Qualifications you need to gain your big role

Early childhood educators are skilled professionals. That means you need a qualification to do the job.

Lots of support is available to help you find your role in early learning and care. You can choose to get qualified first or find a job in the sector that enables you to study while you’re working.

Some early learning and care providers also offer traineeships, so you can earn while you learn.

You can find a full list of approved qualifications here.
Even better news? There’s also government financial support available for many early childhood qualifications.

  • Vocational study
  • University study

The fastest way to become qualified to work as an early childhood educator is through vocational study. This means gaining a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, which can lead on to a Diploma. These two qualifications can be delivered through a registered training organisation (RTO), which may be privately operated or government-owned.

Many early learning and care providers offer traineeships, so you can work as an educator while you gain your qualification through an RTO. Four members of the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia operate their own RTOs: bestchance, C&K College of Early Childhood, [email protected] and Goodstart Early Learning.

Course options

  • Certificate III

    A Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care takes up to 18 months to complete. The Certificate III can be undertaken as part of a traineeship, meaning that you work while studying part-time.

  • Diploma

    A Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care takes up to two years to complete. From July 2021, you will need a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in order to gain entry to the Diploma course.

  • Bachelor degree

    Some RTOs offer a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care, enabling you to become a fully qualified early childhood teacher. A Bachelor degree takes four years to complete (full-time).

  • Study types

    There are options for studying full-time, part-time and online. Course start dates vary. While many courses start early in the calendar year, others are available for mid-year entry. Traineeships begin throughout the year.

Find vocational courses near you

Whether you’ve never studied at university before, or already have a degree, there are plenty of options for gaining your early childhood teaching qualification. Once you become an early childhood teacher, you can deliver preschool/kindergarten programs in preschools, kindergartens and long day care centres.

Course options

  • Bachelor degree

    Many universities (and some RTOs) offer a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. This is a four-year degree (full-time).

  • Graduate Diploma

    If you already have a Bachelor degree (in any field), you may be able to undertake a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. This will take one year and qualifies you as an early childhood teacher.

  • Student fees cut

    From 2021, the Australian Government has cut the student fees for education degrees by up to 75%. There's never been a better time to become an early childhood teacher!

  • Study types

    University courses can be undertaken full-time, part-time and online. Course start dates vary. While many courses start early in the calendar year, you can start others mid-year.

Find the university course that’s right for you by visiting – https://www.courseseeker.edu.au

Financial support for your studies

Many governments around Australia are offering financial support to help you gain your qualification in early childhood education and care. Find out what’s available in your area.

  • NSW
  • VIC
  • QLD
  • TAS
  • SA
  • WA
  • ACT
  • NT

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Smart and Skilled:
Fee-free scholarships for eligible applicants (aged 30 or under; in receipt of welfare payments; or victims of family violence).
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarships:
Up to $20,000 for Aboriginal students undertaking a four-year equivalent Bachelor-level early childhood education teaching qualification, plus mentoring and other support.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Free TAFE:
For a wide range of applicants, including those aged under 20; those looking to change careers; and retrenched workers.
Visit the site

Early childhood Aboriginal pathway scholarships:
$2,500 towards a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, or $5,000 towards a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Scholarships and Incentives Program:
Up to $25,000 per student, and up to $34,000 for Aboriginal students.
Visit the site

Accelerated early childhood education program:
A fast-tracked Bachelor degree for Diploma-qualified educators working in a funded kindergarten program ($30,000 for course fees, materials and living expenses).
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Postgraduate courses

Early Childhood Scholarships and Incentives Program:
For students undertaking a Masters degree: up to $18,000, or up to $24,000 for Aboriginal students.
For students undertaking a graduate diploma: up to $12,000, or up to $16,000 for Aboriginal students.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Free TAFE:
For all Queenslanders aged under 25 who do not already hold a qualification.
Visit the site

Free traineeships:
For those aged under 21, for Certificate III and Diploma courses.
Visit the site

Remote Area Teacher Education Program:
In-community study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates, delivered through TAFE Queensland North.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Aspiring Teacher Grant:
A grant of at least $2,500 in the first semester of your Education degree.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:
Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer will be extended into 2022 and 2023 - program details are currently being finalised.
Visit the site

Also see the tailored WA JobTrainer site.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

JobTrainer:

Free or low-fee courses to eligible applicants, including all 17-24 year-olds and anyone out of work or receiving an income support payment. JobTrainer was renewed in the ACT in November 2022.
Visit the site

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:

Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:

Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Early Childhood Degree Scholarship Program:

Up to $25,000 for current staff of early learning and care services to undertake a degree in early childhood education.

Visit the site

Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

Bachelor/Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships:
Up to $18,000 for students in rural and regional Australia undertaking a qualification from Certificate IV to PhD level.
Visit the site

You might know them as ‘childcare workers’ but their role is far bigger than that. We know them as early childhood educators and they change lives. Find out how they guide children’s learning and development, to give every child the best chance in life. Discover what an incredible role they play in little lives.

Could you become an early childhood educator and play a big role in little lives?

Answer eight questions to see if you’re on the right track.

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