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Become a kinder teacher

The Victorian Government is introducing universal funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.

This means Victorian kids will have access to 2 years of kinder before school, giving all children the chance to enjoy the benefits that come with early childhood education. This reform will create over 6,000 new teaching jobs - more than 4,000 new kinder teachers and 2,000 new educators across the state.

Choose a career in early childhood education

  • Early childhood education will always rely on people to inspire young children's minds and foster their learning and development. It’s a profession that will always be needed and demand for teachers in Victoria will continue to grow.

    There's never been a better time to become a kinder teacher and help change lives for the better.

    Hear from teachers about their experiences

  • Every early childhood job has one thing in common – the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

    And as a growing, dynamic sector, early childhood offers plenty of chances to take your career in different directions.

    If you're passionate about helping children learn and develop, you can become a kinder teacher or educator working in an early childhood service.

    Other early childhood education careers include:

    • working for a community organisation or in local or state government to help improve early childhood education so that it is in great shape for children and families into the future
    • exploring research opportunities to improve understanding of how children learn and thrive
    • starting your own early learning centre
    • leading new programs to help Victorians businesses and communities re-imagine the future of early learning
    TAFE or Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. Educator. University. Undergraduate Degree Bachelor of Early Childhood Education or Postgraduate Degree Masters. Early Childhood Teacher.

  • Early childhood education takes place through quality kindergarten programs across Victoria – at standalone kindergartens or in long day care centres.

    With so many opportunities available, you'll be able to work across the state in a range of settings, including those run by organisations such as:

    • community organisations, including Aboriginal organisations
    • independent schools and or government schools
    • local councils
    • a committee of volunteer parents
    • private businesses
  • As a kinder teacher or educator, you will help children unlock their imagination through play.

    One in 5 children are developmentally vulnerable when they start school. This means that they experience a number of challenges in the 5 important areas of early childhood development measured by the Australian Early Development Census:

    • physical health and wellbeing
    • social competence
    • emotional maturity
    • language and cognitive skills (school-based)
    • communication skills and general knowledge

    As a kinder teacher or educator, you will play a key role in helping children’s learning and development, so they are better prepared for school and their future.

    You will have a lasting impact on the lives of hundreds of young children.

Early childhood pathways

So, you're interested in a career in early childhood? Let's find out more about you so we can help.

  • What should I study at school?

    There are no prerequisite subjects to enrol in an early childhood teaching degree.

    Lots of subjects are useful in preparing you for an early childhood education career, including English, mathematics, art, health and human relations, and psychology. Of course, it's a good idea to have a clear understanding of course requirements so you can enrol in subjects that will help you achieve your goal. You should have a sound foundation in English and maths.

    Your school’s careers advisor can help provide more advice.

    How do I become a kinder teacher?

    To become a kinder teacher, you need a degree in early childhood education.

    The most common qualifications are:

    • an undergraduate early childhood qualification (for example, Bachelor in Early Childhood Education). If you study full-time, this usually takes 4 years to complete
    • a 'pathways' course where people with an approved Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care can gain credit to complete a degree in early childhood education

    Throughout this time, you’ll attend classes at university (or study online) and undertake placements in different kindergarten settings, obtaining real-life experience as you study. During your placement, you will be mentored by a qualified kinder teacher and work alongside educators, learning how to apply the theory you’ve learnt at university.

    If you’re currently studying or have completed a vocational education and training (VET) qualification in early childhood (such as a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care) at school, universities may recognise this as prior learning when you enrol. This may reduce the number of subjects you'll need to study and how long your degree will take to complete.

    Different universities have different enrolment requirements and study options, so contact your preferred university to find out more.

    If you choose to undertake a dual-qualification in Primary and Early Childhood Teaching, you will be required to sit and meet the standard of the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (LANTITE) in order to graduate.

    Once you have completed your qualification, you'll need to register with the Victorian Institute of teaching ( VIT). Find out more by visiting the VIT website.

    How do I become an educator?

