How Much Does a Childcare Worker Earn in Australia?

Are you contemplating a career in childcare but not quite sure how much you can earn? Researching your earning potential is fundamental and a huge factor when it comes deciding which career path you wish to embark upon. As with most occupations, salary comes down to your level of education, experience and of course, how good you are at your job.

There are also many contributing factors that can alter your income such as whether you work full time or part time, your actual role and even the state you live in.

The good news is, according to DOCs, in some states childcare workers are in short supply, especially for senior roles requiring a diploma.

Seek advises that the average salary for a childcare worker in Australia is between $44,000 and $45,000. Which equates to around $800 per week. This figure is based on a qualified full time employee, is before tax and does not include superannuation. A part time childcare worker can expect to earn around $614 per week.

Again, please keep in mind these figures are only averages and wages will vary according to which state you live in, your education level and you experience.

Useful Links for financial advice:
Fair Work Australia
Australian Apprenticeships
Apprenticeship Support

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Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care

If you love the idea of working with children, then a Cert III in Early Childhood Education and Care is the perfect entry level course to equip you with the skills and knowledge that you need to be trained in the children’s services sector. A nationally recognised Cert III will allow you access to a rewarding, fulfilling profession that sees you making a significant contribution to the growth and development of children.

Early Childhood Education and Care is a rapidly booming and expanding industry for those with a genuine passion for education. Due to Australian legislation, the childcare industry is increasingly demanding higher training and qualification from child care workers to ensure that as a country, we maintain consistently high standards of education and care for children so that Australia can be competitive on the global stage. As such, the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is the minimum required qualification to become a child care worker in Australia.

Your Certificate III will show you how to foster the children’s development – both social and educational – whilst working within the strict Australian legal regulations and prioritising the children’s health and safety at all times. As part of this qualification, you will undertake a supervised work placement where you’ll apply the skills and knowledge you’ve learned in a real world setting, by completing up to 120 hours of vocational placement.

Students are also required to obtain a national Australian Working with Children Check, a Federal Police Clearance and a medical clearance before attending a work placement. Your work placement will see you working closely with children from various backgrounds and culture, providing them with care and supporting them in various child care situations.

A Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care will prepare you for roles such as Child Care Assistant, Day Care Assistant and Play Group Assistant.

Nearly 70% of child care centres in Australia* have reported a difficulty in being able to find qualified staff, so even the minimum qualification of a Cert III in Childcare will help you to find work in this booming industry. The

CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which will allow you to take this qualification anywhere in Australia and work as an accredited child care worker. This course is also suitable for those with some previous child care experience already, who may wish to formalise their knowledge and have their previous experience counted under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). This course is also suitable for those entirely new to the child care industry as there are no pre-requisite subjects.

As the Certificate III is the minimum qualification level required for Child Care Workers in Australia, it is well suited for people who like practical, on-the-job learning to compliment the theoretical component of their course work.

The Cert III takes, on average, 45 weeks to complete and the average course fee at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) around Australia is $3600. Most RTOs offer various study options including online study, in person study or blended study… so it’s important to shop around and find a mode of study that best suits your needs. Carefully consider your current work/life balance and what is going to be realistic/achievable before you make a decision.

Most Australian states provide financial incentives and support for vocational education and depending on your personal circumstances, you may also be eligible for subsidised training fees so make sure to do your research to carefully understand all that you’re entitled to before you apply. You may also be eligible for a VET student loan.

No formal educational entry requirements are required for this course, however school students must have completed Year Ten of high school. You could possibly improve your chances of gaining this apprenticeship if you have already completed a Certificate I or Certificate II, and  you may also qualify for an advanced standing for some of these completed units.

In this course you’ll learn about:

  • Meeting health and safety requirements
  • Cultural competence
  • Social and educational outcomes facilitation
  • Developing positive relationships with children
  • Parent communication
  • Identifying and responding to young people at risk
  • Emergency first aid response
  • Nutrition
  • Care for babies and toddlers
  • Care for children
  • Supportive play and learning
  • Holistic development in early childhood
  • Using an approved learning framework to guide practice

And in completing your mandatory 120 hours of supervised work placement, you’ll be able to put your skills to the test. Please note, your chosen RTO course provider will assist you to find work placement during the course – most students are required to complete the core units of study before commencing placement unless they have RPL in place.

