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Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care: FAQ

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Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care: FAQ

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 CHCECE024Design 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 CHCORG506ECoordinate 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:

  1. Course transcripts, statements of attainment or copies of your previous certificates, diplomas and other qualifications
  2. References and documentation of your work responsibilities
  3. 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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There’s 37 comments (add a comment)

  • Irene brown says:

    id like an information pack sent to me for the diploma of Early childhood and care Please only email as contact

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Sure thing, Irene. You can fill up the form on the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care page and we’ll send the infopack to your email. You can add in there that you prefer to be contacted through email too 🙂 Let me know if you need help!

  • Chinenye says:

    Can enrolling in this course grant me any kind of visa?

  • Tanya Shields says:

    can i get vet fees help for this course

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Tanya! There are several ways for you to enrol and pay for the course fee of the Diploma of Early Childhood Education. This is course isn’t available for VET FEE HELP right now, but please enquire on the Diploma course page right now so that you can speak with our Enrolment Coordinator about which payment options would work best for you 🙂

  • Jen says:

    So you have payment plans available?

  • jess says:

    I run my own family day care can I complete all my prac hours in my own business?

  • Brijal Fofandi says:

    I have more than five years work experience as an Early childhood Educator.Presently I am working with well- reputed school in India and handling 27 students (0 to 5 years). I would like to do Diploma In Early Childhood course as my qualification B.A. With Philosophy is not comparable to Australian Qualification Framework. My IELTS score in Academic module is L8 R8 W7 S7 overall 7.5 and General Module : L8.5 R8 W6.5 S7 overall 7.5. I would like to know Am i eligible to do ONLIne course (Diploma In Early Childhood ? I am not a resident of Australia.

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Brijal! It sounds like you have significant experience teaching children. Unfortunately, you may not be eligible for the Diploma of Early Childhood and Care course because it has a Vocational Placement requirement. Vocational placement means that you have to complete at least 240 hours of work in a registered child care facility in Australia. The rest of the course can be studied online, but students need to be in Australia and complete their placement to actually finish the course. If you want to speak about this in more details, please click here to enquire on the Diploma course page. Our Enrolment Coordinator will then contact you to answer any questions you have 🙂

  • Ritu says:

    Hi Luke, I am in New Zealand.I have a lot of experience as a reliever in Early childhood centres. Can I be eligible for the Diploma of Early Childhood and Care course.

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Ritu! Yes, you are eligible to enrol directly to the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. Do you have any existing child care qualification? If you do, you may be able to gain recognition for what you’ve already studied. Please enquire here on the Diploma course page so that you can send a message to our Enrolment Coordinator if you want more details 🙂

  • Christina Mackintosh says:

    Hi there.
    I am about to start my cert 3 in childcare, I am planning on moving back to new Zealand in a few years as I am a New Zealander. Although I live in Australia currently and have been for 5 years.
    I am wondering is this qualification able to be used in New Zealand? Or is the diploma?
    Thanks heaps

  • Kayla Couto says:

    Is the Diploma of Early Childhood care certified by CRICOS? I’m asking that because my intention at the future is to apply for a Skilled Independent Visa. I’m currently enrolled in Cert III (finishes nex month) and Diploma (starts in January), however, I’d like to migrate my Diploma to an online course.


  • Cherry says:

    Hi, I am currently volunteering in a Daycare center in the Northern Territory. I am on a 457 Visa but currently unemployed and thought of switching my career to childcare/educator. I have been a teacher overseas as an English Teacher for secondary and primary students. I also been in charged with Students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. Will I be qualified to enrol for Diploma or is Cert III a pre-requisite to Diploma?
    Will my Education units (28) in Thailand be credited to Diploma? Can I be employed in a Childcare Center while I am working towards the Diploma? Thank you.

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Cherry! The Diploma actually includes most of the units of the Certificate III so you can go straight to the Diploma. To check if your previous education units can be counted towards the Diploma course, please enquire here on the child care course page so that our Enrolment Coordinator can get in touch with you and get more details.

  • Hayley martland says:

    I’m just wondering if i can do a online diploma at all please

    • Joshua says:

      Hi Hayley! Thanks for your interest. Our Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care course is delivered via Online Learning. You may study at your own pace and time and you will be given 24 months to complete the course. You may enquire at the course page to claim a free and complete course Info Pack!

  • Shey says:

    Hi, I am completely trying to switch my career into ECE. I would prefer to start from Diploma in Early childhood rather just studying certificate III. Do you thing it would be possible without any experience on ECEC. Also, how about Intensive Course in Diploma . Would that be difficult to follow without having any experience

  • Clair says:

    I have my Cert 3 in Children’s services and am wanting to study the Diploma. I have worked in the same centre for the last two years, can i do my vocational placement in my centre? Also, as I already hold my Cert 3 and work in a centre can i apply for RPLs? Is there anything else that I have forgotten to ask?
    Thanks in advance

  • Sealey says:

    Hi, I’m studying the Diploma of early childhood education and care. I have seen the workbook advertised for $200.00 and $350.00 for colour but am having trouble finding the link to purchase the workbook.

    Thank you

  • Aisha says:


    I recently finished my Masters of Education from VU and decided to continue my work here. Unfortunately I need to have a relevant educator training to become ECT. Can you recommend with a masters is certificate III enough to progress in ECE industry? or should I opt for diploma?

    • Joshua says:

      Hi Aisha. Thanks for your interest. Having either the Certificate III in Early Childcare Education and Care or the Diploma can certainly help you progress in the ECE sector. It’s also worth noting that you can enrol straight for the Diploma even without the Cert III. As for your options, our Enrolment Coordinator will be able to help enlighten you. Please enquire here at the course page to get in touch.

  • Shelley says:

    Hi, I’m interested in taking Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. I am currently not in Australia due to my job. I am an Australian citizen.
    (1)Is it possible for me to complete the course online while living overseas, and I will arrange my schedule (within 12 months of my course) so I can stay in Sydney/Melbourne for 2-3 months to complete 240 hours vocational placement.
    In addition, I have bachelor degree in finance and diploma Early Childhood Education from North America Montessori Center (NAMC). I am currently working in a bilingual school in Shanghai.
    2)Can I work with this Montessori Diploma in Australia?
    Thank you

  • Sha says:

    Once I start diploma is it possible to get cert III licence after a certain number of units??

    • Joshua says:

      Hi Sha. Thanks for your interest. Completing the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care course only awards you the Diploma and not the Certificate III. It’s a higher qualification though with a more extensive list of units of competency included. Please send us an enquiry here at the Diploma course page so our Enrolment Coordinator can get in touch with you to discuss.

  • Alessandra says:

    I’m currently working in a preschool , I have Cert III and now also working towards Diploma. However I have 23 years of experience working on the Education field. I’m from Brasil and I went to University studied Pedagogy but didn’t finished because moved overseas. Can I apply for RPL?
    Thank you

  • Kate Smith says:

    Can you please let me know if raising and caring for my own children can be in any way used as RPL for the diploma? Thank you.

    • Joshua says:

      Hi Kate! Thanks for sending in your enquiry. According to our child care trainer, raising and caring for your own children can’t be used as any form of RPL. While caring for your children lets you understand the basic concepts of child care, there are a lot more to learn as a child care worker, including relevant laws and standards and working with children from different backgrounds and their behaviours. Hope this information helps!

      If you have any more questions, feel free to send us an enquiry through the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care page so our Enrolment Coordinator can get in touch with you.

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