Actively working towards a qualification

The National Regulations set out the level of qualification educators must hold to be included in educator to child ratios. ACECQA publishes approved qualifications on our website.

If you are 'actively working towards' an ACECQA approved qualification (certificate III, diploma or early childhood teaching (ECT)) in a centre-based service, you may be counted towards qualification requirements.

Actively working towards provisions apply under regulations 126(1) and 127 of the National Regulations and is defined in regulation 10.


Certificate III level

You can be counted towards meeting the certificate III level qualification requirements if you are: 

  • enrolled in an ACECQA approved qualification and have started study 
  • making satisfactory progress towards completing the course 
  • meeting the requirements to maintain enrolment. 

From 1 July 2023, new family day care educators must hold an approved certificate III level (or higher) qualification prior to commencing their role in a family day care service and they cannot be 'actively working towards' a qualification*.

*Please check the legislation for commencement dates in Western Australia.


Existing educators currently engaged at a family day care service have until 1 July 2024 to complete an approved qualification*. If by this time, an educator does not hold an approved certificate III level (or higher) qualification, the approved provider can apply for a waiver, which the regulatory authority may consider granting if it is satisfied the provider has reasonable justification for not being able to comply. Read about Changes to family day care requirements from 1 July 2023.  

*This does not apply in South Australia.


Diploma level

You can be counted towards meeting the diploma level qualification requirements if you are: 

  • enrolled in an ACECQA approved diploma level or higher qualification and have started study 
  • making satisfactory progress towards completing the course 
  • meeting the requirements to maintain enrolment. 

And you either:

  • hold an approved certificate III level qualification or
  • have completed 30% of the units in an approved ECT qualification.

‘Actively working towards’ provisions may not apply where a state or territory specific regulation is in place, including for services educating and caring for school age children. If you have any questions about this, contact your regulatory authority.

Please note that all family day care coordinators in Australia are required to hold an approved diploma level education and care qualification and they cannot be ‘actively working towards’ this qualification.


Taken to be an early childhood teacher

In April 2023, Education Ministers agreed to extend regulation 242 of the National Regulations. Under regulation 242, you are ‘taken to be an early childhood teacher’ if you: 

  • are enrolled in an approved early childhood teaching qualification, and  
  • give the approved provider documentary evidence from the course provider that you: 
    • have started the course, and 
    • are making satisfactory progress towards completing the course, and 
    • are meeting the requirements for maintaining the enrolment, and 
    • hold an approved diploma level educator qualification, or have completed at least 50 per cent of the course. 

Regulation 242 does not apply in Qld and Vic or if you are working in a centre-based service educating and caring for 30 or more children preschool age or under in NSW.

Regulation 242 is scheduled to expire in the ACT, NSW, NT, SA, Tas and WA on 31 December 2024. 

Once regulation 242 expires, an educator will need to have completed their ECT qualification to be considered a qualified ECT. However, educators ‘actively working towards’ an approved ECT qualification may still be counted as a certificate III, diploma level educator or 'suitably qualified person', depending on how much of the approved ECT qualification they have completed.