Early childhood teaching qualifications

Under the National Quality Framework, centre-based services must engage or have access to an early childhood teacher based on the number and age of children at the service (table below).

You can be counted as an early childhood teacher if you:

  • hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification
  • hold a former approved early childhood teaching qualification that was commenced before 1 January 2012
  • hold a qualification that ACECQA has determined to be an equivalent early childhood teacher qualification.

If you are ‘actively working towards’ your early childhood teaching qualification, you may still be counted towards the educator to child ratios. Learn more about this

Search the list of approved qualifications or use our qualifications checker to see if you are qualified to work in a centre-based education and care service with children under school age (e.g. preschool, kindergarten, long day care). Additional teacher registration requirements may also apply in your state or territory.

A summary of the early childhood teacher requirements for centre-based services is set out below.

 
Number of childrenEarly childhood teacher requirement
Fewer than 25 approved places at the service or
fewer than 25 children in attendance 
From 1 Jan 2014 in all states and territories
At least 20 per cent of the time that the service provides education and care, the service must have access to an early childhood teacher working with the service.
25 to 59 children in attendance on any given dayFrom 1 Jan 2014 in all states and territories
Saving provision applies in NSW*

If a service operates for 50 or more hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance at the service for six hours on the given day.

If a service operates for less than 50 hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance for 60 per cent of the operating hours of the service on the given day.

These requirements do not apply if the service has 25‑59 approved places, and employs or engages a full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher at the service.

60-80 children in attendance on any given day   From 1 Jan 2014 in VIC, QLD, SA, TAS, ACT, NT
Saving provision applies in NSW*

If a service operates for 50 or more hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance at the service for six hours on the given day. 

If a service operates for less than 50 hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance for 60% of the operating hours of the service on the given day.

These requirements do not apply if the service has 60 to 80 approved places, and employs or engages a full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher at the service.

From 1 Jan 2020 in VIC, QLD, SA, WA, TAS, ACT, NT
Saving provision applies in NSW*

If a service operates for 50 or more hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance at the service for six hours on the given day, and second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person must be in attendance at the service for at least three hours on the given day.

If a service operates for less than 50 hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance for 60 per cent of the operating hours of the service on the given day, and a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for at least 30 per cent of the operating hours on that day.

These requirements do not apply if the service has 60 to 80 approved places, and employs or engages a full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher at the service, and employs or engages a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person for half the hours or full time equivalent hours at the service.

More than 80 children in attendance on any given dayFrom 1 Jan 2014 in VIC, QLD, SA, WA, TAS, ACT, NT
Saving provision applies in NSW*

If a service operates for 50 or more hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance at the service for six hours on the given day.

If a service operates for less than 50 hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance for 60 per cent of the operating hours of the service on the given day.

These requirements do not apply if the service has more than 80 approved places, and employs or engages a full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher at the service.

From 1 Jan 2020 in VIC, QLD, SA, WA, TAS, ACT, NT
Saving provision applies in NSW*

If a service operates for 50 or more hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance at the service for six hours on the given day, and a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person must be in attendance at the service for at least six hours on the given day.

If a service operates for less than 50 hours a week, an early childhood teacher must be in attendance for 60 per cent of the operating hours of the service on the given day, and a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for at least 60 per cent of the operating hours on that day.

These requirements do not apply if the service has more than 80 approved places, and employs or engages a full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher at the service, and employs or engages a second full time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person at the service.

*See Regulation 272.