. They direct staff; oversee daily activities; prepare plans to keep their programs running smoothly; and stay up-to-date on new developments that affect their service, such as changes to government regulations. Ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring their service meets the National Quality Standard for early learning and care services.

Managers and directors work in partnership with parents and carers, to understand the best ways to help their children learn and thrive. They collaborate with other organisations to find specialised support for those children and families who need it.

How to become an early childhood manager or director in Australia

If you want to become an early childhood manager or director, there are a few things you need to know.

You will need a qualification in early childhood education and care, which could be a diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

To get a job as an early childhood manager or director, you’ll also need to have several years of experience working in an early childhood setting. Finally, you’ll need to be able to pass a background check and have a clean criminal record.


The minimum requirement to be an early childhood manager or director is a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. It takes around 12-24 months to complete, depending on whether you study full-time or part-time. You will need to complete a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care first, before you can enrol in the diploma course.

You can complete a diploma while you work, studying part-time. 

Degree programs in early childhood education cover subjects such as child development; strategies for teaching young children; and supporting a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. These typically require 4 years of full-time study to complete – but only 1-2 years if you already hold a diploma.

Work Experience and Jobs

Many early learning and care providers offer traineeships, so you can work as an educator while you gain your qualification.

ELACCA members operate more than 2,300 early learning and care services across Australia, educating and nurturing more than 243,000 children. Together, our members provide 25 per cent of the nation’s early learning and care places. Reach out to our member network to learn how to become an early childhood educator (childcare worker) in Australia..

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