Frequently asked questions
Answers to commonly raised queries.
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.
I hold a qualification from overseas. How do I find out if it’s approved to work in Australia under the NQF?
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.
What are the English Language Proficiency requirements when I apply to have my qualification assessed by ACECQA?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Can I work in a centre-based service educating and caring for children preschool age or under if I am not studying and don’t hold an approved qualification?
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.
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@example.com 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.
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.