Early Childhood teacher registration

Frequently asked questions for Early Childhood Teacher and Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Registration.

What is an approved early childhood teaching qualification for the purposes of the National Law?

In accordance with regulation 137 of the National Regulations, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority (ACECQA) publishes a list of approved and former approved education and care qualifications. This list includes the qualifications that have been approved for Early Childhood Teachers (ECT).

To access the list, see: Qualifications List

Persons who completed their early childhood qualifications a number of years ago and the qualification is not listed on the approved qualification list may be taken to hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification. In those circumstances, you are encouraged to contact the Regulatory Authority on 1300 307 415.

What if my early childhood teaching qualifications do not appear on the ACECQA published list?

A person with early childhood teaching qualifications, including any overseas qualifications not listed on the approved qualification list can apply to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority (ACECQA) to have their qualifications assessed for equivalence.

For more information regarding the assessment of equivalent educator qualifications, see: Assessment of equivalent educator qualifications

Who needs to be registered as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)?

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 requires early childhood services (person or body) to ensure that persons engaged or employed as an early childhood teacher (ECT) for the purposes of regulations 130 to 134 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) prior to engaging or being employed in a role of an ECT.

Similarly any person engaged or employed as a 'teaching staff member under regulations 52 and 52A of the Children’s Services Regulations 2009 must have VIT registration prior to being employed or engaged in that role.

An ECT appointed to deliver a funded kindergarten program at an early childhood service must also be VIT registered.

This registration requirement is subject to limited exceptions.

What are the exceptions to the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration requirement?

There are some limited exceptions to the requirement for Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration.

A person is not required to be registered with the VIT if the following applies:

  • the person is replacing a registered ECT due to the short-term illness or leave of the ECT for a period not exceeding 60 days in any 12 month period (regulation 135, National Regulations)
  • the person is replacing a registered teaching staff member due to the short-term illness or leave of the teaching staff member for a period not exceeding 12 weeks (regulations 52(2) and 52A(3), Children’s Services Regulations 2009)
  • the early childhood service is unable to meet the early childhood qualification requirements and has been granted a temporary waiver (National Regulations) from regulations 130 to 134 or an exemption (Children’s Services Regulations) from regulations 52 or 52A
  • the Secretary has granted a temporary approval under the Education Training and Reform Act 2006 to allow a person who does not meet the qualification requirements for a funded kindergarten program to be engaged or employed in the early childhood service in place of a registered ECT for the purposes of meeting kindergarten funding guidelines
  • the Secretary has exempted the early childhood service from the kindergarten funding guidelines for registered ECT either because the early childhood service holds a waiver or a children’s services exemption; or the Secretary is satisfied that the early childhood service has made reasonable attempts to employ or engage a registered ECT (a waiver or exemption under this section is valid for 12 months). If an exemption is granted by the Secretary, the early childhood service may employ or engage a person holding a temporary approval in place of a registered ECT for the purposes of meeting kindergarten funding requirements.
Are there any penalties for employing an unregistered person to meet the Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) requirements?

Yes – any penalties relating to early childhood teacher registration are under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA).

Under ETRA it is an offence to employ an unregistered person for the purposes of meeting the early childhood teacher requirements. An early childhood service that employs or engages an unregistered Early Childhood Teacher (ECT), in circumstances where exceptions do not apply may incur a penalty under ETRA of 120 penalty units (i.e. $19,826* )

It is also an offence under ETRA for a person who is not a registered ECT to claim or hold himself or herself out as being a registered ECT. Similarly an early childhood service (a person or body) must not represent a person to be a registered ECT if the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the person is not registered as an ECT.

*In Victoria, the value of a penalty unit is the amount fixed with respect to a financial year by the Treasurer by notice published in the Government Gazette under the Monetary Units Act 2004. The penalty unit rate is fixed at A$165.22 as of 1 July 2019 (rounded to the nearest 10 cents).

What are the requirements to register as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) with the VIT?

Requirements around early childhood teacher registration are set out in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA) and are governed and managed by the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT).

Under the ETRA a person is required to produce evidence that satisfies the following criteria:

  • they hold an early childhood teaching qualification approved and published by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
  • they are suitable to be an early childhood teacher
  • they are competent in speaking or communicating in the English language for the purposes of teaching in an early childhood service

Persons seeking to be engaged as an Early Childhood Teacher in Victoria should consult the VIT dedicated Early Childhood Hotline on 1300 977 263, which operates Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.

Are there additional Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) requirements for a funded kindergarten program?

The Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) requirements differ for funded kindergarten programs. Before appointing a person to the position of an ECT, early childhood services operating a funded kindergarten program must ensure that the person meets the relevant ECT qualification requirements and the kindergarten funding guidelines.

For more information regarding the ECT requirements for funded kindergarten programs, see:

What if the service is delivering a funded kindergarten program and unable to recruit a VIT registered Early Childhood Teacher (ECT)?

Some early childhood services currently employ or engage persons to deliver a funded program who are not able to register as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) with the VIT. These persons include:

  • teachers who completed their early childhood qualification a number of years ago and their qualification is no longer recognised as a teaching qualification under the current regulations
  • qualified primary school teachers who are in the process of undertaking an approved early childhood teaching qualification

In circumstances where the person employed to deliver the funded kindergarten program is unable to register as an ECT with the VIT, the early childhood service must contact the relevant regional Department officer to discuss the application process to have the person who is not a registered ECT deliver a funded kindergarten program. This involves:

  • the person applying for a grant of a temporary approval to be engaged or employed in the early childhood service in place of a registered ECT for the purposes of meeting kindergarten funding guidelines
  • the early childhood service seeking an exemption from the kindergarten funding guidelines for registered ECT either because the early childhood service holds a waiver or a children’s services exemption; or the Secretary is satisfied that the early childhood service has made reasonable attempts to employ or engage a registered ECT.

If an exemption is granted by the Secretary (or their delegate), the early childhood service may employ or engage a person holding a temporary approval in place of a registered ECT for the purposes of meeting kindergarten funding requirements.

For more information, see: Kindergarten Funding Guide

I am replacing an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) on leave, do I need to be VIT registered?

If a registered ECT is absent from the early childhood service because of short-term illness or leave (for a period not exceeding 60 days in any 12 month period), a person with the following qualifications can replace them during that absence without having to register with the VIT:

  • a person who holds a qualification in primary school teaching
  • a person who holds an approved diploma level education and care qualification.

For absence exceeding 60 days in any 12 month period the teacher must be replaced by another VIT registered ECT unless exceptions under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 apply.

For short term absences of a registered ECT in a funded kindergarten program, including temporarily replacing an ECT who has left a service, see: Kindergarten Funding Guide.