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Become an early childhood teacher

This information relates to teachers delivering specific learning programs, usually within long day care centres or kindergarten services. There are also regulations around the requirements for other staff, in these and all other areas of early childhood education and care.

Read about childcare staff requirements.

You could also be interested in teaching young children within the school system (usually Prep-Year 3).

Find out more about early childhood teaching in schools

Courses and qualifications

National regulations are being phased in for early childhood education and care. By 1 January 2014, all long day care and kindergarten services will have to have access to a qualified early childhood teacher or have one in attendance at the service*.

*The requirements vary depending on the size of the service and its operating hours.

See approved qualifications for teachers under the national regulations. Read more about the qualification changes for 2014.

As a guide, you will need a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in early childhood education.

Visit the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website if you are already studying or have finished your course and want to check it against the national requirements. A fee is charged to have your qualifications assessed if they do not appear on the lists of approved qualifications.

Queensland requirements

In Queensland, services delivering state government-approved kindergarten programs must also meet Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme (QKFS) requirements.

Read more about QKFS kindy teacher requirements.

Course requirements

Studying education at university level (e.g. a 4-year Bachelor degree) is usually required if you want to become an early childhood teacher.

You may need an overall position (OP) for university entry. This is a statewide ranking students get after finishing Year 12.

There are other ways to get into university if you don’t have an OP.

Search for courses at your chosen university or with the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). Once you have chosen your course, you must apply through QTAC for entry.


Jobs are usually advertised in newspapers and online job sites.

See early childhood peak organisations for job ads and industry news.

The jobs board at the Kindergarten Advisory Support Service lets you search for work and post your resume.


Registration is not compulsory for early childhood teachers working in early childhood services. However any teacher employed in a school (including Prep-Year 3 teachers) does need to be registered with the Queensland College of Teachers.

You must have a blue card to work with children in Queensland. This involves a police check. A fee is charged to apply.

Note: This blue card is not recognised anywhere else in Australia nor are Working With Children Checks issued interstate recognised in Queensland.

Financial support

Work in rural Queensland

Financial support is offered for early childhood teachers who want to teach kindergarten in rural or remote Queensland. Benefits are paid in instalments over 2 years.

Already a registered teacher?

You may qualify to teach in a long day care or kindergarten service if you’re already a Queensland registered teacher.

Find out how to upgrade your qualifications to meet the national regulations.

Have your skills recognised

If you’re working or volunteering in early childhood education, you may get credit towards a formal qualification. This is called recognition of prior learning (RPL).

See if you are eligible for RPL before applying for your course.

Help with student debts

You may be eligible for help with your student loan if you are an early childhood teacher working in a rural or remote area or a regional city.

Apply through the Australian Taxation Office.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
12 February 2014

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