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Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care: FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions for the Cert III ECE

Can I get a job in child care? When should I look for my work placement? And what do all these acronyms mean?

These are some of the questions we receive almost everyday about the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. You probably have similar concerns if you’re thinking of taking up this national qualification or are already studying it today.

To put your concerns to rest and bring you closer to gaining your qualification, we’ve compiled the answers to the 10 most asked questions by our child care students. Take a look at the list below and get valuable information about the Cert III ECE.

1. Where can this qualification lead me?

The Cert III ECE (or equivalent older qualifications) is the minimum standard to work in many types of child care services in Australia.

The current regulations state that:

  • To work with children from birth to preschool age (0-5 years) in centre-based child care services you must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification like the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
  • If you are running your own family day care service or want to work for one, all family day care educators must have or be actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification.

In other words, you need to complete or take up this course to be qualified to work as an early childhood educator in the most common types of child care services in Australia. With this qualification you can typically apply for positions like:

  • Child Care Assistant
  • Child Care Educator
  • Family Day Care Educator
  • Mobile Child Care Assistant

2. When can I start my vocational placement?

It’s your choice when to complete your vocational placement, but we recommend waiting until you’ve finished the first few course subjects. You’ll be expected to carry out the typical duties of a child care worker during your placement so it’s ideal to have a solid foundation of knowledge to guide you.

3. Why is child care full of acronyms and abbreviations?

A lot of regulators, training organisations, providers and educators are involved in early childhood education. Many child care acronyms really refer to these industry bodies and regulators.

Don’t worry if you feel a bit confused by all the letters and abbreviations because you’re likely to pick up their meanings while you study. You won’t need to memorize everything right away, but you’ll have to be familiar with the major ones. These include:

  • ACECQA – Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority
  • NQF – National Quality Framework
  • NQS – National Quality Standards
  • EYLF – Early Years Learning Framework
  • FSAC – Framework for School Aged Children

4. Is there a requirement for english language, literacy and numeracy?

Yes, as an educator there are language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) requirements you have to meet for the CHC30113. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time teaching and communicating with other people once you complete the course.

You need a minimum English proficiency equivalent to a Year 10 level to become a qualified educator. If you are unsure of your English proficiency level, you will complete an LLN evaluation after you enrol to assess your English skills.

5. Who are the regulators for child care?

The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the major regulatory body for the Australian early childhood education sector. It is made up of representatives from each state and territory. You might be familiar with them already because one of their biggest roles is to guide the implementation of the National Quality Framework across Australia.

Each state and territory also has its own regulator. For example, for Queensland it is the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care while Victoria has the Department of Education and Training. These organisations are the ones who make sure all child care providers comply with their regulations.

6. Is this course all about playing with children?

Child care in Australia is about much more than playing with children. As an Early Childhood Educator you will be responsible for providing a protective, nurturing environment that helps children learn and develop to their full potential. Play is one of the many tools you’ll use to achieve the best outcomes for the children in your care.

The skills you’ll learn in this course focus on how to develop positive relationships with children, support their holistic development, participate in ensuring workplace safety and even deliver emergency first aid.

7. Can I apply for Recognition of Prior Learning?

Yes, definitely. RPL is available to all learners who can demonstrate evidence of prior learning through training, work or life experience.

Applying for RPL is no guarantee that you will receive credit for the course units. As a Registered Training Organisation in Australia, it is our responsibility to only issue qualifications to learners who have sufficiently demonstrated the required skills and knowledge. A successful RPL application requires verifiable evidence that you possess the exact skills and knowledge required for this qualification.

You can apply to get RPL for the Cert III ECE if you:

  1. Hold qualifications with units related to early childhood education and care
  2. Have relevant and recent work experience
  3. Have evidence that proves your background

Examples of acceptable evidence are:

  1. Course transcripts, statement of attainment and certificates
  2. References and documentation of your previous work responsibilities
  3. Work samples

To apply, simply indicate on your enrolment form that you wish to receive RPL. An RPL Assessor will contact you to check your eligibility for each unit and explain what you need to submit. The amount of RPL you receive will depend on the evidence you provide and any remaining assessment can be completed through gap training.

8. Can I get the answers to the workbook?

Your trainers cannot just provide you with the exact answers to questions in the workbooks. Their job is to provide guidance, feedback and instruction so you can discover the answers for yourself.

The primary resource you’ll use for the workbooks are the Learner Guides. It is highly recommended that you read the Learner Guides first before taking on the workbooks so that you already have an idea of where to find the answers.

You can also visit the student forums if you’re having trouble with a particular item because other students may have already asked the same question.

Other resources you’ll need to check are regulator websites.This is where you can find the official documents about frameworks and legislation

Don’t worry if you feel like you need more help. You can send your trainer a message in the student portal anytime or even schedule a call with them to ask for extra guidance. Your trainer is there to help you finish the course so don’t feel discouraged.

9. How long will it take me to complete the course?

The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care has 1200 nominal hours (including the required vocational placement hours) which is meant to give you a rough estimate of how much time you’ll need to spend studying the course. Your actual study time depends on the pace you set for yourself and how familiar you are with the topics. The maximum duration is 12 months, but you can always apply for an extension if you feel like you need more time.

The Cert III ECE is an online course, meaning that how fast you finish it is up to you. You can study hard and complete ASAP, set aside time every week to study and complete the workbooks well before the deadline, or leave just leave everything to the last minute. We recommend one of the first two!

Don’t forget to schedule your vocational placement as well. Remember, you need to allow time to find a registered Australian child care service where you can complete the placement, then do a minimum of 120 hours (and up to 240 hours) in the vocational placement.

If you are doing a regular 38 hour work week during your placement, it will take between 3.2 and 6.4 weeks to complete your work experience hours. If you’re only doing 1 day a week, it’ll take between 16 and 32 weeks. Plan ahead and allow yourself plenty of time to complete the placement!

10. How can I find vocational placement?

Vocational placement is where you can apply what you’ve learned in an actual child care setting. To complete this requirement, you’ll first have to find a registered service provider that will take you in as a volunteer.

If you have friends or family working in childcare (even running their own facilities) it may be as simple as asking them to let you complete a placement with them. If you don’t have contacts in child care, don’t worry. Child care is a common need and there are a huge number of services across the country. There are likely to be several child care facilities in your local area.

Prepare your cover letter and resume. Use this to explain why you would be a good fit in their centre or family day care and highlight that you are taking up the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. This says to the provider that they’re not just getting a volunteer, but also a qualified child care worker. Don’t worry if it’s your first time looking for work. You can include your previous experiences in babysitting or even watching over your younger siblings to serve as your work experience.

Create a list of services in your area and visit them in person if you can; call them if you can’t visit them; and email them only as a last resort. Make the decision easy for them by dressing appropriately and being ready to answer their interview questions. Treat this like you’re trying to get a job. After all, if you impress them during your placement it could lead to an offer of paid work. If you don’t succeed in your first attempt, keep going. It’s a numbers game and each unsuccessful attempt is an opportunity to learn, improve and increase your chance of success next time.

If you’d like more information, read Getting Work Experience in a Child Care Centre.

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