Understanding early childhood education career pathways

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Providing care for children during their most vital time of development in the first five years of life is an admirable career path, but the path may have more opportunities than you realise.

From spending your days working with children as young as newborns, to supporting literacy, numeracy and school readiness in children who are about to enter primary school, the variety of options in the early childhood sector make it appealing for those who like to have access to a range of career pathways to explore down the track or progress their career at their own pace.

To really appreciate the potential of an early childhood education career, it’s important to have a firm understanding of what roles are available and the qualifications you might need to get there.

ECEC career pathways

The right course for early childhood education career you want

There are a number of qualifications you can seek out to gain employment in early childhood education. The roles available to you for your career within the sector will vary depending on the qualification you choose to undertake. Let’s take a look at which positions you might explore for your career based on each qualification. With many options available, you can create an early childhood education pathway to match your career goals short-term and long-term.

Career pathways via Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care

The CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care can lead to many fun, meaningful and engaging career pathways. Some of the roles you might find yourself working in with this qualification include:

  • Early childhood educator

An early childhood educator is the broad term for a person who works in an early childhood setting. They often work with children right through from birth to school age. Taking a play-based learning approach, early childhood educators nurture children as they explore and learn in the world, following the National Quality Framework and recording children’s development.

  • Family day care educator

Family day care is a type of care provided from the educators’ home. This is a great opportunity to work from home, giving you the flexibility to choose your own hours. As a family day care educator, you will be responsible for providing a care environment that meets the required standards. Family day care educators who are parents can include their own children in their care, and the demand for family day care services is increasing, making this a highly desirable career option.

  • Nanny/in-home carer

As a nanny or in-home carer, you will support families in caring for their children. This may be a few hours a day, all day every day or on a set agreement that works for everyone depending on the children’s age and needs, and the parents’ working schedule and requirements. Your daily tasks might be walking the children to school or picking them up, helping them with homework or caring for babies while parents work. You get the chance to create a meaningful and nurturing relationship with the family you work with.

  • Kindergarten assistant

Your role as a kindergarten assistant is to support a kindergarten teacher as children gain school readiness and enhance their learning in the year or two leading up to commencing their primary school education. Working with children aged approximately 3 to 5-years old, helping them to master the essential skills required to thrive at school and beyond are at the core of your role as a kindergarten assistant.

Career pathways via Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

The next step from a Certificate III qualification in the early childhood education sector is the CHC50121 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. Your early childhood education career might progress to one of these roles or similar with this qualification:

  • Centre director

A centre director is the most senior person in a childcare service and is responsible for managing the daily running of the centre. This can include structuring the educational program or curriculum in the service, general administration, marketing, rostering staff and ensuring the highest standard of early childhood education is delivered within the service.

  • Room leader/Lead educator

The Room leader takes on the role of lead educator in a childcare setting, taking responsibility for how the room is run. They maintain a stimulating and supportive learning environment for children as they ensure the centre’s educational program is managed and run effectively throughout the day.

  • Playgroup supervisor

As a playgroup supervisor or facilitator your role involves supporting families and community organisations in running effective and valuable playgroup sessions. Playgroup sessions are for parents to connect with one another while learning effective strategies to help their children grow and learn. Playgroup supervisors help to guide groups to get the most from their playgroup experience.

Career pathways via Diploma of School Age Education and Care

If providing care and education to children slightly older is an area of interest, then the CHC50221 Diploma of School age Education and Care could be a means of advancing your career. This qualification leads you to work with school age children in a variety of contexts, with roles including:

  • Outside school hours care educator

For many families, they require further care than school offers to support their children while they work. Outside school hours care educators give children a safe and nurturing space to relax, play and/or learn before or after school.

  • Vacation care coordinator

In this role you will develop and implement safe and fun recreational programs for children in school holiday/vacation care programs. This can include coordinating excursions and incursions as well as getting creative and developing a program that will keep children learning and stimulated during school holiday care programs.

An early childhood education career you will love

Take the first step toward your early childhood career pathway and discover career with endless possibilities that makes a true difference. Get in touch with us to chat about your future in early childhood education.


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