Once you have completed this course and the onsite training you will then be qualified as a child care worker and able to work anywhere in Australia. If you have greater aspirations or would like to work your way up the ladder, you may also choose to complete the next qualifications in the pathway:

Work placement training requirements for Childcare Workers in Australia  can vary from state to state so please select your state below to get specialist information on your state.

Australian Capital Territory – (02) 6205 8555
New South Wales – 13 28 11
Northern Territory – (08) 8901 1357
Queensland – 1800 210 210
South Australia – 1800 673 097
Tasmania – 1800 655 846
Victoria – (03) 9651 9999
Western Australian – 13 19 54

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Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care

If you have previously completed your Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care – and wish to build upon this – then by completing a Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care you will be well on your way to building your career, able to work as an outside school hours carer or school holiday program coordinator.

A Cert IV will equip you with the skills and knowledge that you need to work effectively in the education sector. You’ll support the development of children of school age (5-12 years) as well as Early Age (0-5 years – which is gained through your previous Cert III) and implement inclusion strategies, understand the legal, ethical and administrative requirements of working with children plus build on your knowledge of first aid, workplace health and safety and cultural diversity.

This course is also available as a traineeship with further supervised work placement – although having completed your mandatory 120 hours of supervised placement under the Certificate III in Early Age Education and Care, further supervised placement is not required in this case. However students wishing to be highly regarded or those who like practical learning are well advised to undertake a further traineeship here. To study as a trainee, you must be employed in the capacity of a training contract by an appropriate organisation. Please check with your chosen course provider, as each Registered Training Organisation (RTO) provides their own options.

Please also note that although a Cert IV is not necessary to work in an Early Age Childcare Centre, many childcare centres now provide care for both early age and school age children so for versatility and increased chances of employment, we strongly recommend acquiring both qualifications.

The nationally recognised Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care will introduce you to the role of working in the field of school age care including increased learning outcomes, and is one of the minimum qualifications required for gaining employment in an ACECQA approved school aged care service. If you’re wanting to advance your career to higher qualifications in school aged care in the future, this is a good first step towards that goal!

Your Cert IV will support you gaining employments as an Assistant Educator in before and after school care programs, and an Assistant Educator in Vacation Care or school holiday programs. It will also enable you to work in support roles in leisure and youth programs, including as a Recreation Assistant.

Other roles you may obtain include: mobile assistant, assistant OSHC coordinator, OSHC supervisor, OSHC coordinator, play leader, team leader and program leader.

Students are also required to have a valid national Australian Working with Children Check, a Federal Police Clearance and a medical clearance before attending a work placement – which, if you have completed your Cert III, you should already have. The CHC40113 Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care is recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which will allow you to take this qualification anywhere in Australia and work as an accredited child care worker.

The Cert IV takes, on average, 52 weeks to complete and the average course fee at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) around Australia is $3172. Most RTOs offer various study options including online study, in person study or blended study… so it’s important to shop around and find a mode of study that best suits your needs. Carefully consider your current work/life balance and what is going to be realistic/achievable before you make a decision.

Most Australian states provide financial incentives and support for vocational education and depending on your personal circumstances, you may also be eligible for subsidised training fees so make sure to do your research to carefully understand all that you’re entitled to before you apply. You may also be eligible for a VET student loan.

To gain entry into this course, School students must have completed Year Eleven. You could possibly improve your chances of gaining this apprenticeship if you have already completed a Certificate I or Certificate II, and  you may also qualify for an advanced standing for some of these completed units.

In this course you’ll learn about:

  • Meeting health and safety requirements of school age children
  • Cultural competence
  • Working legally and ethically
  • Social and educational outcomes facilitation for children aged 5-12
  • Developing positive relationships with children and their families
  • Program development and nurturing for pre-teens
  • Identifying and responding to young people at risk
  • Emergency first aid response
  • Promoting and providing health food and drinks
  • Supporting children to participate in school aged care
  • Supportive play and learning
  • Holistic development in school age children
  • Using an approved learning framework to guide practice

Once you have completed this course and the onsite training (optional, as above) you will then be qualified as a child care worker and able to work anywhere in Australia including with school age children and early age children. You may also choose to learn more about complimentary qualifications:

Work placement training requirements for Childcare Workers in Australia can vary from state to state so please select your state below to get specialist information on your state.