    To become an educator, there are a range of VET qualifications available, such as:

    • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
    • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
    • VET delivered to secondary school students (where you complete a VET qualification at school) and
    • other pathways, including pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, traineeships or school-based apprenticeships (such as Head Start) in early childhood services

    You may be able to study one of these courses while you’re still at school – your school’s careers advisor can help provide more advice.

    The Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is now available tuition fee-free through Free TAFE.

  • I have a bachelor's degree or higher qualification

    To become a kinder teacher, you need a degree in early childhood education.

    If you have prior university qualifications, then a graduate diploma or Master’s in early childhood education may be the best pathway for you. If you study full-time this usually takes between 1 to 2 years to complete.

    Once you have completed your qualification in early childhood education, you'll need to register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT). Find out more by visiting the VIT website.

    I don't have any prior university qualifications

    To become a kinder teacher, you need a degree in early childhood education.

    The most common pathway is an undergraduate early childhood qualification (for example, Bachelor in Early Childhood Education). If you study full-time this usually takes 4 years to complete.

    Throughout this time, you’ll attend classes at university (or study online) and undertake placements in different kindergarten settings, obtaining real-life experience as you study. During your placement, you will be mentored by a qualified kinder teacher and work alongside educators and support staff, learning how to apply the theory you’ve learnt at university.

    Once you have become a qualified teacher, you'll need to register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching ( VIT). Find out more by visiting the VIT website.

    To become an educator, you will need to study a VET course at a TAFE or Registered Training Organisation, such as:

    • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
    • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

    The Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is now available tuition fee-free through Free TAFE.

  • If you’re a current educator, we encourage you to upskill and become qualified as a kinder teacher. A kinder teacher requires a degree in early childhood education. If you study full-time this usually takes 3 to 4 years to complete.

    Doing further study in early childhood education will help you to grow your knowledge of how young minds learn while also enhancing your career prospects and earning potential. Early childhood teaching positions can mean salary gains for those moving from being an educator, as well as a range of benefits such as more planning time, better conditions and more opportunities to progress.

    Teachers who take up Three-Year-Old Kindergarten positions with incentives will receive additional financial benefits. You will build on your skills to help children reach their full potential and better prepare them for school and their future.  

    With a wealth of experience studying and working in early childhood education, educators are in a prime position to become high-quality kinder teachers and universities may recognise this prior learning when you enrol. This may reduce the number of subjects you'll need to study and how long your degree will take to complete.

    Different universities have different enrolment requirements and study options, so contact your preferred university to find out more.

    Once you have completed your qualification in early childhood education, you'll need to register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT). Find out more by visiting the VIT website.

  • As an Australian-first initiative, Three-Year-Old Kindergarten presents an exciting opportunity for qualified kinder teachers and educators to return to teaching or to make your move to Victoria. Teachers and educators are the backbone of this reform, and the Victorian Government has introduced a range of new professional development and access to tools, resources and supports to help you to deliver high-quality kindergarten programs every day.

    If you’ve already studied to become a kinder teacher or educator either in Victoria or in another state you can go to the ACECQA website to check if your qualification allows you to work in a kinder in Victoria.

    Teachers with an ACECQA-approved qualification must be registered to teach in Victoria with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT).

    For those returning to teaching, visit the Returning to teaching from non-practising page on the VIT website for more information.

    For those registered in another state in Australia or in New Zealand, you can apply to VIT using the Mutual Recognition pathway. VIT will assess if your qualification qualifies you for Early Childhood Teacher registration under ‘equivalent occupation. Visit the Registering as a teacher page on the VIT website for more information.

Study options near you

There are studying options available so you can study on-campus or online. To find a university, TAFE or Registered Training Organisation near you explore our map.

Explore the map

Victoria's TAFEs deliver high quality training across the state. You can find more information on individual TAFEs and requirements on the Free TAFE website under TAFE providers.

Support to become an early childhood teacher

  • Financial support is available while you study to become a teacher. Hundreds of financial support packages are available now and you can apply at any time of the year.

    Whether you’re starting your study, upskilling, or already studying early childhood teaching, there is financial support for you.

