Educators & Providers

What qualifications do I need to work in Early Childhood Education and Care?

Many people work in services without holding a formal qualification. However, certain qualifications are required under the National Quality Framework.

Qualifications Required under the National Quality Framework

An approved centre-based or mobile service must employ a number of qualified educators. There are also qualification requirements for family day care educators. Current qualification requirements are:

Type of service Qualification
Centre based service At least 50% of the educators at a service required to meet ratio requirements must have or be working towards at least an approved Diploma level qualification.

All other educators required to meet ratio requirements must have or be working towards at least a Certificate III level qualification.

Family day care service Family day care educators must have or be working towards at least a Certificate III level qualification.

Family day care coordinators must have at least an approved Diploma level education and care qualification.

Under the NQF, at least one of the educators in attendance at a centre-based service, and all family day care educators, must have an approved first aid qualification and have been trained in asthma and anaphylaxis management.

Holders of certain positions require particular qualifications

You will also need particular qualifications to hold some positions, such as:

  • authorised supervisor
  • teaching staff member (also called early childhood teacher)
  • primary contact staff member for children under two years

There is a list of qualifications that have been assessed as meeting the requirements of the Children’s Services Regulation 2004 for these positions.

The list is developed from inputs provided by universities and the Vocational Education and Training sector. You can contact the Executive Officer – Qualifications to check your qualifications.

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What are the required staff:child and Early Childhood Teacher ratios?

Under the National Quality Framework staff to child ratios and minimum staff qualification levels are mandated nationally. When NSW had higher quality requirements than the NQF the state based requirements were preserved.

Staff to child ratios for centre-based services (such as long day care and preschool services):

Age of children NSW requirement
Birth to 24 months 1:4
Over 24 months and less than 36 months 1:5
Over 36 months up to and including preschool age 1:10

In family day care services the educator to child ratio is 1:7. Not more than four of the children can be preschool age or under, including educator’s own children younger than 13 years of age at the residence.

Early Childhood Teacher Requirements:

A summary of the early childhood teacher requirements for centre-based services educating and caring for children preschool age or under is set out below:

Licenced capacity (approved places) NSW Requirement
Less than 25 children Access to an ECT for at least 20% of the time
25-29 children ECT in attendance 6 hours /day (if operating for more than 50 hours/week) or 60% of operating hours (if operating less than 50 hours/week)
30-39 children One ECT in attendance at all times
40-59 children Two ECTs in attendance at all times
60-79 children Three ECTs in attendance at all times
Over 80 children Four ECTs in attendance at all times

Until January 2018 there is a special provision for remote and very remote services with less than 30 children – children are required to have access to an Early Childhood Teacher for at least 20% of the time.

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How can I improve my qualifications in Early Childhood Education and Care?


There is growing recognition of the importance of the early years as the most formative period in life. Working in the early childhood education and care sector offers the prospect of teaching and guiding children during this critical time.

The Department of Education aims to increase the number of four-year university qualified early childhood teachers in early childhood services in rural and remote areas of New South Wales and to increase the number of teachers with skills and qualifications in Special Education.

Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teaching Scholarships

The Program is open to Australian citizens or permanent residents who are:

  • Diploma-qualified educators
  • Currently working in a rural or remote early childhood education and care service
  • Intending to apply for and enrol in an early childhood teaching qualification that meets ACECQA’s requirements and is published on the ACECQA approved qualification list.

The scholarships are part of the strategy Rural and Remote Education: A blueprint for action, which commits to strategies ‘to enable greater participation in early childhood education in rural and remote communities’.

Scholarships for post-graduate study in Special Education

To increase the capacity of preschool educators to support the needs of children with disability, up to 20 post-graduate scholarships will be offered each year as a part of the Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP).

Preschool teachers are eligible to apply if they:

  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, or an equivalent qualification that would enable them to enrol in post-graduate studies; and
  • are currently working in a NSW community preschool.

Recipients of the Scholarship must enrol in an approved post-graduate Special Education course at an approved university and commit to working in a NSW community preschool for a minimum of 12 months after completing their course.

Recipients can elect to study either full-time or part-time. Scholarships will be for a maximum of $20,000, depending on the fees and requirements of each course. Priority access will be given to applicants in rural and remote NSW.

The Scholarship program is administered by the Northcott Society, the PDSP Program Manager.  Applications can be made through their PDSP Portal.

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How can we register a Non-Government School?

To be eligible for State Government funding, non-Government schools must be registered in terms of the NSW Education Act 1990.  Registration of non-government schools in NSW is undertaken by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES).

Information about registration and accreditation of non-government schools is available on the BOSTES website.


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Non-government schools not-for-profit requirements

External Affairs and Regulation oversees the functions outlined in Section 83C-83L of the NSW Education Act 1990 which states that to be eligible for NSW Government funding, non-government schools must not operate for profit.

In October 2014, the NSW Parliament passed amendments which tighten the non-for-profit requirements under the Education Act 1990.

The definition of non-for-profit has been made clearer and specifies that:

  • All income and assets must be used for the operation of the school
  • Members of school governing bodies cannot be paid sitting fees
  • All payments, including payments to related parties, must be at market value
  • Schools must have met the new requirements by 29 January 2015.

The Minister for Education has the authority to audit schools at any time.  Schools must cooperate with investigations and provide information to the Department of Education as required, or risk being declared non-compliant.

Guidelines have been developed to assist schools and school proprietors to comply with the requirements.

For further information, please also see


The Non-Government Schools Not-for-profit Advisory Committee has been established by the NSW Education Act 1990 and provides advice to the Minister for Education on the compliance of schools and proprietors of schools with the non-for-profit requirements.