Which Childcare Qualification Is Right For You?

If you have excellent communication skills, a passion for education and the desire to make a difference, you will make an excellent Child Care Worker or Early Childhood Educator!

The Australian Government’s Job Outlook report states that employment for education aides including childcare workers has grown by almost 50% over the past 10 years, and is expected to continue growing strongly.

To work in something as important as education, qualification is essential… but where do you start?

If you’re like many people, you may be feeling confused about the best childcare qualification to obtain to enter the childcare industry and be fully certified to care for children… if so, don’t stress!

You’re not alone in feeling confused and we’re here to help. Before you commence your studies, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re signing up for and how it will help your career progress.

In Australia, there are three levels of qualification that will let you start a career as a child care worker:

  • CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • CHC40113 Certificate IV in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • CHC50113 Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care

All three of these qualifications will give you a superb foundation of the skills that you’ll need throughout your career in childcare. All careers in childcare in Australia require you to have a Cert III as a minimum. The Cert III and IV are designed to complement each other, whereas the Diploma is designed as an advanced pathway. The Diploma does not require you to have completed the Cert III or IV, and rolls in this information… so if you’re wanting to fast track your education, starting straight with the Diploma can be a good way to go.

Please note that although some child care centres will allow you to work without a Cert III, the most reputable centres will insist on only qualified employees and the Australian government, who regulates this industry very strictly, is cracking down on unqualified childcare workers. So although it may be tempting to go straight to work, we highly advise that you complete at least a minimum of a Certificate III in Childcare before working in the industry!

The Cert III will teach you the core skills required to be a child care assistance and is a valuable qualification so if you’re new to childcare and not sure yet if you want to commit to a Diploma, this is a recommended starting point. To complete a Cert III, you’ll also need to complete up to 120 hours of vocational placement. This will allow you to put your skills into practice and gain real world experience!

If, though, you’re interested in pursuing a long term career in child care, increasing your chances of employment or would like to progress your career to becoming a child care centre manager or early childhood educator, the Diploma is the recommended pathway. Alongside everything that you’d learn in a Cert III and Cert IV, the Diploma will also teach you business and administrative skills so that you can become a Group Leader, Supervisor or Director. As a more advanced course, the course duration is significantly longer and you’ll be required to complete up to 480 hours of vocational placement. At the end of your Diploma, you’ll be very qualified and in high industry demand… as most reputable child care centres have a ratio of at least 50% of their staff holding a Diploma (in line with recent Australian child care legislation). Child care is a highly competitive industry so obtaining your Diploma in child care is a good idea for your career!

If you already have experience in child care, you will be able to commence your vocational placements very early into your course… but if you’re new to the field or have limited experience, we strongly recommend studying your foundation level subjects prior to working with children. This development of core skills will enable you to have an easier time managing the reality of working in childcare.

If you already have the Cert III, you may also be able to fast track acquiring your Diploma – as the Cert III and Diploma share some foundation subjects, you may not need to study them again. You’ll instead need to provide that you hold a Cert III that was acquired within a certain timeframe. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and you may also qualify for RPL based on previous work that you’ve completed.

Your first step to a successful career in the thriving child care industry is to get qualified! Whether you choose to dip your toes with a Cert III or dive right into a Diploma, getting trained and certified will not only make you a highly desirable employee, but also equip you with the skills you’ll need to thrive and work your way up the career ladder.

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