Early childhood teacher requirements

Information about early childhood teacher requirements for centre-based National Quality Framework (NQF) services and Children’s Services Act (CS Act) services in Victoria.

Early childhood teacher (ECT) attendance

National Quality Framework (NQF) services

In addition to meeting the educator to child ratio and educator qualification requirements, centre-based NQF services with children who are pre-school age or younger, must employ:

  • an early childhood teacher (ECT) in attendance at the service or
  • have access to an ECT*.

The requirements for ECT attendance in services are based on the number of approved places and the number of children attending the service.

Centre-based NQF services with 60 or more children of preschool age or under attending the service on a given day must also have in attendance:

*Services with fewer than 25 approved places can access an ECT through an information communication technology solution such as telephone or online conferencing platform (eg. Zoom).

Read the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority's (ACECQA) summary table to see the ECT requirements for your service.

Family day care (FDC) and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services do not need to have an ECT.

For funded kindergartens check the Kindergarten Funding Guide about how your service may meet the kindergarten funding criteria.

Children’s services

Occasional care and limited hours services regulated under the Children’s Services Act (CS Act) must provide access to an ECT if:

  • any child attends the service
  • for more than 30 hours per week in any given 4 week period.

For more detail about this requirement read: Children’s services regulated under State Law.

ECT qualifications

In Victoria only a person who holds an approved ECT qualification or equivalent can be counted as an ECT ‘in attendance’.

An individual can be counted as an ECT if they hold either:

Check if your qualification is approved at NQF qualification checker.

Apply to ACECQA to get your early childhood qualification assessed.

Recognition as ‘equivalent to an ECT’

Until 31 December 2024, a person who holds all of the following qualifications can be recognised as equivalent to an ECT:

Educators who have obtained this combination of qualifications before this date will continue to be recognised under this provision.

For detailed information on the required steps, read ACECQA’s information on Recognition as an ‘equivalent early childhood teacher’.

Recognition as a ‘suitably qualified person’ (SQP)

Read more information about who is considered to be a ‘suitably qualified person’ to meet the ‘in attendance’ requirements.

Short term absences of ECTs and SQPs

From 1 July 2023, services can replace an ECT who is absent due to:

  • short-term illness
  • leave
  • attendance at a practicum placement for a higher approved qualification (new) or
  • resignation (new).

ECTs, second ECTs and SQPs can be replaced by a person who holds:

  • an approved diploma level qualification or
  • primary teaching qualification.

Services can replace these roles for 60 days in a 12 month period per role. Where the ECT or SQP is part-time, the days are calculated on a pro rata basis.

The 12 month period is not based on a calendar year or any other set date. It is counted by looking at the 12 month period immediately before the role is replaced.

For example, Rani, who is a full-time ECT, is ill on 15 August 2023.

  • Before the service can replace Rani’s role it must check its records, and count how many days her role has been replaced by a primary school teacher in the 12 month period (ie. Between 14 August 2022 and 14 August 2023)
  • If Rani’s role has been replaced for fewer than 60 days, the service can replace her with an educator that holds either an approved diploma level qualification or is a registered primary school teacher.

The replacement person can be counted in the educator to child ratios as an educator who holds at least an approved diploma level qualification when they are working directly with children.

The short term replacement provision does not apply where the ECT is engaged on a full-time or full-time equivalent basis.

Record keeping requirements

The service must keep a record of when ECTs and SQPs are replaced under the new provisions.

The record must include:

  • the name of the person being replaced
  • the role being replaced (e.g. ECT, SQP)
  • the qualification of the person replacing the role
  • the dates the person was replaced
  • the reason for the absence (short-term illness, leave, attendance at a practicum placement for an approved qualification or resignation).

Record of access to early childhood teachers

All centre-based providers must keep a record of the ECT’s access or attendance at the service. For details see regulation 152 of the National Regulations.

Compulsory registration

All ECTs must hold current registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) to teach in Victoria.


If your service cannot meet these requirements, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver. Read about Waivers.

Qualifications scholarships and employment incentives

Read about the range of funding, training and career support for early childhood professionals the department offers.