Qualifications

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The quality of the workforce is critical to early childhood education achieving the desired learning outcomes. The single most important element of quality is the interaction between child and educator, and training and qualifications improve these interactions. Australia’s National Early Childhood Development Strategy, which paved the way for the development of the National Quality Framework for early education and care services, states:

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A primary determinant of quality in early childhood development service provision is the workforce – their qualification levels and ongoing training, their motivation, and their interaction with families and children. Workforce issues are widely regarded as the key challenge for achieving the vision for children. The early childhood workforce is central to delivering early childhood development services and bringing about fundamental cultural change required for responsive service delivery.

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As well as accredited qualifications, it is important to engage in ongoing professional learning. TheECA Code of Ethicsstates “In relation to the profession I will: engage in critical reflection, ongoing professional learning and support research that builds my knowledge and that of the profession”.  Ongoing professional learning supports educators to increase skills, knowledge and proficiency, be aware of emerging trends and explore current and new interests.

For upcoming professional learning and events please click on the ‘Events’ tab.

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FAQs

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The National Law and Regulations under which early education and care services operate determine the minimum requirements for qualifications of educators working within them (this is not the case for school-age care services at this time). The National Quality Framework stipulates that all primary contact staff in early education and care services must have at least a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, or be ‘working towards’ obtaining one, and 50 per cent of educators that are required to form a part of ratios, must have a Diploma or higher relevant qualification, or be working towards obtaining one.

 

From 1 January 2020, providers of long day care services and preschools/kindergartens are required to have a second early childhood teacher or, alternatively, a ‘suitably qualified person’ in attendance when 60 or more children preschool age or under are being educated and cared for.

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Research evidence shows that the most important aspect of quality is the nature of the interaction between the educator and the child – the development of positive nurturing relationships. When there are well-qualified educators, those relationships are more likely to occur. Educators that have obtained qualifications are also more likely to stay in the sector – this allows stability of relationships between educators and children.

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Qualifications in the education and care sector are important.

A qualification in early education and care proves that the holder of that qualification has certain skills or competencies that mean that when they undertake the task of educating and caring for children, they have the skills and knowledge that equip them to do their job in a way that will lead to positive outcomes for children.

A service can engage educators that have been trained in the main tasks they will be required to perform.

Education helps open up people’s career choices and assists people to earn higher incomes and to widen their world views. Obtaining a qualification can increase educator’s self-esteem.

Qualifications can provide formal recognition of the skills that an individual has learnt through the workplace.

A nationally recognised qualification verifies and validates the learning undertaken by an educator.

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The most common VET courses in the education and care sector are:

There is also a range of other VET courses and qualifications, such as management courses, that people working in education and care services may also study. Some people working in the sector may also choose to undertake qualifications higher than minimum requirements, because they are a great way of learning new skills or obtaining a formal qualification that is recognised across Australia.

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University degrees that give recognition as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) under the National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services across Australia are listed on the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority ACECQA website.

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