Early Childhood Education Courses and RPL
RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. It is a process of recognising the skills and knowledge you already have so you don’t have to demonstrate them again during your course to gain your early childhood education qualification. In other words, RPL can help you reduce your study load and gain your qualification sooner.
As a result, “can I get RPL for my early childhood education course?” is one of the most common questions we hear. If you’re looking to start a career in child care (or advance your current one) with Certificate III or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care training, then it would be beneficial for you to know about RPL too.
So can you get RPL for the Cert III and Diploma Early Childhood qualifications?
The short answer is yes, but only if you can provide sufficient evidence of relevant training and/or relevant and recent work experience. This means that you’ll likely need to reach out to your current or previous employers and trainers to get the evidence you need.
Examples of evidence you can submit include:
- Child development records, forms and documents that you created or helped create
- Reflective journals and task log books of your responsibilities in a child care facility
- References from your employers, supervisors or clients
- Copies of your certificates, diplomas or other qualifications
- Statements of attainment for training that you attended
The evidence you provide will then be checked by RPL Assessors. These experts will assess if your experience and qualifications can be recognised as equivalent to the units of competency in the course.
The two most common pathways to gaining RPL are “Workplace Evidence” and “Direct Credit”.
Workplace Evidence Pathway to RPL
If you’ve previously had a job with the same responsibilities as the learning outcomes of a course unit, you can apply for RPL for that unit.
For example, the unit CHCECE005 – Provide Care for Babies and Toddlers is in both the Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care courses. If you’ve already spent a lot of time working with babies and toddlers in a professional child care setting, you may apply for RPL for this unit.
You can use evidence such as weekly task records that show your assigned duties or a report from your supervisor outlining your responsibilities and stating you were able to provide adequate care for babies and toddlers to support your RPL claim.
Direct Credit Pathway to RPL
If you’ve completed vocational courses in the past, you may have already completed some of the units required for these qualifications.
For example, the unit HLTHIR403C – Work Effectively with Culturally Diverse Clients and Co-Workers is in many different vocational courses. If you hold other qualifications which include HLTHIR403C, simply provide a statement of attainment or a copy of your qualification so we can verify you have already completed the unit and we can give you direct credit for you previous training.
Common RPL questions
1. How do I apply for RPL?
Normally you just need to indicate on your enrolment form that you would like to apply for RPL. Your trainer will be in contact to explain the process and discuss what kinds of evidence you can supply in order to gain RPL.
2. I’ve raised kids of my own. Does that count for RPL?
Raising your own children provides valuable experience and gives you a deep insight into their needs, but unfortunately it can’t be used to gain RPL. These qualifications are not just about caring for children, they require you to provide early childhood education in the context of Australia’s heavily regulated and monitored early childhood education and care industry.
3. Can I get RPL for Work as an Au Pair, Nanny or Babysitter?
If you have work experience as an au pair, nanny or babysitter which is relevant to one or more course units, you can apply for RPL using the workplace evidence pathway described above.
4. What if I can’t provide evidence for RPL?
Child care training providers can only grant RPL when you have enough evidence to prove you already hold the skills and knowledge required for the qualification. Unfortunately, even if you have relevant experience and knowledge, if you can’t prove it with evidence your application for RPL will be denied.
5. How much RPL can I get?
The amount of RPL you receive really depends on what evidence you can provide. You can potentially gain credit for all 18 units in the Certificate III or all 28 units in the Diploma, but you must submit evidence that demonstrates you hold all the knowledge and skills required for those qualifications.
6. How long does RPL take?
RPL is not an instantaneous process! It may take you several weeks just to gather all your evidence to support your RPL application. Once your application is submitted, it will normally go into the queue for marking and it may be several weeks before an assessor starts work on it. Finally, because RPL assessments can be very challenging and time consuming, it may take 2-3 weeks of full time work for your assessor to examine your evidence, map it to the learning outcomes of the course, and make an accurate determination of RPL.
7. What if I don’t get RPL?
Providing evidence does not automatically mean that you will receive RPL. In some cases your training provider may not be able to verify your evidence; or it may not demonstrate the right skills and knowledge; or there may not be enough evidence to make a proper assessment of your abilities. If you receive no RPL, you will need to complete all assessments to gain your qualification.
RPL is a great tool to gain your qualification in early childhood education, but it is only granted if you already have the skills and knowledge required and can prove it by supplying evidence to support your RPL claim.
If you have relevant work experience or qualifications with similar units, simply indicate you would like to apply for RPL when you enrol in your course. You will need to gather evidence to support your RPL application. RPL Assessors will then determine if any of the units can be credited to you.
If you want to learn more, simply contact your child care training provider and ask them about RPL.
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