Frequently asked questions

Answers to commonly raised queries.

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

Qualifications

We have a qualifications checker which helps you to determine whether your qualifications are recognised under the NQF. If your qualification is listed and meets the requirements on the list, you can work at the level specified.

First you should check to see if your qualification is approved. If your qualification is published on the approved NQF Qualifications List and meets the requirements on the list, you can work at the level specified.
 
If your qualification is not on this list, you can apply to us to have your qualification assessed under the NQF. 

If you are applying for a skilled migration visa under the Child Care Centre Manager or Child Care Worker (group leaders only) occupations you will require a Skills Assessment. This is a separate application to the qualification assessment function under the NQF. Please refer to the Skilled Migration section of our website.

Please note: If you require an assessment under the NQF and a Skills Assessment for migration purposes, you will only need to submit a Skills Assessment Application. We will automatically assess for both purposes if you do not hold an NQF approved qualification.

 

You will need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. We accept the following as evidence of proficiency:

  • one year of full-time tertiary or higher education level study in either: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, or
  • a score of seven (7.0) or more in the reading and writing components, and a score of eight (8.0) or more in the speaking and listening components, in the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam in the last two years.

We may not be able to assess your qualifications without this evidence. If you have concerns, please contact us on 1300 422 327

If you are 'actively working towards' an ACECQA approved qualification (certificate III, diploma or early childhood teaching), you may be counted towards qualification requirements. Read more about actively working towards a qualification.

We publish and maintain a list of qualifications approved in each state and territory for working with school aged children. Check the below list of to see if your qualification is approved in the state or territory in which you plan to work:

Qualifications for working with school age children

There are a number of broad categories on this list. If you are unsure whether your qualification fits into one of these categories, we can help. Please email [email protected] a copy of your certificate, academic transcript and tell us which state or territory you want to work in and we will let you know.

If your qualification is not listed, you can apply to have it assessed.

To work as an early childhood teacher (ECT), or a diploma or certificate III level educator in early childhood education and care, you must hold (or in some circumstances be actively working towards) an ACECQA approved qualification. A primary or secondary teaching qualification on its own is generally not equivalent to an approved early childhood education and care qualification under the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

A transitional measure for primary and secondary school teachers may apply to you. Educators must obtain this combination of qualifications before the end of 2023 to continue to be recognised under this measure after 2023.

If you don’t currently hold an ACECQA approved certificate III level (or higher) qualification, you may choose to enrol in one. We publish a list of approved qualifications you can review to make an appropriate choice. You can discuss recognition of prior learning with training organisations or universities offering approved courses.

This transitional measure interacts with the ‘actively working towards’ provisions outlined in Regulation 10 and the ‘taken to be an ECT’ provision outlined in Regulation 242.

Registration is not a requirement for early childhood teachers (ECTs) under the National Quality Framework (NQF) but it is a requirement under some state and territory legislation.

The early childhood teacher registration and accreditation page lists the requirements for teacher registration in each state and territory.

Services must always have staff with current approved qualifications on duty and immediately be available in an emergency. One staff member may hold one or more of the qualifications. 

We publish a list of approved first aid qualifications, anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training.

Please refer to the first aid qualifications and training requirements for more information.

Regulation 126 allows individuals who do not hold, and are not actively working towards, an approved qualification to be counted towards the requirement for certificate III level educators (regulation 126 (1A)) for a three month probationary period.

This regulation only applies to centre-based services caring for children preschool age and under, and does not apply in New South Wales.

The probationary period is linked to the approved provider. This means the probationary period is not extended if an individual moves to another service operated by the same approved provider once the three month probationary period expires. However, if an individual is employed by a different approved provider, they will be eligible for another three month probationary period.

Quality assessment and rating

The regulatory authority in your state or territory is responsible for the quality assessment and rating of services.

Please refer to the list of regulatory authority contact details.

