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Become an early childhood teacher

This information relates to teachers delivering specific learning programs, usually within long day care 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 working in early childhood.

Courses and qualifications

National regulations came into effect on 1 January 2014. All long day care and kindergarten services with children under school age must 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, its location and its operating hours.

See approved qualifications for teachers under the national regulations. Read more about the qualification requirements or check if you are already qualified (PDF, 284KB) as an early childhood teacher.

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 meet Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme (QKFS) requirements.

QKFS teacher qualification requirements align with the requirements of the national regulations.

Read more about early childhood teacher requirements.

Course requirements

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

You should choose a course on the ACECQA list of approved early childhood teaching qualifications.

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.

Already a registered primary teacher?

You may qualify to teach in a long day care or kindergarten service if you’re already a registered primary teacher and you hold or are studying towards an approved diploma level qualification.

Early Childhood Bridging Program - you can upgrade your skills to gain an approved early childhood teaching qualification. For more information visit the Early Childhood Teacher Bridging Program webpage.

Check the flow chart (PDF, 284KB).


Jobs are usually advertised in newspapers and online job sites.

Find childcare contacts for advice on job opportunities and industry news.


Registration is not compulsory for early childhood teachers working in early childhood services, other than in the case of primary teachers with approved diploma-level qualifications. 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.

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
30 October 2017
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