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What Career Opportunities are There in Early Childhood Education?

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When you work in early education, you get to enjoy the privilege of helping young children develop their cognitive skills within a nurturing environment. The first years of a child’s life are packed with developmental milestones, providing the foundation for a lifetime of learning and discovery.

This article will outline some of the different career opportunities in early childhood education, so you can explore your potential within this extraordinary industry. We’ll also provide information about some of the higher positions you can aim for as your career progresses, including average salary expectations.

What are early childhood education career pathways?

There are several exciting career pathways available for those with a passion for working with children. Here, we’ll look at some of the most popular early education roles, so you can decide which is most suitable for you:

  • Nanny: For many, a career path in early childhood education begins with nannying. A Nanny provides supervision and care for children within their homes, which can involve giving them baths, helping them to get dressed, and assisting with homework. Nannies are also sometimes responsible for household tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
  • Childcare Assistant: Also known as an Early Childhood Educator, a Childcare Assistant provides structured learning and care to young children within an early education centre. They supervise children as they play, prepare learning activities, and help to keep kids safe, clean, nourished and engaged.
  • Childcare Worker: This role is similar to the role of Childcare Assistant, except Childcare Workers can be employed across a broader variety of settings including in people’s homes, kindergartens, crèches, hospitals and women’s shelters.
  • Early Childhood Educator: Working across a range of settings including early education centres, kindergartens and preschools, Early Childhood Educators provide care for young children and help them meet their educational, social, physical and emotional needs.
  • Early Childhood Teacher: These professionals work with young children to help them learn and develop important skills. Early Childhood Teachers work in early education facilities, kindergartens, primary schools and special education settings, to plan and implement learning activities for children.
  • Kindergarten Teacher: Providing a welcoming and nurturing introduction to formal schooling, Kindergarten Teachers plan and implement learning activities for pre-primary-aged children. They also assist with children’s emotional and social development at this crucial stage in their lives.
  • Educational Leader: Also known as an Early Childhood Teaching Director, Educational Leaders train, support and mentor educators and administrators of early education services. They promote positive educational philosophies and develop policy and course curricula, drawing upon their deep understanding of educational practice and theory.

What are the career goals of an early childhood educator?

When you first begin your professional life, you might not have any clearly defined career goals in early childhood education. However, once you’ve worked in the field of early learning for a few years, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s possible within this industry.

Here are some of the more senior roles within early childhood education that you might like to set for yourself as a career goal:

  • Childcare Centre Manager: Also known as an Early Years Manager, a Childcare Centre Manager is responsible for planning and implementing educational programs and activities to help young children develop. These professionals supervise teams of workers and educators, and they’re usually the main point of contact for parents and caregivers. They’re also responsible for strategic planning, applying regulatory requirements and managing the centre’s finances.
  • Children’s Services Manager: As a Children’s Services Manager, you’ll be responsible for developing early education programs and directing educators. These professionals work across a variety of settings – including childcare centres and kindergartens – to ensure that the facilities are safe and that they comply with government standards.
  • Executive Officer: Senior leaders within the field of early education provide strategic management to government and/or private organisations. Executive Officers strive to continuously improve early education services, and work in collaboration with the community, clients, the workforce and funding bodies.

For more information about career opportunities in early childhood education, head over to our article: Where is the future of early childhood education heading?

What is the highest position in early childhood education?

If your career objective as an early childhood educator is to reach the top, you should aim for a senior executive role. If you have considerable experience within the field of early education and you want to work towards this type of position, you should look into acquiring an advanced degree such as a Master of Business Administration.

What is the highest degree in early childhood education?

Swinburne Online offers the following courses for those interested in advancing their career in early education:

By gaining an accredited qualification, you’ll expand your career options for early childhood education. Plus, you’ll get to connect with an entire network of students and educators who share your passion for early learning.

What is the average early childhood education career salary?

Here, we’ve provided average annual salary estimates for popular early education jobs in Australia (based on data from Seek). Please bear in mind that your salary will depend on your experience and qualifications, so if you’re just starting out in your career, you might need to wait a few years before you can get closer to your ideal salary.

What is the highest-paying early childhood education job?

The role of Childcare Centre Manager is one of the highest-paying jobs in early education, with an average annual salary of $75,000 to $90,000.

Kickstart your career in early education

If you have questions about the educational requirements for careers in early childhood education, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team.

Learn more about our Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood degree or apply today.


You can study at Swinburne Online from any state or territory in Australia, as long as you meet the entry requirements for your online course and have an Internet connection!
We have a whole variety of support options available to students seven days a week, so no one is ever left feeling alone. For students studying a degree with us, your small online class of 20-24 students is run by a dedicated online tutor (eLearning Advisor), who will always be happy to respond to your questions. Our Student Advisors (SAs) are a team of academic/technical and administrative specialists who can be contacted seven days a week. They can help with issues from advice on assignments to problems with logging in to the Student Portal. We also have online assessment support options that will cater to a range of academic needs. To find out more about our university support options, visit the student support page on our website. For VET students, everything you need to know to complete your diploma is housed in our unique system called Canvas. However, if you do find yourself with questions one of our VET student team are on hand.
When attending placement you are required to attend full days (seven to eight hours per day). We recommend you complete your placement five days per week over four weeks. You also have the option of completing some placements three consecutive days per week (e.g. Wed, Thurs, Fri) over eight weeks.
Our education degrees are accredited and recognised by the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) and/or by the Australian Institute of Teaching and Leadership (AITSL) and/or by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), depending on the particular course accreditation requirements. The Bachelor of Education (Primary), Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), Master of Teaching (Primary) and Master of Teaching (Secondary) enable you to register as a teacher anywhere in Australia under mutual recognition. For the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Teaching), you should check with the teacher registration authority in your state or territory and course accreditation requirements necessary for any early childhood teacher registration requirements of your state or territory.
Students studying our online education courses still have to complete placements like on-campus students. In order to register to teach, graduates must have completed at least 60 days of professional placement when studying at postgraduate level and at least 80 days at undergraduate level. Professional placements can be taken anywhere in Australia, in schools that use the Australian curriculum or early childhood settings that use the Early Years Learning Framework.
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