How to become a Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators care for the social, emotional, physical and educational needs of infants and young children in various care settings.

Personal requirements of a Early Childhood Educator

  • Alert, observant and active
  • Able to use judgment and initiative
  • Willing to accept responsibility
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to relate well to children and their parents
  • Patient
  • Able to lift children and equipment

Education & Training for a Early Childhood Educator

To become an early childhood educator you usually have to complete a VET qualification in early childhood education and care or school age education and care. Applicants may be required to attend an interview. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become an early childhood educator through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Early Childhood Education and Care or School Age Education and Care. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators may perform the following tasks:

  • plan and implement developmental programs based on observation of individual children
  • observe and record children’s growth, behaviour and development, and discuss these with parents
  • integrate children with special needs into the program, modifying the program and the physical environment if necessary
  • supervise and train staff
  • prepare play and learning materials and set up the children’s environment
  • supervise children’s play, ensuring their physical safety at all times
  • help children with daily routines such as toileting, dressing, eating and sleeping
  • guide children’s behaviour and social development
  • prepare light snacks and meals
  • maintain a safe, clean and appealing environment
  • perform basic first aid in emergencies.

Working conditions for a Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators' duties and hours of work vary. Shiftwork is often required. Early childhood educators often share basic tasks and work in teams. They spend long periods on their feet and often have to lift and carry children and move equipment.

Employment Opportunities for a Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators are employed in private, government and community-based childcare centres, kindergartens and creches. They may also work in hospitals, women’s shelters and neighbourhood houses. Experienced, fully qualified early childhood educators may progress to coordinate or manage a licensed childcare centre. While this is a growing occupation, it is also very popular and competition for jobs may be strong. Self-employment prospects exist by becoming a registered family day care provider in your own home. See the separate entry for Family Day Care Educator.


Out-of-school Services Worker

An out-of-school services worker provides stimulating and developmentally appropriate activities for children aged five to twelve years. Hours of duty vary for after-school and vacation care (ranging from part time or casual to full time).

Additional Information
To work in child care, you need to obtain a Working with Children Check or undergo a related assessment. A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. You must also hold an approved Provide First Aid Certificate and have completed training in anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management. Contact the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority for more information.
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