Each state and territory has a regulatory authority responsible for conducting assessment and rating of education and care services. When regulatory authorities schedule quality rating assessments, the goal is to assess and rate the quality of services, drive continuous improvement and keep information for families and communities accurate and up to date.

To focus resources on services most in need of service improvement, the actions of regulatory authorities are responsive and risk-based. Services with a lower quality rating will be re-rated more frequently. Services with higher quality ratings will generally have a longer period of time between assessment and rating visits in recognition of their ability to operate above the National Quality Standard (NQS).

Regulatory authorities consider the following factors when managing assessment and rating schedules:

  • The quality rating of a service when previously assessed, including results against the quality area, standard and element level.
  • A change in service attributes that could be reasonably considered to affect the service’s quality – for example, changes in provider or service management.
  • Events that occur at the service – for example, serious incidents, complaints or non-compliance with the National Law can indicate a change in quality and a higher scheduling priority.
  • The length of time since the last assessment – for example, over time a quality rating can lose its currency and value for families.

Each regulatory authority manages its assessment schedule in a responsive manner, making adjustments to the schedule as new information emerges and making best use of available resources.

Regulatory authorities make unscheduled and scheduled visits to services in addition to assessment and rating visits. These include monitoring, spot check and compliance visits to ensure the service is operating within the national legislation.

Complaints

We encourage you to raise any concerns you have with the service in the first place. Every service must have a complaints handling policy that they should follow. You can ask to see this.

If you are not happy with the response you get from the service, you can make a complaint to the regulatory authority in your state or territory.

We welcome your feedback. Please contact [email protected] or phone 1300 422 327 in the first instance.

If you are not happy with the way we have handled your complaint, you can contact the National Education and Care Services FOI & Privacy Commissioners & Ombudsman.

General

Our website lists the ratio requirements in each state and territory. Individuals from centre based services can use the calculator to work out how many educators are needed at a given time.

The approved provider and nominated supervisor are responsible for ensuring children are adequately supervised at all times (section 165 of the National Law).

A number of factors may be considered when determining if supervision is adequate, including:

  • the number, age, ability and individual needs of children
  • the number and positioning of educators
  • each child’s current activity
  • areas where children are playing, in particular the visibility and accessibility
  • risks in the environment and of experiences provided to children
  • the educators’ knowledge of each child and each group of children
  • the experience, knowledge and skill of each educator.

Meeting the educator-to-child ratio requirements may not always mean there is adequate supervision. At times services may need to provide additional educators to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times, for example, when going on an excursion or when children are engaged in a water activity.

More information about adequate supervision is in the Guide to the NQF.

Approved providers can change information by making updates in the National Quality Agenda IT System or contacting the regulatory authority in their state and territory.

To update details in the NQA ITS, the approved provider will need to register a NQA ITS account and then link it to the provider approval number. They can then edit details about the service.

For help navigating the NQA ITS and for information about how to update the details, please see the getting started online guidance and more comprehensive user guide documents on our website.

The regulatory authority is responsible for updating the details so if you have questions about the information listed, please contact them.

Yes. Visit the Opening a new service page on the ACECQA website for lots of information.

The Fair Work Ombudsman manages and provides information and advice about Australia's workplace rights and rules.

You can use the 'Find my award' function to search the award you may fall under.

Visit the StartingBlocks.gov.au website for information about choosing and using a quality education and care service, including finding services in your area, service fees and vacancies, and things to look for and questions to ask when visiting a service. StartingBlocks.gov.au is brought to you by ACECQA and is now the free national government one stop shop for families.

Joined-up National Law and Family Assistance Law (for CCS) Provider/Service

To obtain access to the NQA ITS you will need to register as a NQA IT System (NQA ITS) user. Click the Log in / Register button on this page. For help with the NQA ITS registration process, refer to the Getting Started Online user guide or email [email protected].

If you have already created an account, enter your username and password on the NQA ITS sign in page, then select Sign in. To reset your password, select Forgotten Password.

