An early childhood teacher is a qualified person who works in a early childhood setting such as kindergarten, childcare centre or primary school. Early childhood teachers are different from early childhood educators in that the former involve more in teaching, while the later focus more on taking care of children. 

Children’s brains are influenced by both their genes and external environment. The ways people around act and behave can impact the healthy development of children, especially in their early school years. Statistics has shown that children who participate in a high-quality early childhood program have a better development of cognitive, emotional and social skills. These skills are foundational for their education, lifelong learning and success in the future. For this reason, early childhood teaching is an immensely satisfying career as it provides a precious opportunity to give children the best start for their life.  

According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook (December 2019), the number of teachers required in Early Childhood Education and Care services is expected to grow nationally by 22% between 2018 and 2023. Due to its high demand, both Australian Federal and State Government place early childhood education in the skilled occupation list and open many opportunities for early childhood teachers to migrate to Australia.  

Why study Early Childhood Education in Australia?

  • Australian university reputation  

Australian universities are globally recognised due to the high level of education quality, student satisfaction and employment rate among graduates. According to QS World University Ranking 2021, Australia has 10 universities listed in the world’s Top 100 for the education field.  

  • No specific education background needed 

If you are a high school graduate, you can either start with a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and then continue your study with a bachelor’s degree, or you can use your final high school examination result to directly apply for a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.  

In case you have completed a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and you are keen on being a teacher, you can apply for a Master of Early Childhood Teaching as this course normally does not require educational background.  

  • Multiple start dates 

Australian universities normally have 2 or 3 intakes each year. This makes it more flexible for international students to commence their program to suit their individual situations. Multiple starting dates also mean more flexibility with the selection of different courses, and education providers and payments.    

  • Practical experience  

Early childhood education courses provide the finest real-time experience and practical skills for students through internships and work placements. Students not only gain theoretical knowledge during these courses, but they also experience what is happening at schools and how to instruct children. 

  • Stay longer in Australia 

By studying Early Childhood Education for 2 years or more, international students will be eligible for a 2-4 year Postgraduate Visa (visa 485). This visa opportunity for graduates is valuable to get more work experience and to prepare for their future immigration to Australia (visa 189, 190, 491, 186, 191 and 494). 

What are career outcomes after graduation from early childhood education courses?

After completing a relevant bachelor or master’s degree, you are eligible to become an early childhood teacher who works in a kindergarten, childcare centre or primary school.  

Early childhood teachers in kindergartens or childcare centres usually teach children aged from 3 to 5 years old, supporting them to develop vocabulary and basic numeracy skills, and introducing them with the school environment. Please note that the roles of early childhood teachers are different from early childhood educators even when they work in the same organisation. Early childhood teachers involve more in teaching while early childhood educators focus more on taking care of children.  

Early childhood teachers can also work with children from prep to year 3 in a primary school. The main roles of teachers in this level are to (1) help children develop literacy and elementary numeracy knowledge/skills, and (2) responsive for physical and social development of children. They also need to assess children’ learning progress and report it to parents.  

What early childhood education courses are available for international students in Australia?

You must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree or a post-graduate qualification that is recognised by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority to become an Early Childhood teacher. Popular courses for international students are: 

  • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) 
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) 
  • Master of Teaching (Birth to Five Years) 
  • Master of Education (Early Childhood)  

It is worth noting that each course is designed to provide you with specific knowledge and skills to teach either (1) children from 0 to 5 years old, or (2) children from 5 to 8 years old or (3) children from 0 to 8 years old. You should keep an eye on course descriptions to see which course best suits your interests and career plans.  

Contact SOL Edu today and you will have free consultations on Early Childhood Education course options!  

What are entry requirements for international students to study early childhood courses?

  • For the bachelor’s course, normally applicants are required to have completed Year 12 or a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and attained IELTS 7.5 (listening and speaking 8.0). Many universities require a higher English proficiency because one of the core duties of early childhood teachers are to help children enhance their language skills. However, if you have not achieved this English score, don’t give up. Some universities (such as Queensland University of Technology) still accept students with IELTS 6.5.  
  • For the master’s course, normally applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and attained IELTS 7.5. Similar to the Bachelor courses, some universities still invite students who get 7.0 IELTS to enroll in an early childhood course.  

Some international students may find the English requirement for early childhood education challenging, but the career outcomes and migration opportunities are worth your English learning efforts. Importantly, you would feel satisfied and meaningful when helping children learn, progress and grow.  

How much does it cost to study early childhood courses in Australia?

Compared to the huge benefits that an early childhood education course could bring; its tuition fee is relatively affordable. The tuition fee can vary depending on courses and universities, but you may be expected to pay around AU$28,000 annually.  

