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Early Childhood Education & Care


Early Childhood Education and Care covers a range of early childhood education settings within the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations and the National Quality Standard.

The sector covers not only helping children learn, but also providing support for children’s wellbeing, learning and development.

Sectors in the industry

The sector includes the following activities:

  • Before or after school care service
  • Child care service
  • Family day care service
  • Education assistance

Employer profile for the industry

There are approximately 4,700 employers in the Child Care sector and 28% of them employ more than 20 people.

Source: ABS, Counts of Australian Businesses, Jun 2012 to Jun 2016

There are almost 17,000 child care centres in Australia. Long Day Care providers make up just over 6,500, Family Day Care providers make up about 800, Occasional Day Care providers make up just over 100 and Outside School Hours Care providers make up almost 9,500.

Source: Colliers International Child Care White Paper

There are 163,000 people working in the Child Care sector. This number is expected to increase by 19% to 194,300 by 2020.

Source: Department of Jobs and Small Business Industry Projections - Five Years to November 2020.

More than 900,000 children between 0 and 12 years attended some type of formal child care in 2014. Many of their parents reported a need for additional child care, usually due to work related reasons.

Source: ABS, Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2014

Typical features of the workforce

Child Carers provide care and supervision for children in residential homes and non-residential childcare centres:

  • There are 149,600 child carers in employment. This number is expected to rise by 30% to 188,600 in 2020.
  • Women make up 94% of the workforce, and 49% of workers are full time.
  • The most common level of education attainment is Certificate III and IV.

There are 12,900 Child Care Centre Managers in employment, with the number expected to rise to 15,800 by 2020. The most common level of education attainment is Advanced Diploma and Diploma.

Source: Australian Government Job Outlook website

Emerging sectors, future growth

Early Childhood Education and Care is responding to increased demand, largely driven by population growth. Over four years to 2012, the number of children in child care increased by 20%. The number of children aged under five is expected to increase to 2.2 million by 2031 and 2.6 million by 2051. Meeting this growing demand is a challenge, even with the recent expansion of child care services. Child care providers continue to report waiting lists and skills shortages.

Source: Skills IQ Community Services and Health Environmental Scan 2015

Jobs in Demand

Child Care Workers have been identified as being on some state skills shortage lists. Shortages are for diploma qualified child care workers in regional areas or sufficiently experienced for senior roles.

Child Care Centre Managers are also in shortage on some state skills shortage lists.

Source: Skill Shortage List Australia, Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Licensed occupations and registrations

There are no occupational licences for child care workers, however child care centres must employ or have access to early childhood teachers based on the number and age of children they care for. The minimum qualification is a relevant Certificate III.

Source: Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority

Key Occupations

Childhood Educator Assistant

Preschool Assistant

Outside School Hours Aide

Childhood Education Manager

This industry is positioned in the following groups


Health, Care & Community Services

Work Type

Practical & Manual

Helping & Advising

Organising & Clerical

Ready to see where Early Childhood Education and Care can take you?

Career Pathways

Early Childhood Education and Care has career pathways from Certificate II through to Diploma.  Look at the Community Services Job Pathway Chart to see what is of interest.

Job Pathway Chart

Practice Aptitude Quiz

This resource illustrates the maths and literacy needed to complete the entry level training in this sector.

Download The Quiz

Support Services

Further Research


Industry information is published by peak level associations, government and major employers.  Accessing industry association sites, including member lists, is a good way of building up an understanding of an industry.  Visiting employer websites and looking for careers or employment menus helps identify how employers recruit and the skills they are recruiting.

Use Google to search for the associations and organisations listed below.


  • Skills IQ
  • Early Childhood Australia
  • Australian Childcare Alliance
  • Australian Home Childcare Association

Other Useful Links

  • Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority
  • Department of Social Services
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Department of Human Services
  • Families and Children - Related Agencies & Sites
  • mychild.gov.au

Careers Sites