PRODA (Provider Digital Access) is an online identity verification system that strengthens the security of personal information for new Persons with Management or Control (PMC). From 1 July 2023, all new PMCs need to create a PRODA account (also known as a PRODA ID).

When creating a PRODA account you will be provided an individual Registration Authority (RA) number. Your RA number is used to verify your identity when applying for new provider and service approvals through the NQA ITS. It is also required as part of notifying the state or territory regulatory authority and/or the Australian Government of any new PMCs.

You will be able to verify your identity by entering your RA number into the NQA ITS field as illustrated below.

PRODA entry field

Using the terminology ‘’Creating a PRODA Account to establish a PRODA identity’’ is the most correct terminology, however both terms are used interchangeably.

No, if a person, for example an administrator, accesses the NQA ITS to lodge forms on behalf of a provider or PMC, the administrator does not need a PRODA ID. PRODA IDs are required to validate the key personnel within the application, so the expectation is that these individuals (e.g. PMCs) provide their PRODA ID, surname and date of birth to the person completing the application.

Prior to 1 July 2023, Persons with Management or Control (PMC) had to submit identity documentation, such as a driver’s licence, to the relevant regulatory authority every time a new declaration of fitness and propriety (PA02 form) was completed as part of a National Law provider approval application or a PA08 form (Notification of Change of Information about an Approved Provider) was submitted notifying a change of PMC.

Having a PRODA account and an individual Registration Authority (RA) number means you do not have to re-submit identity documentation each time you submit a provider application or a PA08 form notifying a change of PMC in the NQA ITS.

The process of verifying your identity is streamlined in the NQA ITS by entering your RA number into the field below and pressing “verify”. The NQA ITS will validate your identity and you will be able to continue with your application.

PRODA entry field

It is more secure to create a PRODA account and verify your identity by using a Registration Authority (RA) number. Prior to 1 July, Persons with Management or Control (PMC) had to submit identity documentation, such as a driver licence, to the relevant regulatory authority every time a declaration of fitness and propriety (form PA02) was completed as part of a provider approval application or a PA08 form (Notification of Change of Information about an Approved Provider) notifying of a change of PMC was submitted.

Now, once a PMC has a PRODA account and RA number they only need to press the “verify” button in the NQA ITS to validate their identity, enabling the continuation of the application or submission of the PA08 form notifying of a change of PMC without having to submit identity documentation each time.

When assessing NL and FAL provider and service approval applications through the NQA ITS, regulators complete a risk assessment of each Person with Management or Control. The verification of Persons with Management or Control via a PRODA account manages identity risks and enables regulators to identify and appropriately share information about Persons with Management or Control across jurisdictions.

When you create a PRODA account you will be allocated a Registration Authority (RA) number. Login | PRODA (humanservices.gov.au).

Videos are available to explain how to create a PRODA account to obtain an individual RA number or register an organisation, including the identity documents you will need to commence this process.

Persons with Management or Control (PMC) are persons within or outside the approved provider who are responsible for managing the delivery of the provider’s service(s) or who have significant influence over the activities or delivery of the service. Each PMC must be and remain a fit and proper person to be involved with children’s education and care. This is important because PMCs make decisions on matters which can impact the safety, health and wellbeing of children at their service.

A PMC is a person in an executive or management role of an approved provider entity, including:

  • An officer of a body corporate
  • Each member of the management committee of an association
  • Each partner of a partnership
  • A person in a management position of the business, with the authority or responsibility for, or significant influence over, decisions affecting the delivery of children’s education and care (this could, for example, include roles such as a state/territory or area manager).

In addition to persons who hold executive or management roles within the approved provider entity, a PMC may be a person outside the approved provider entity, for example, a person employed by a third-party management company, or a volunteer.

For more information, please see the information sheets:

No, applications for National Law approval and to administer Child Care Subsidy payments can be submitted separately using the appropriate forms in the NQA ITS.