Another good thing is most universities offer a wide range of scholarships from AU$5,000 to AU$10,000 per year to support international students. Contact us or go to our website to explore more about what scholarships you can get.  

Where can you study early childhood courses?

Below are the most popular courses and universities chosen by international students: 

Bachelor’s Level   

  • QUT – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) 
  • Griffith – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)  
  • CQU – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)  
  • USC – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)  

Graduate Diploma’s Level 

  • SCU – Graduate Diploma of Education (Early Childhood) 
  • RMIT – Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education 
  • Victoria University – Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education 

Master’s Level  

How to pass a skill assessment for an early childhood teacher in Australia?

Unlike other skilled occupations, early childhood teachers do not need to prove their teaching experience to obtain a positive skills assessment. Only two criteria are applied to assess if you are qualified to be an early childhood teacher in Australia.  

  • Qualifications:  

You must have completed a minimum of four years full time higher education study. Your study must include a relevant initial teacher education qualification and can include other qualifications. 

Your study must include an initial teacher education qualification comparable to the educational level of an Australian Bachelor degree (Australian Qualifications Framework Level 7) or higher, which includes:  

(1) at least one year full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education (university) level study of Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher initial teacher education 

(2) completion of at least 45 days of supervised teaching practice with students across the birth to 8 years age range in education programs prior to and in the early years of primary school 

Other higher education qualification contributing to the four years of study must be comparable to the educational level of an Australian Advanced Diploma/Associate Degree (Australian Qualifications Framework Level 6) or higher. 

If your course is a four-year Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, you are likely to meet the qualification requirement. However, if your bachelor only includes three years study, you must have an additional relevant initial teacher education qualification, such as Graduate Diploma or Master in Early Childhood Education/Teaching to satisfy skills assessment requirement.  

  • English proficiency:  

Since teaching requires a high language proficiency to teach students, the English score required for skill assessment is high compared to other occupations. You can choose one of the following options to prove your English skills. 

  1. An Academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) that shows a score of at least 7.0 for both Reading and Writing; and a score of at least 8.0 for both Speaking and Listening. The IELTS test scores must be the result of a test undertaken during the 24-month period prior to submitting an application. 
  1. Completion of at least four full years of study (or part-time equivalent) in higher education in Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States of America resulting in qualification/s comparable to the educational level of an Australian Bachelor degree (Australian Qualifications Framework Level 7) or higher. This study must include a recognised initial teacher education qualification.  

What is the Permanent Residency (PR) pathway for an early childhood teacher in Australia?

Early childhood teacher is on the medium and long-term strategic skills list, which means there are many potential PR visas that you can consider. Below are steps to get a PR in Australia 

Step 1: Complete an early childhood education course in Australia  

International students who want to migrate to Australia under Early childhood teaching occupation need to have complete at least a bachelor’s degree (four year full-time), which includes at least one-year initial teacher qualification. Therefore, you can either study bachelor or master or graduate diploma of Early Childhood Education in Australia, depending on your circumstance.  

Step 2: Obtain a skills assessment from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) 

As mentioned, you are not required to have working experience to apply for a skill assessment for an early childhood teacher. This means you can submit your application as soon as you have completed your early childhood teaching/education courses in Australia.  

Regarding English requirement, if you study full time four years in Australia, you do not need to prove your English proficiency for a skills assessment unless AITSL requests. If you study Master of Early Childhood Education, then you are likely to already meet the English requirement by AITSL because most students must obtain a IELTS 7.5 in order to enrol in an early childhood teaching course.  

Step 3: Proceed to apply for a PR visa subclass that suits you best  

You can either apply for a skilled visa or sponsored visa.  

Skilled visas  

  • Visa 189 – skill independent visa is a points-tested visa, allowing you to live and work permanently in any state or territory in Australia. The minimum score that you are required to be considered for a visa invitation is 65, but you may need a higher score to increase your chance of getting an invite.  
  • Visa 190 – skilled nominated visa is similar to visa 189 but you need a nomination from one of Australian states or territories to apply for this visa. Each state may have its own occupation list and additional requirements, so you must investigate if you meet all the state’s eligibility criteria before asking for a nomination.  
  • Visa 491 – skilled work regional (provisional) visa is not permanent, but it can lead to a PR (visa 191). You must commit to stay and work in your nominating regional Australia for a minimal period of time and achieve at least 65 points to be apply for this visa. 

