So you want to have a career in child care?
Did you know that child care is one of Australia’s fastest growing careers? In fact, there are expected to be more than 50,000 vacancies for child care workers between 2013-2018!
Child care is such an essential service that opportunities for work can be found all across Australia. This guide is meant to help you get started or advance your career in childcare. Learn more about training requirements, childcare regulations, and even interview questions – this resource will help you find what you need.
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So how can you join this nationally important industry? The first thing you need to do is get qualified.
Required Training for Child Care Jobs in Australia
Over the last few years, new child care regulations have been introduced to improve the quality of child care in Australia. One important change for you is the introduction of training requirements for people working in child care.
To work in long day care looking after kids aged 0-5 years, you now need at least the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or a similar qualification. On top of that, at least half of all carers in a child care centre must also take higher courses like the Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. This means that demand for further education from hiring managers has risen as well.
Both of these courses incorporate a large hands-on work placement to help you develop skills in child care, while the theoretical components of the course can be done online at your own pace.
But what if I don’t have these qualifications yet?
Don’t worry, you are eligible even if you are just in the process of getting qualified. This means that you can start applying for a job after enroling in a training course. You just have to show that you are actively moving towards a qualification.
Child Care Worker and Assistant Job Description
As you can probably guess, a child care professional is in charge of kids from infants to toddlers to preschoolers. Your responsibilities revolve around caring and teaching for these children. Some specific tasks for workers and managers include:
- Guiding the social behavior of children
- Conducting recreational and educational activities
- Promoting good hygiene in kids
- Assisting in the operations of a child care centre
- Designing and implementing child development programs
- Ensuring a safe work, study, and play environment
Excellent child care professionals also have several common skills and abilities. You will be taught and given experience in doing these during your training course:
- Training and teaching
- Good oral communication
- Problem sensitivity
- Customer service
- Administration and management
Salaries and Wages of Child Care Assistants in Australia
In 2013, the median weekly salary for full time child care workers across Australia was $700. Weekly wages were higher at $1,100 for child care centre managers who typically pursue higher training courses.
A typical week for a child care worker lasts 37 hours on average, while managers work for an average of 41.6 hours.
Common Child Care Job Interview Questions
After you start or complete your qualification course, you are eligible and can begin applying for jobs. More often than not, a child care centre’s application process will involve inviting candidates to an interview.
For starters, you should be ready to answer general questions that are meant to bring out your professional qualities. Some common examples are:
- Can you tell us about yourself?
- Why do you want to get into this career?
- What are your character strengths and weaknesses?
- What skills can you contribute to our organisation?
- What are your long term career goals?
Hiring and recruitment managers also typically enquire about your past work experience through questions similar to:
- What was the biggest challenge you faced in your previous work? How did you handle it?
- Can you give us an example of a stressful situation that you were in before?
- Do you have experience being part of a team?
You will also be asked more specific questions related to actual skills and scenarios:
- What do you think are the most important things to do when teaching children?
- How would you deal with a rowdy child?
- What would you include when creating a learning and development plan for children?
Child Care Regulations You Should Know About
When it comes to child care standards, you can refer to the Education and Care Services National Regulations Act of 2010. Australian states and territories have either adopted this law or created a corresponding one for their use.
Among the key changes you should know about this regulation are:
- Childhood educators need at least a certificate III qualification in education and care
- At least 50% of educators in a long day care and preschool must have or be working towards a diploma level qualification in education and care
- An early childhood teacher must be present for at least 20% of the time spent providing childcare services, depending on the size of the centre
- A ratio of 1 educator to 4 children of up to 24 months in age maximum
- A ratio of 1 educator to 5 children between 25 and 35 months of age maximum
- A ratio of 1 educator to 11 children between 36 months and preschool or kinder age
State and territories may vary on the deadline to comply with these new regulations. You can check when it will apply for you by visiting your local regulator’s website through the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality and Authority.
Helpful Resources and Finding Job Vacancies
You can stay on top of the child care industry by:
- Subscribing to the Australian government’s childcare newsletter for legislative changes
- Viewing data on the growth of child care for job prospects
- Visiting the MyChild website to look for care providers and funding assistance
- Joining communities like the Aussie Childcare Network for educational tips for professionals, students and parents
Once enrolled in a training course, you can look for job vacancies across Australia by clicking on your location below:
- New South Wales (NSW)
- Victoria (VIC)
- Queensland (QLD)
- South Australia (SA)
- Western Australia (WA)
- Tasmania (TAS)
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- Northern Territory (NT)
Demand for child care jobs and services is growing in Australia. This means that tens and thousands of vacancies may be created during the next 3 years.
Required training such as the Cert III in Early Childhood Education and Care will make you eligible to work in childcare. Advanced courses including the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care may be needed to get higher management jobs.
Who knows? This could be the right career for you. Click on the links provided here and find out for yourself.
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