An approved provider must submit the PA08 Notification of change to information about approved provider through the NQA IT System. Each PMC identified must then complete a PA02 – declaration of fitness and propriety form.

Once an application for both National Law and the Child Care Subsidy is submitted, the relevant state/territory Regulatory Authority and the Australian Government can commence assessing your application.

National Law application assessment timeframes

The regulatory authority must:  

  • make a decision within 60 calendar days of receiving a complete provider approval application, and 90 calendar days for a service approval application  
  • give the applicant written notice of its decision and the supporting reasons, within seven (7) calendar days of making the decision.   

Child Care Subsidy application assessment timeframes

Final approval to administer the Child Care Subsidy can only be determined after an approval under the National Law has been obtained, and after the Australian Government has assessed your application. An estimated assessment timeframe cannot be given, however ensuring all mandatory information documentation is submitted with your application will assist in this process.   

Once you have created a PRODA account you will be allocated a Registration Authority (RA) number. RA numbers are ten (10) digits and are unique to the PRODA account.

Enquiries regarding a submitted National Law application should be directed to the state/territory regulatory authority in which the application was submitted. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/help/contact-your-regulatory-authority 

Enquiries regarding submitted applications to administer Child Care Subsidy payments should be directed to [email protected].

Yes. An individual who is not a current or prospective provider can submit an application on behalf of someone else, however each person who will be a Person with Management or Control must complete a PA02 Form – declaration of fitness and propriety and understand their legal obligations under the National Law, and Family Assistance Law (FAL) for the administration of the Child Care Subsidy.

For technical support during the application process, see the user guides on the NQA ITS page of the ACECQA website for more information.

Information and resources can be found at the Australian Government Department of Education website.

The Child Care Provider Handbook is an guide for approved providers that offers practical information about the requirements and responsibilities of providers and services that are approved under the Family Assistance Law to administer Child Care Subsidy payments.

Yes. National Law Provider approval is recognised nationally and allows you to apply for one or more service approvals. Once a National Law provider approval is granted by a Regulatory Authority, it can be used to apply for service approval in any state or territory.

Service approvals relate to the individual site/premises and the type of care provided, e.g., centre-based (which includes long day care, kindergarten/preschool, and outside school hours care services) and family day care. 

You can find out about your obligations as an approved provider under the National Law and Family Assistance Law by completing self-paced online education modules. These modules can be found at Opening a new service | ACECQA.  You can download and save the certificate of completion and add it to your application to become an approved provider.

You may be asked to complete a National Law or Family Assistance Law online assessment to determine your suitability to operate an education and care service or be a Person with Management or Control (PMC), including your fitness and propriety.

For the National Law, the online assessment helps to determine your ability to meet the requirements to maintain the health and wellbeing of children, to improve children’s educational outcomes and development, and your knowledge of your obligations under the National Law and National Regulations.

To administer Child Care Subsidy payments under Family Assistance Law, this assessment helps to determine your understanding of your obligations under Family Assistance Law and your commitment to complying with these obligations.

The Family Assistance Law online assessment contains approximately 25 questions with a duration of up to 110 minutes. The National Law online assessment contains approximately 46 questions with a duration of up to 75 minutes.  

Application assessment officers will use the results of the online knowledge assessment along with other documentation and evidence to determine your suitability.  

To assist prospective education and care providers become familiar with their National Law obligations and learn about the requirements under the Family Assistance Law to administer Child Care Subsidy payments, online self-paced education modules are available at Opening a new service | ACECQA. It is recommended you complete the online education modules prior to applying for a provider and/or a service approval.

If you are asked to complete an online assessment, the Regulatory Authority and/or Australian Government will advise the location of the assessment. It may be possible to complete it at a government office or a location of your choice. If you complete it at a location of your choice, it must be somewhere where you will not be disturbed and is quiet. You will be provided with more information about the knowledge assessment by your Regulatory Authority or the Australian Government.