Recognition as an ‘equivalent early childhood teacher’

In September 2013, ACECQA determined that a person who holds ALL of the following will be recognised as equivalent to an early childhood teacher:

  • a primary teaching qualification that includes at least a focus on children aged 5 to 8 years old (e.g. a qualification with a focus on children aged 3 to 8 or 5 to 12) AND
  • teacher registration in Australia (called ‘accreditation’ in New South Wales) AND
  • an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) education and care qualification.

This arrangement is published on the ACECQA approved qualifications list. You should retain evidence of your primary teaching qualification, teacher registration/accreditation and ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification as evidence that you meet the requirements. Please note that the requirement for an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification is separate to the requirement for a primary teaching qualification (i.e. two separate qualifications are required).

This transitional measure was reviewed by the ACECQA Board in September 2016. The Board decided to extend the measure until the end of 2019. After the end of 2019, this transitional measure will cease, however educators who had obtained this combination of qualifications before the end of 2019 will continue to be recognised under this provision.

In its deliberations, the Board carefully considered the educator qualifications context, including the:

  • National Quality Framework’s goal of building a highly skilled workforce 
  • available data estimating the current use of this provision
  • sector workforce pressures and challenges, particularly in rural and remote areas
  • further qualification requirement already legislated to be introduced from 1 January 2020, which will require a second early childhood teacher or ‘suitably qualified person’ for centre-based services educating and caring for 60 or more children (regulations 133 and 134 of the National Regulations). 

Some states and territories require early childhood teachers (ECTs) to hold teacher registration or accreditation. It is also important to note that individual employers may specify higher qualification requirements (for example, a four year ECT degree) as part of their employment policy.

If you are a registered/accredited primary school teacher:

If you successfully complete a diploma level (or higher) education and care qualification from ACECQA’s list of approved qualifications you will meet the qualifications requirements for an early childhood teacher.

You will not need to apply to ACECQA once you achieve a qualification on the list of approved qualifications as, in combination with your primary teaching qualification and Australian teacher registration, you will automatically be considered to meet the qualification requirements for an equivalent early childhood teacher. 

If you are a registered/accredited primary school teacher you may be able to be ‘taken to be an early childhood teacher’ upon starting your approved diploma level (or higher) education and care qualification. Find more information about the 'actively working towards’ provision and regulation 242.

If you do not have teacher registration/accreditation:

You will need to obtain provisional or full teacher registration/accreditation to meet the requirements of an equivalent early childhood teacher under regulation 137(3).

A list of teacher registration/accreditation bodies in your state or territory can be found on the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership website.