Australian Capital Territory – (02) 6205 8555
New South Wales – 13 28 11
Northern Territory – (08) 8901 1357
Queensland – 1800 210 210
South Australia – 1800 673 097
Tasmania – 1800 655 846
Victoria – (03) 9651 9999
Western Australian – 13 19 54

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Diploma Of Early Childhood Education And Care

The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care applies to educators in children’s services (early childhood) who are responsible for planning, implementing and managing programs in day care and child care centres in accordance with licensing, accreditation and duty of care requirements. The Diploma of Early Childhood rolls in coursework from the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Care and Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care, providing students with skills and knowledge to manage the successful operation of a child care centre, provide care and meet the developmental (social, emotional, educational and physical) needs of children aged 0-12 in various care settings.

Students will also learn about ethical work practices and the extensive legal requirements of the industry, whilst gaining advanced skills in care routines, working/communicating with families, observing and recording children’s behaviour according to developmental frameworks & milestones, working with culturally diverse families and managing safety.

Students who complete their Diploma in Childcare will be prepared to work as Childcare Workers, but also leadership roles in the child care sector such as Child Care Leader, Playgroup Leader, Creche Supervisor, Child Care Centre Manager and Day Care Manager – each overseeing the work of Child Care Assistants and Child Care Workers who have completed their Cert III and Cert IV.

In most states in Australia, the Diploma is the highest mandatory qualification required for director or service manager level roles in a child care centre. It’s also important to know that a Diploma will greatly increase your chances of competitive employment, as new Australian legislation requires most day care centres to have at least 50% staff holding a Diploma in Childcare.

As part of this qualification you will also undertake ongoing supervised work placement where you’ll be able to apply the skills and knowledge that you  have learned. The required work placement time for a Diploma is up to 480 hours in most states.

You will work closely with children from different backgrounds and cultures and provide care and support for them in various child care situations.

Entry to the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care requires students to have completed their WACE or ATAR equivalent, or an equivalent Certificate III Qualification.

Please note carefully, entry to the Diploma does not have prerequisites of having completed the Certificate III in Early Age Education and Care or Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care. The course matter for both the Cert III and Cert IV are covered in the Diploma. The Diploma is intended for those who wish to jump straight into dedicated study and fast track their career.

Your Diploma, alongside teaching you all coursework from the Certificate III and Certificate IV, will also teach you skills in:

  • Developing teams and individuals
  • Business and administration
  • Reflecting on and improving personal practice
  • Supporting positive behaviour of children and young people
  • Supporting the holistic development of children in early childhood
  • Design and implementation of curriculum appropriate programs to foster learning and development in children aged 0-12
  • Health and safety
  • Sustainable practices
  • Developing positive and respectful relationships with children
  • Maintaining a safe and healthy environment
  • Holistic development and wellbeing
  • Nurturing creativity in children
  • Promoting Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander cultural safety
  • Promoting and providing healthy food and drinks
  • Promoting children’s agency
  • Emergency first aid
  • Working in partnership with families
  • Using approved learning frameworks

The Diploma takes an average of 18 months to complete and the average course fee at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs around the country) is $10,000. Financial aid is available, please check with your chosen course provider for more details.

For more information on additional certifications, please see below:

Work placement training requirements for Childcare Workers in Australia can vary from state to state so please select your state below to get specialist information on your state.

New South Wales – 13 28 11
Victoria – (03) 9651 9999
Northern Territory – (08) 8901 1357
Queensland – 1800 210 210
South Australia – 1800 673 097
Tasmania – 1800 655 846
Australian Capital Territory – (02) 6205 8555
Western Australia– 13 19 54

It’s also very important to find the right institute that works for you. So get out there and visit potential campuses to get a true feel for the school. We have put together a list of the more popular institutes to help you get started.

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