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Careers of the Future: Early Childhood Education and Care

Globalisation, automation and rapidly changing needs mean the future of employment will probably look very different to now. In fact, many current careers won’t exist in the next 10 to 20 years. So, it’s critical that students ask the important question: ‘Will my chosen study path lead to strong job opportunities after graduation and beyond?’

In this series we’re exploring a range of occupations forecast to have strong employment prospects in the future. Some careers in the tech industry are quickly emerging. Plus, there are other existing careers that will also have an important place in the employment opportunities of tomorrow.

If you’ve ever considered working with children, you might want to think about a career in Early Childhood Education and Care. While this industry has been around for a while, it’s currently showing a lot of demand in Australia and projected to have strong growth over the coming years. Let’s learn more about this diverse and crucial industry.

What is Early Childhood Education and Care?

This branch of education involves teaching children from the ages of a few weeks old to around eight years of age. The aim of this type of education or care is to encourage a child’s growth into a well-rounded, happy, and healthy individual. This involves everything from sensory play through to more formal types of education, including helping them understand the basics of subjects they’ll encounter later in life at school. 

Why Early Childhood Education and Care?

Are you organised, caring, and patient? Do you love to get creative and enjoy helping others? Can you communicate clearly with adults and children? Do you enjoy building meaningful relationships?

If you’re passionate about inspiring the next generation, Early Childhood Education and Care could be the career for you. Educators are an incredibly valuable part of raising children to reach their full potential and have the opportunity to be a powerfully positive influence on young children. Those working in Early Childhood Care teach the basics of numeracy, literacy, music, art, and literature; promoting students’ social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development in the process. This key role in a child’s life is both rewarding and interesting, bringing with it the opportunity to build a meaningful career that makes a difference. 

Unlimited ongoing opportunities 

The Australian Government classifies growth in this industry as very strong, the highest classification a profession can be given. The current job market forecast suggests this sector will continue to grow by 20% over the next five years. The starting salary for a position in Early Childhood Education and Care is roughly $45,000 per annum and increases each year with your experience. Not only that, but the types of positions available are varied, allowing students to grow as their experience increases and their lifestyle changes. 

Great teachers make a big difference 

Scientific studies have shown that Early Childhood Educators play an important role in childhood development. The science of early development has shown the first five years of a child’s life are the most important for building the foundations of wellbeing and life-long learning. Along with primary carers and other family members, teachers rank highly as an influential presence in the life and learning of children, making this profession a rewarding one for those invested in the health and happiness of their students. 

No two days are the same

Most people working in Early Childhood Education and Care will be following a play-based and developmentally appropriate curriculum to help build each child’s confidence in a learning environment. This means using your creativity and ingenuity to help inspire children to engage with new information with the aim of instilling a life-long love of learning. Creating fun exercises, inventing exciting projects, and learning how to encourage your students to do their best also amounts to making each day different. 

Employment for educators 

Early Childhood Education and Care is a diverse sector so there are lots of professions to choose from. This includes long daycare, family daycare, outside school hours care, preschool, school-age care, and educational support roles. These roles can be further divided by industry. Children’s education and care services operate under a number of different management arrangements including private companies, community, and not for profit organisations, government institutions, and public, independent, and private schools. This means there are plenty of opportunities to find a role that suits you both now and into the future. 

Benefits for international students 

Early Childhood Education and Care is a great option for international students. The government currently lists Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List. Because the occupation is listed as a profession in demand in Australia, international students who hold the relevant qualifications and experience can apply for any of the visas in the General Skilled Migration Program. 

Australia is also a multicultural place with people from many different backgrounds migrating to live here. Consequently, being able to speak another language or inherently understand children coming to live in a new place for the first time is a valuable skill set to have. 

Education requirements

There are several pathways to choose from when looking to train in Early Childhood Education and Care. Various certificates will allow you to work at different levels within the system, but a diploma such as the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care delivered by Queensland International Institute (Qii) will allow you more freedom in choosing where you would like to take your career after study. Studying with a reputable organisation based in Australia also lends credibility to your resume and the validity and content of your qualification. 

Meet Basak, a student at Queensland International Institute in Brisbane

Basak Ozturk first started working with children in her home country of Turkey while studying for her degree. A friend introduced her to a volunteer opportunity where she spent a few days a week teaching basic maths, English, and other educational activities to young children. It didn’t take long for Basak to realise this was what she wanted to pursue as a career. She loved the creativity of teaching and the children never failed to make her smile. 

Now studying with Qii, Basak is following her dream of working with children. Basak says her training has been fun as well as informative. “Classes are a lot of fun with the trainer. Sometimes they come to class with a colourful wig, make bubbles with the students, or sing nursery rhymes together, preparing the students with the skills they need in a very fun way.”

She believes working with children is very rewarding. “I love teaching. I was also surprised to find out just how much the little ones have to teach me. I love working with them because they always amaze me with their learning, development and engagement.”