Frequently Asked Questions
What will be my job prospects after this course? Do I need the Certificate III to study the Diploma? And how can I apply for RPL?
These are some of the questions we receive almost everyday about the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. You might have similar concerns if you’re thinking of starting your child care career, or planning to move into higher level jobs with more responsibilities, by studying the Diploma course.
To help you gain this Diploma qualification and advance your career, we’ve put together 10 of the most commonly asked questions of early childhood education students.
1. What will my job prospects be with the Diploma ECE?
The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113) is Australia’s standard qualification to hold many senior jobs within the child care industry. Child care providers are actually required to employ Diploma-qualified educators as part of their staff and the qualification is essential to hold certain positions within a child care service.
The National Quality Standards state that:
- At least half of all educators in a long day care or preschool facility need to hold (or be actively working towards) a Diploma-level qualification or higher
- All family day care coordinators must hold a Diploma-level qualification or higher
With this qualification you can apply to enter the industry as an Early Childhood Educator, Child Care Assistant, Family Day Care Assistant, Mobile Child Care Assistant and it may be useful if you plan to work as a Nanny or Au Pair.
Once you have developed work experience, this qualification will allow you to progress into jobs as a Child Development Worker, Child Care Group Leader, Centre Manager and other similar roles.
2. When can I start my vocational placement?
You can begin your vocational placement anytime during the course, but if you do not have experience in the industry we recommend completing the first few course subjects first. These subjects will give you a solid foundation of core skills involved in child care which will help you accomplish the regular duties of childhood educators.
3. What’s the difference between the Diploma and the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care?
The Diploma of ECE, or CHC50113, is the ideal course for childhood educators who want to expand their career by pursuing higher level jobs in early childhood education.
This advanced qualification teaches the practical skills needed to become a Centre Manager, Team or Group Leader, Family Day Care Coordinator or other similar management roles in child care. It covers many more advanced skills required for those roles, including centre management & leadership, designing educational programs for children, and health and safety management. The Diploma is a much longer course and takes around 2 years to complete. It has 28 units and 240-480 hours of vocational placement.
The Cert III ECE, or CHC30113, is the minimum requirement to become a qualified early childhood educator. This is the recommended course for new students who have minimal work experience in child care because it teaches the core skills needed to start a career as a Child Care Assistant. It takes around 1 year to complete and has 18 units and 120-240 hours of vocational placement.
4. Do I have to hold the Certificate III before enroling?
No, you are not required to hold the Certificate III to enrol in the Diploma course.
You can take up the Diploma right away because it covers several units that are also in the Certificate III. These units are shared so that all students will have the core skills needed by all early childhood educators. Some examples of these are CHCECE002 – Ensure the health and safety of children, CHCECE005 – Provide care for babies and toddlers and HLTHIR403C – Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers.
Please note that the Diploma is a more time-intensive course designed to prepare you for higher positions. If you are new to the industry, you may find the additional advanced units particularly difficult if you don’t have enough work experience in the industry yet.
5. What if I already have the Certificate III?
You may be eligible to fast track your Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care if you already hold the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
This is because 13 out of the Diploma’s 28 units are already covered in the Cert III. By sending a copy of your qualification, you may get a credit transfer that removes the need for you to study those 13 units again. Take note that the exact number of units may be different if you are coming from a different training provider that included different units in their Certificate III course.
You can also apply to RPL the rest of the more advanced units in the Diploma if you can provide evidence that you have been doing related work as a qualified childhood educator. For example, to RPL the course subjects about how to manage a child care facility, you can submit documents that show you contributed to your centre’s assessment rating process, quality improvement plan or other daily management plans.
6. What advanced skills will I learn in the Diploma?
The skills taught in the Diploma of ECE are essential to pursue higher positions in early childhood education. These include units that teach how to effectively manage a child care facility.
For example, the unit CHCECE019 – Facilitate compliance in an education and care service covers how to make sure a facility follows the regulations of the National Quality Framework. Unit CHCECE024 – Design and implement the curriculum to foster children’s learning and development gives you a more active role than just supporting existing development programs. It also has CHCORG506E – Coordinate the work environment that teaches you how to communicate effectively in the workplace, maximise performance and develop staffing processes.
7. Can I apply for Recognition of Prior Learning?
Yes, RPL is available to all students who can prove that they have relevant work experiences and/or qualifications.
To apply for RPL, you need verifiable evidence that you already have the skills and knowledge taught by the Diploma course. Examples of acceptable evidence include:
- Course transcripts, statements of attainment or copies of your previous certificates, diplomas and other qualifications
- References and documentation of your work responsibilities
- Samples of documents, forms or records that you helped create
All 28 units of the Diploma ECE are open for RPL and you can apply to gain recognition for any number of them. Just remember that you need to submit evidence for each of your claims. An RPL Assessor will then check your evidence and determine if they are enough to give you credit.
8. Where can I find the answers to the workbook?
The main resource you can use to answer the workbooks are the Learner Guides. Each of the 10 clusters of the Diploma course has its own workbook and if you have trouble with a specific question, simply look up the topic in its accompanying Learner Guide. It is highly recommended that you read these guides before answering the workbook. You can download all workbooks and Learner Guides through the student portal.
Another handy resource is the student forum inside the student portal where anyone can post questions about the course. Trainers frequently reply here so make sure to check if your question has already been answered.
You’ll sometimes have to conduct your own research by visiting the websites of industry regulators. This includes the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority for the National Quality Framework or the Department of Education for the Early Years Learning Framework.
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 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care has 1550 nominal hours, including the required 240-480 hours of vocational placement. This number is only a rough estimate of the course duration because your actual study time depends a lot on the pace you set for yourself and how familiar you are with the topics.
For example, if you are already working in a child care facility, then you may get RPL for some parts of the course and answer the remaining workbooks. If this is your first qualification for early childhood education, you may have to set aside more time reading the Learner Guides and doing additional research.
You also have the freedom it create your own study schedule. You can make plans to complete a section every week and complete the course early or finish everything when the course deadline nears. The first option is almost always the better way to do it!
10. How many hours of vocational placement are required?
You must do a minimum of 240 hours to complete the vocational placement requirement of the Diploma. If you need more time, or want to develop your practical skills and experience to increase your employment prospects, then you do up to 480 hours in your placement.
Just remember that you can only complete a maximum of 240 hours within a 12-month period. This means that your course may extend past a year for you to get more work experience.
11. I have a question not listed here. What do I do?
Don’t worry, you can ask us any other question you might have. Enquire at the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care course page to get your own information pack and to speak our enrolment coordinators.
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