Climbing the ECEC ladder - your ultimate guide to progressing your career
The Sector > Jobs News > Climbing the ECEC ladder – your ultimate guide to progressing your career

Climbing the ECEC ladder – your ultimate guide to progressing your career

by Freya Lucas

March 17, 2023

For those who have an ambition for career growth, the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is ripe with opportunities. No matter where on the career ladder you begin, there is always room to go up – or outwards – challenging yourself with increased responsibility, variation of tasks and opportunities to lead. 


In the piece below, we chart a typical pathway of an ECEC professional who begins as a casual educator and moves through to a management position, but don’t forget there are many other options and opportunities along the way, such as establishing a family day care (FDC) service, completing a qualification in training and assessment to pass your knowledge on to others, or even stepping up into an area manager role. 


Casual educator


For many ECEC professionals, a career in the sector begins with casual work in one or more services, offering the opportunity to gain experience, work with children of many different ages, and gain valuable sector experience.


Permanent educator


Once there has been some experience in a casual capacity, many educators will seek a permanent position, working in their preferred centre, or with their preferred age group of children. 


Lead educator 


For many educators, having the opportunity to run a room offers them a chance not only to establish a learning environment which is consistent with their pedagogy, but also to take the first steps toward leading and managing others. 


Educational leader


Educational leadership can happen at any qualification level, with ACECQA noting the educational leader of a service “plays a significant role in guiding and developing educators’ and families’ understandings about play and leisure-based learning, and the significance of the early years in the education continuum for children”. An educational leader should be a person who is able to take an active role in inspiring, motivating, affirming and also challenging or extending the practice and pedagogy of educators. 




For those who hope to lead and manage a service someday, a 2IC (second in charge) position is a logical step along the way. The 2IC position allows an educator to step into the shoes of leading and managing a service, supporting tasks such as responding to parent enquiries and concerns, managing staffing issues, creating rosters, and a number of other tasks. 


Director/Service leader 


Service directors are responsible for leading and managing the service. They manage all of the occupants of the service children, staff and families and all of the tasks associated with running a compliant service. 


For more information about careers in ECEC, please see here. To find your ideal role, check out The Sector Jobs Board

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