    Financial support can be used to pay for course fees, living costs while you study, or other costs associated with your education.

    You could be eligible for:

    • $25,000 towards an approved undergraduate qualification
    • $12,000 towards an approved graduate diploma qualification
    • $18,000 towards an approved master's qualification

    Early Childhood Aboriginal pathway

    The Early Childhood Aboriginal pathway scholarship is for eligible Aboriginal people wanting to become a kinder teacher, educator or to upskill.

    You could be eligible to receive up to:

    • $34,000 towards an approved undergraduate qualification
    • $16,000 towards an approved graduate diploma qualification
    • $24,000 towards an approved masters qualification
    • $2,500 towards an approved early childhood Certificate III qualification
    • $5,000 towards an approved early childhood Diploma qualification

    These scholarships aren’t available if you’re studying through Free TAFE.

    Apply for financial support now

    Go to the Victorian Department of Education and Training website to find out more about early childhood teacher financial support.

  • To apply, you need to provide evidence of enrolment in an early childhood qualification. You can register a profile online at any time so it's ready to go once you receive evidence of your enrolment from your local institution. 

    To apply, you will need to register a profile so we know:

    • who you are
    • your previous qualifications
    • any other financial support you have received to study 
    • details of your enrolment offer
    • your referees

    Applications take less than 25 minutes to complete.

    If you have any questions about applying for support, we are here to help. Just email Early Childhood Scholarships at EC.Financial.Support@education.vic.gov.au or call 1300 161 396.

Support to become an early childhood educator

  • The Victorian Government has invested $28.5 million to build the skills needed to deliver Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. Through Free TAFE, the following courses are now available tuition fee-free for students starting their study at TAFE in 2020:

    • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
    • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

    The Victorian Skills Gateway website has more information on studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care tuition fee-free at TAFE. 

    Enquire now

    The Early Childhood Aboriginal pathway scholarship isn’t available for students studying these courses through Free TAFE.

Opportunities, training and support for kinder teachers

  • Three-Year-Old Kindergarten is rolling out in regional Victoria first and qualified kinder teachers are needed to make sure children living in regional areas have equal access to a high-quality kinder program. With plenty of kinder jobs for you to enhance your career and financial incentives and relocation support available, now is the time to return home to your community or make the move to regional Victoria that you’ve always wanted to.

    Graduate teachers who take up positions in regional areas will also be supported through the mentoring program, which helps to find mentors for people who do not have access to a mentor in their service or a nearby service.

    Between $9,000 and $50,000 is available for qualified kinder teachers to take up positions in services delivering Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in 2021.

    These incentives will be available to those who:

    • take a role 100km or more from their current place of residence, or
    • make the switch from a teaching career in primary schools or another profession

    If you live 200km or more away from the service, an additional $3,000 may be available to help you relocate.

    Incentives are targeted to help ensure there are enough early childhood teachers where we need them and will change each year in line with the roll-out of funded kindergarten for three-year-olds.

    You do not need to have held a scholarship to be eligible for a financial incentive.

    If you’re a qualified kinder teacher and would like to take up a Three-Year-Old Kindergarten job and be eligible for an incentive of up to $50,000, email kinderreform@mcarthur.com.au.

    Apply now

    Visit the Victorian Department of Education and Training website for further information on kinder teacher incentives.

    If you have any questions about applying for an incentive, we’re here to help. Just email EC.Financial.Support@edumail.vic.gov.au or call 1300 161 396.

  • As a graduate kinder teacher, you’ll be supported to further develop your skills and knowledge in the classroom. You will have access to a range of programs, including:

  • Educators looking to take the next step in their career can apply for the new accelerated Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Deakin University.

    This innovative degree program means 76 Victorian educators can upskill to become an early childhood teacher in 18 months, instead of 3 years, through Deakin’s trimester model of delivery.

    Eligible participants will also receive extra support within early childhood services, including mentorship and time release for study.

    Students who commence the program in March 2021 would receive their degree and enter the early childhood workforce as qualified teachers in June 2022.

Reviewed 25 February 2021

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