It’s no secret that competition for high quality early childhood educators has never been more steep.
It's a sector that is becoming increasingly important in the eyes of society with more and more families choosing to enroll their children in early learning services at younger ages as the developmental benefits become increasingly understood.
Being part of a child’s life in their early years and contributing to their growth is deeply rewarding and is the reason thousands of early childhood educators have committed to a career in early education.Search for a Job
Being present to guide and mentor young children in their formative years is the main reason educators are drawn to the early learning sector. Not only is it a tremendous responsibility given these children are society’s future, it is also deeply rewarding.
As we all know children are constantly evolving and constantly growing. This means nothing stays the same from day to day. Each day is different bringing new challenges and new opportunities ensuring a varied and exciting journey not just for the children but for the educators too.
The team aspect of early learning is often underappreciated. Educators work as part of teams at a room level but also at a service level which provides lots of opportunities to make new friends and also to learn from a pool of experience that wouldn't be available in other desk bound job environments.
Educators who are ambitious regarding a career in early learning love working in the childcare sector because of the clear and well flagged opportunities to secure promotions into more senior roles. For example, an educator may start as a trainee, progress to a fully qualified educator, then to room leader, then to educational leader and then on to centre manager.
Children’s development is not the only priority of today’s early learning services. Many of them also place huge emphasis on supporting educators to deepen their pedagogical and leadership knowledge through internal and external professional learning courses. This is a key attraction, and potentially unique, quality of committing to early learning as a career.
The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is made up of four key settings each of which are super keen to secure new professionals to join.
This is by far the largest setting in the ECEC sector with over 8,500 centres currently operating across Australia. They are usually open from around 6:30 amam to around 6:30 pm to provide education and care for children from birth to five years of age. The service is provided out of purpose built facilities and delivered by ECEC professionals such as educators and teachers. They often cater for trainees and work experience too.
Family Day Care is a unique type of ECEC service in that it is not delivered out of a purpose built centre but instead an educator opens their home to the community. A Family Day Care educator will operate the ECEC service from their own home. Family Day Care offers a flexible hours option which supports shift workers, families who have unique care contexts, and those families who need respite care.The number of children attending are lower providing for an intimate and cosy experience for children and families alike.
Outside school hours care, also known as OSHC, OSH or OOSH, is a service provided to families whose children attend a preschool or kindergarten that is only open during normal school hours or are in primary school. Outside school hours care services operate before school and after school and during school holidays and really cater for families who are working. Activities in OSHC services are wide ranging in their design and delivered in centres often connected to school premises.
These services focus on the year, and more commonly now, the two years before school and are much more aligned with the school system. Unlike long day care and family day care these services are only open during school hours and during school terms, with the curriculum delivered by early childhood teachers and teachers assistants.
The main qualifications to be an educator are vocational in nature which means that the courses are relatively short and delivered through training colleges such as TAFEs.
This is the entry level qualification to the ECEC sector and allows a qualified person to use the term educator and work with children in long day care, preschool, family day care and outside school hours settings.
This is the next stage of qualification with a greater focus on developing childcare skills but also builds on leadership expertise too.
For those interested in taking their early learning expertise to the next level a degree in teaching is also an option.
A Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) or Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) are excellent examples. They are usually delivered over the course of three to four years and once qualified provide opportunities in not just the long day care and family day care space but in the kindergarten and preschool space too.
For candidates looking to work in the Outside School Hours Care Sector the qualification requirements focus on both Certificate III and Diploma streams in areas such as Outside School Hours Care, Leisure and Health, School Age Education and Care.
Having the correct qualifications and understanding their importance is super important when seeking a new career in the childcare and early learning sector.Search for a Job
Pay rates in the child care sector are linked to the modern award system so depending on your qualification level and experience you will receive a predetermined hourly rate that can range from $21 to $26 for Cert III’s and $27 to $36 for Diplomas.
Teachers, because of their degree status, tend to be paid quite a lot more, but a new educational leader booster allowance is available for those educators stepping up to engage in higher duties over and above their standard roles.
In addition employers are now offering a wide range of incentives and perks that act as valuable top ups to wages. These include free professional learning, memberships to gyms and other social services, nine day fortnights, big childcare discounts and much more.Search for a Job
With demand for educators at record highs there are plenty of opportunities to secure dream positions at the moment. Great places to start include:
Visit dedicated child care websites to learn about the sector - A great example of this is The Sector - Early Education News, Jobs and More website which contains over 3,000 articles that cover all of the major developments, innovations, providers and much more with a 100% focus on the child care sector. Others include the ACECQA website and ECA too.
Register on a reputable jobs search board - There are many jobs search platforms available on the web such as Seek and Indeed but these are not tailored for early education professionals in the same way as The Sector’s Job Board is. Built for the childcare sector, by the childcaresector, the best jobs from the best providers are just a few clicks away.
Speak with your training organisation - Your TAFE or RTO will be well positioned to give you a list of contacts to secure placements and potentially more permanent roles too at a service near where you live. Don’t underestimate the importance of their reach, they can really help.
Your own networks of friends and families - We all know someone who knows someone who works on the ECEC space. Use your personal networks to reach out to people who may be able to get you an introduction to a centre or group looking for top quality educators.