Employer Sponsored visas 

  • Visa 186 – employer nomination scheme visa allows you to work and stay indefinitely in Australia. To be eligible for this visa, you must be nominated by an approved employer and have at least 3 years of work experience as an early childhood teacher.  
  • Visa 191 – permanent Residence Skilled Regional Visa is designed for 491 or 494 visa holders who have lived and worked in a designated regional area for at least 3 years.
  • Visa 494 – skilled employer sponsored regional (provisional) visa is applicable for you if you have a regional employer who is willing to sponsor you. You must accumulate at least 3 years working as a early childhood teacher and obtain a relevant skills assessment.  

In conclusion, although the entry English requirements seem to be challenging for many international students as they may be required to obtain a relatively higher IELTS score, at 7.5, the early childhood education/teaching course opens a bright future to work and migrate to Australia. Graduates are able to apply for a skills assessment straight away after they have finished their early childhood teaching courses. They also have multiple PR visa choices to apply for as early childhood teaching is on the skilled list and a high demand job in Australia.  


How many years do I need to complete Early Childhood Education courses in Australia?

You need to spend four years to complete a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, two years to complete a Master and one year to finish a Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education in Australia. 

If I only get 6.5 IELTS, can I enrol in Early Childhood Education courses?

Most universities require an IELTS overall 7.5, with listening and speaking at least 8.0. However, some universities, for example, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) still accepts students who achieve 6.5 IELTS for a bachelor study.  

For the master’s degree, you must obtain IELTS 7.5 or equivalent, but if you only get 7.0 IELTS, you still have an opportunity to enroll in Early Childhood Education in some universities such as Flinders University and Southern Cross University. You can be waived from the English requirement if you have completed an Australian bachelor’s degree.  

The English proficiency requirement for Early Childhood Education courses can be high compared to other majors, but the great benefit is that you will have many choices to get a PR and you are not required to prove your work experience to pass a skills assessment for an Early Childhood teacher in Australia.  

How many days do I need for the early childhood teaching placement?

The professional experience in a kindergarten, childcare centre or primary school is compulsory for students attending early childhood education courses. The length of placement varies depending on each university and course, but students are expected to get at least 80 days of placement in the real work environment. Below are some examples.  

  • James Cook University requires 120 days for placement  
  • Central Queensland University (CQU) asks students to have a 100 – 120 days experience at work  
  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT) designs an early childhood education course with 90 days of placement.  
  • Deakin University expect students to undergo a 80-day placement.  
  • For a master level, Southern Cross University requires 60 days for placement.  

Normally, the school of education professional office will make all arrangements for students’ placement.  

Why study the graduate diploma of early childhood education? Who should consider studying this course?

The duration of Graduate Diploma of early childhood education is only one year but it covers key theories, principles and practices to best support children’s learning and development.  

International students who have only completed three years bachelor’s degree in Australia and aim to take a skills assessment, can consider taking this course as it allows you meet the assessment qualification requirements.  

How much does a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care typically cost in Australia?

The cost of a Bachelor of ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) program for international students in Australia can range from approximately AUD 25,000 to AUD 45,000 per year. However, various scholarships are available for international students to pursue this course. The scholarships usually offer 25 – 30% tuition fee discount, however some universities offer up to 50% tuition fee for international students. Contact SOL Edu at [email protected] or 07 3003 1899 to know if you are eligible for any scholarship. Our team will offer you free consultation and free application process.

What is the difference between a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education?

A Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education are both qualifications in the field of early childhood education, but they differ in terms of depth, scope, and educational level. Here are the key differences between the two: 

  • Educational Level: A Bachelor of ECEC, is an undergraduate program that typically requires three to four years of full-time study. It is a higher educational level compared to a Diploma, which is a vocational or TAFE qualification that can be completed in one to two years. 
  • Depth of Study: A Bachelor of ECEC provides a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of early childhood education and care. The program covers a broader range of theoretical knowledge, research-based practices, child development, curriculum planning, pedagogy, and leadership skills.  

In contrast, a Diploma in Early Childhood Education focuses more on practical skills and prepares students for entry-level positions in the field. It typically emphasizes hands-on training, practical experiences, and the development of foundational skills in areas such as child development, behavior management, and creating engaging learning environments. 

  • Career Opportunities: A Bachelor of ECEC offers broader career opportunities within the field of early childhood education. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree may pursue roles as early childhood teachers, directors or coordinators of childcare centers, curriculum developers, policy advisors and researchers. With a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, graduates are qualified for assistant or support roles in childcare centers, preschools, kindergartens, or family daycare settings.  
  • Professional Recognition: A Bachelor’s degree may be a requirement to obtain teacher registration or licensing as an early childhood teacher. A Diploma, on the other hand, may be sufficient for certain entry-level positions but may have limitations in terms of professional recognition and advancement opportunities. 

Contact SOL Edu today for free counselling and free application process!