Early childhood teachers guide the education and social development of pre-school aged children (generally 2-5 years). They use storytelling, music and drama to develop self-confidence and language skills in young learners, and encourage the children to be curious, questioning and creative. If you’ve ever wondered what you need to be an early childhood teacher or you're just interested in early childhood education, this blog walks you through 5 steps to getting a job in Australia. Working with small children is both rewarding and fun, but (even better), this occupation is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years.

Step 1: Get a degree

Early childhood teachers in Australia require a four year Bachelor’s degree that is accredited with the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). Here are some examples of suitable qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary)
  • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Alternate pathways

  • If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, another pathway into this career is by obtaining the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Teaching.
  • Alternately, if you are a qualified primary or high school teacher and want to switch to early childhood, you can grab the nationally recognised Certificate III or Certificate IV in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Step 2: Register with as a teacher

Once you have graduated and received your qualifications, the next step is registering with the teaching regulator in your state or territory. These are:

  • ACT Teacher Quality Institute
  • NSW Education Standards Authority
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching
  • Teachers Registration Board Tasmania
  • Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
  • Teachers Registration Board of Western Australia
  • Teachers Registration Board of the Northern Territory
  • Queensland College of Teachers

Teacher registration in some Australian states (e.g. New South Wales) also requires candidates to undergo a series of psychometric tests to assess their emotional intelligence and cognitive functions. The tests are conducted online and include:

  • Verbal Reasoning assessment (ACER Advanced Test AL)
  • Abstract Reasoning assessment (ACER APTS Abstract Reasoning Organisational)
  • Emotional Intelligence assessment (Genos Emotional Intelligence (EI) Inventory)
  • Live video interview

Step 3: Obtain subsidiaries

The third step toward a career in early childhood education in Australia is obtaining your subsidiary certificates. Most pre-schools, kindergartens, and daycare centres in Australia, require evidence of the following certifications prior to employment:

  • National Police Check
  • Working With Children Check (WWCC)
  • First aid and CPR certificates
  • Immunisations (some employers require this)

EMPLOYMENT QUICK TIP: early childhood teachers need solid administration and computing skills. To increase your employability, make sure you can type proficiently and use the Microsoft Office Suite.

Step 4: Prepare your resume

Once you have all your credentials in hand, focus your attention on preparing a sharp resume that highlights your skills, professional experience and personal qualities. You can also include:

  • Volunteer Work: employers are usually very impressed with volunteer and community work. Be sure to list the projects you’ve worked on and your key responsibilities.
  • Leadership skills: employers often look for evidence of leadership abilities on a candidate’s resume. Early childhood teachers usually assume a senior role and may be responsible for co-ordinating childcare workers and maintenance staff.
  • Additional skills: even if you think its unrelated to teaching, it’s perfectly fine to list some of your unique skills and hobbies on your resume. Maybe you speak another language, or have won several Tai Chi competitions, or lead kayaking tour groups on the weekend — you never know how one of your quirky interests will capture the interest of a recruiter.
  • References: always have the name, email address and mobile number of 2-3 referees who can vouch for your honesty, professional skills and integrity. The best referees are previous employers, as well as volunteer supervisors and community leaders who know you personally.

EMPLOYMENT TIP: don’t forget to update your Linkedin profile with your skills, qualifications and work experience. Linkedin is the largest professional network in the world and a staggering 96% of recruiters check Linkedin during the selection process.

Step 5: Apply for jobs

With your resume complete, you can now start applying for jobs. The teaching regulator in your state or territory usually has an up-to-date list of job openings on their website, but you can also check the many employment sites and recruiters in your area.

When applying for an early childhood teaching job always:

  • Read the application pack or expression of interest form very closely.
  • Write an outstanding cover letter that addresses all the position criteria.
  • Contact your referees and prep them for a phone call from a prospective employer. Ensure their email address and mobile phone number are both correct and up-to-date.
  • Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on all the hard work it took to get this far.
Written by Melinda J. Irvine
Melinda J. Irvine
Melinda is a professional writer, blogger and creative. When she’s not writing she works with marginalised kids in the Philippines, supporting their social and emotional wellbeing. You can find out more at melirvine.com.au.