How to Become an Early Childhood Teacher: Australian Careers in Education

Every day thousands of Australians place their children in the care of early childhood teachers. These teachers play a role in shaping the future for these children – they begin teaching them literacy and numeracy skills, along with building their confident through creative lessons like drama and art. Being enrolled in early childhood care will also help children to develop social skills by allowing them more interaction with peers. Early childhood teachers also record and report on children’s progress and liaise with parents. A critical aspect of the role is to foster in each child as sense of individuality, self-expression and an interest in learning. To become an early childhood teacher in Australia you need to complete a relevant tertiary qualification. 

  • Task Career in focus: What an Early Childhood Teacher does

    The role of an early childhood teacher is to allow a child to learn, explore and grow – whilst also ensuring their health, safety and personal hygiene are in check.. Early childhood teachers supervise children in the playground and the classroom, and implement positive solutions to conflict and disciplinary issues. They will observe, evaluate and report on a child’s progress, potentially even working with external professionals such as speech pathologists and child psychologists. They participate in school events and committees, and are qualified to work in government-owned pre-school centres, early education classes, community kindergartens and community childcare centres.


    • Creating learning programs
    • Structuring art and craft lessons
    • Accompanying excursions
    • Comforting sick or distressed children
    • Encouraging acceptance of diversity
  • Skills Core qualities: skills to succeed as an Early Childhood Teacher

    To become an early childhood teacher you need to have a natural connection with children and a genuine desire to nurture their development. Organisational skills are critical, and must be applied to generating learning programs and reporting learning outcomes. Patience and kindness are also important, as early childhood teachers are responsible for the emotional welfare of children as well as their educational development. You will need to know when it is appropriate to “take control” and discipline children for misbehaving. The rewards of a career in teaching young children include the joy of watching them successfully progress through their early school years, and knowing that you had a contribution to their growth.

    • A desire to work with children
    • Patient and empathetic
    • Physically fit
    • Advanced planning and organisational skills
    • Willingness to work outside of school hours
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within Education

    Teachers can work at many different levels of the education system, meaning there are many opportunities available and a number of options for specialisation. Case in point – there are diverse subject areas to choose from, and the potential to work with a range of age groups, abilities and cultural backgrounds. In order to work as a teacher in the Australian public school system, you will be required to complete a tertiary qualification, generally a Bachelor of Education or postgraduate Master of Teaching. 

    Primary School Teacher

    Working in the primary school system, teachers are expected to teach students from foundation onwards a range of basic literacy, numeracy, social science, creative expression and comprehension skills, ensuring their foundational skills are developed and nurtured from an early age. A good primary school teacher will nurture his or her students and ensure they are ready for high school when it arrives.

    Secondary School Teacher

    A secondary school teacher works with students from Year 12 to Year 12. To work within this sector, teachers must complete a specialisation as part of their Bachelor of Education degree, undertaking the requisite number of units in their teaching field. It is also possible to become a teacher through postgraduate studies.

    Special Education Teacher

    Special education teachers are important figures in the lives of those with special needs. They use their teaching skills to cater to the needs of students with a sensory, physical, emotional or intellectual disability or other learning impairment. It requires a lot of patience, care and planning, and involves working collaboratively with parents, carers and health professionals. Special Education teachers instruct students in key life skills in addition to meeting educational goals.

    ESL Teacher

    Teaching English as a Second Language requires cultural sensitivity, a very good understanding of English, and creativity in developing and adapting course materials to suit student needs. Teachers work from kindergarten to Year 12 to improve students’ proficiency in English, using a range of assessment methods and teaching techniques.

    Teacher Librarian

    Working in either primary or secondary schools, teacher librarians are in charge of ensuring that students have access to the right resources, those which are required as a part of coursework and those which may assistant them in building further knowledge outside of prescribed texts. They assist in improving student literacy, coordinate distance education programmes, familiarise students with technology and research methods and manage the school library.

    Accredited Childcare Worker

    An accredited childcare worker provides a supportive environment for children to work and play. The minimum requirement is a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. A diploma will enable you to progress into more advanced roles in out of school hours care and preschool environments.

    Vocational Education and Training (VET) Lecturer

    VET lecturers are experienced professionals who provide targeted, industry-based instruction to students hoping to enter a specific industry. Completion of a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and relevant experience in your subject area will allow you to conduct classes, workshops or courses in your specialty area.

    School Principal

    Principals oversee the performance and welfare of an entire school; students, parents and teachers alike. Working closely with heads of department and administrative staff, they approve the educational program in line with prescribed curriculum goals, organise fundraising programs and enrolment drives. They are generally very experienced teachers with a thorough understanding of the education system, who have decided to progress into a more challenging role.
  • Pathways The right track: Study options for becoming an Early Childhood Teacher

    Becoming an early childhood teacher requires tertiary study, as well as ongoing professional development to ensure you remain on top of changes within the education sector and your chosen subject area or field. 

    Starting Out

    These courses will qualify you to work in the education sector as support staff, or in child care; a great introduction to the world of teaching and your future career.

    Building Skills

    Completing a bachelor degree in education will allow you to pursue employment as a professional teacher in Australian schools. Adjust your course to suit the type of teacher you would like to do, such as primary, secondary or early childhood learning.

    Developing Your Resume

    Additional training is available for those refining their skill set or pursuing a specialisation. Extra qualifications will look great on your resume when you apply for higher-level jobs.

    Industry Recognition

    To work as an early childhood teacher you will need to join the register of qualified teachers in your state. Discover information relevant to you in our resources section.

    Entering the Workforce

    If you’re lucky, you will be offered a position in a school that you taught at as a university student. If not – simply put together an irresistible resume and cover letter that showcases your skills and why you would make a great asset.

    Teaching is a profession that never goes out of style

    With Australia’s population increasing, teaching is a profession that is always in demand. Qualified early childhood teachers are able to find employment nationwide, with further predictions of steady growth in future employment rates.

Early Childhood Industry Resources:

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