Qualifications for centre-based services with children preschool age or under

The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets out the minimum educator qualification requirements for working with children preschool age and under in centre-based services.

Centre-based services refers to long day care, as well as preschools and some kindergartens in some states and territories. These services must meet the following educator qualification requirements:

At least 50% of educators must be diploma level qualified or higher

Under regulation 126 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations, 50% of educators required to meet the relevant educator to child ratios in centre-based services with children preschool age and under, must have, or be actively working towards,an approved diploma level education and care qualification (or higher).

    Under the NQF, a person is considered a diploma qualified educator if they:

    • hold an approved diploma level qualification, OR

    • hold a former approved diploma level qualification completed before 1 January 2012 OR

    • hold a qualification that ACECQA has assessed as equivalent to an approved diploma level educator qualification.

    If an individual is ‘actively working towards’ an approved diploma level qualification, they may be counted as a diploma level educator, if they meet the requirements under the 'activey working towards' provisions. For more information visit ACECQA's actively working towards web page.

    The roles and responsibilitieis of a diploma level educator may include, but are not limited to:

    • supporting and leading children's learning and development
    • designing, planning, implementing and evaluating educational programs and practices, including following and implementing an approved learning framework
    • supporting the health, wellbeing, learning and development of children
    • working with community members and external agencies
    • provding leadership and support
    • leading and contributing to the delivery of National Quality Standard requirements
    • managing a variety of education and care services, and
    • ensuring compliance with service policies and national and/or state based legislation.

    The Education and Care Services National Rgulations do not specify what roles or responsibilities a diploma level educator must undertake. This is up to the approved provider of each education and care service.

    All other educators must be certificate III level qualified

    All other educators required to meet the relevant educator to child ratios at the service must hold, or be actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification.

      Under the NQF, a person is considered a certificate III level educator if they:

      • hold an approved certificate III qualification, OR

      • hold a former approved certificate III level qualification completed before 1 January 2012, OR

      • hold a qualification that ACECQA has assessed as equivalent to an approved certificate III level educator qualification.

      If an individual is ‘actively working towards’ an approved certificate III level qualification, they may be counted as a certificate III level educator, if they meet the requirements under the 'actively working towards' provisions. For more information visit ACECQA's 'actively working towards' web page.  

      The roles and responsibilites of a certificate III level educator may include, but are not limited to:

      • providing education and care to children
      • supporting children's learning and development, including contributing to the educational program and practice
      • assisting the delivery of an approved learning framework
      • developing positive relationships with children and families
      • supporting the daily routines of children
      • contributing to the delivery of National Quality Standards requirements
      • ensuring compliance with service policies and national and/or state based legislation, and
      • working closely with other educators and early childhood teachers.

      The Education and Care Services National Rgulations do not specify what roles or responsibilities a certificate III level educator must undertake. This is up to the approved provider of each education and care service.

      And, access to an Early childhood teacher (ECT)

      Services must engage or have access to an early childhood teacher (ECT) based on the number of children in attendance at the service. Please refer to the summary of the ECT requirements for centre-based services table below*.

      An individual can be counted as an ECT if they:

      • hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification, OR

      • hold a former approved early childhood teaching qualification that commenced before 1 January 2012, OR

      • hold a qualification that ACECQA has determined to be an equivalent early childhood teacher qualification, OR

      • hold a qualification that ACECQA has assessed as equivalent to an approved early childhood teaching qualification.

      If an individual is ‘actively working towards’ an approved ECT level qualification,they may be counted as an ECT, if they meet the requirements under the 'taken to be an early childhood teacher' provisions in regulation 242. However, some states do not allow individuals to be 'actievly working towards' an ECT level qualification. For more information visit our actively working towards web page.

      For NSW state specific provisions in relation to ECT requirements please see regulation 272

      Teacher registration is not a requirement for ECTs under the NQF, but is a requirement under some state and territory legislation. For more info visit ACECQA's teacher registration and accreditation web page

      The roles and responsibilites of an ECT may include but are not limited to:

      • designing, planning, implementing and evaluation educational programs and practices, including following and implementing an approved learning framework
      • leading and supporting the health, wellbeing, learning and development of children
      • providing pedagogical leadership
      • coaching, mentoring and supervising staff
      • building and maintaining strong relationships with children and their families
      • ensuring compliance with service policies and national and/or state based legislation
      • supporting famlilies to be involved in the service
      • leading the delivery of National Quality Standard requirements
      • working with community members and external agencies, and
      • leading and managing a variety of education and care services.

      The Education and Care Services National Regulations do not specify what roles or responsibilities an ECT must undertake. This is up to the approved provider of each education and care service.

       

      * A summary of the early childhood teacher requirements for centre-based services. 

      Number of children in attendance at any one time Early childhood teacher requirement
      Fewer than 25 children* The service needs to have access to an early childhood teacher for at least 20 per cent of the time the service is operating. This may be achieved through an information communication technology solution.
      25 – 59 children*

      The service must employ or engage a full-time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher, or have an early childhood teacher in attendance for: 
      •    6 hours per day, when operating for 50 hours or more per week OR 
      •    60% of the time, when operating for less than 50 hours per week

      60 – 80 children* 

      The service must employ or engage a full-time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher, or have an early childhood teacher in attendance for: 
      •    6 hours per day, when operating for 50 hours or more per week OR 
      •    60% of the time, when operating for less than 50 hours per week. 

      Additionally from 2020, the service must employ a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person in attendance for:
      •    3 hours per day, when operating for 50 hours or more per week
      OR
      •    30% of the  time, when operating for less than 50 hours per week
      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*

      The service must employ or engage a full-time or full time equivalent early childhood teacher, or have an early childhood teacher in attendance for: 
      •    6 hours per day, when operating for 50 hours or more per week OR 
      •    60% of the time, when operating for less than 50 hours per week. 

      Additionally from 2020, the service must employ a second early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person in attendance for:
      •    6 hours per day, when operating for 50 hours or more per week
      OR
      •    60% of the  time, when operating for less than 50 hours per week

      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.

      * Saving provisions apply In NSW - see regulation 272.

      Suitable Qualified Person - Additional staffing requirement from 1 January 2020

      From 1 January 2020, approved providers of long day care services and preschools/kindergartens must have access to a second ECT or, alternatively, a 'suitably qualified person' in attendance when 60 or more children preschool age or under are being educated and cared for.

      A 'suitably qualified person' can be:

      • An lindividual who is 'actively working towards' an approved early childhood teaching qualification AND has completed at least 50% of the qualification or holds an approved diploma level qualification

      OR 

      • An individual who is registered (accredited in New South Wales) as a primary or secondary school teacher in Australia AND holds an ACECQA approved diploma level qualification (or higher).

      Services located in NSW are unaffected by these changes, as additional ECT staffing requirements have been in place for several years under regulation 272.

      For further information, please refer to the ACECQA web page on recognition as a 'suitably qualified person'