Courses to take for a career in childcare
Working in childcare is a rewarding career that’s fun and gratifying. There is a big learning curve and a unique skill set that you’ll need to develop to start working, and it can be hard to navigate the wide range of courses that all aim to teach you these skills. In this article, we’ll go over what you’ll learn in a childcare course, as well as a few courses to consider if you’re looking to start studying childcare.
What you’ll learn in a childcare course
While every course is a little bit different, there are a few common areas you’ll study when learning to work in childcare.
Health and Safety
One of your primary duties working in childcare is to create a safe and secure environment for both the children you’re caring for and your colleagues. Many courses will provide you with training in how to manage hazards and respond to injuries or illness. You’ll learn how to:
- Reduce the risk of injury
- Prevent viruses from spreading
- Handle emergencies
- Provide first-aid medical care
While you’ll learn many aspects of health and safety on the job, childcare courses will provide you with the foundations so that you can feel more confident when you enter the workplace.
You’ll be involved in a lot of mealtimes when you work in early childhood education, so you’ll need to know the fundamentals of providing healthy, nutritious food to children. When you complete a childcare course, you’ll learn how to make sure children are getting a wide variety of nutrients in their meals. You’ll also learn about foods that support learning and development, and how to incorporate these in a childcare setting.
Communication with Children
Communicating with children is a unique skill set that you’ll develop as you start working. You’ll need to become a positive, influential role model to the children you work with. To give you the best start, many childcare courses will teach you some of the basic concepts of communicating with younger children.
Legal and Ethical Factors
When you’re working in childcare, you have both a moral and legal obligation to look after the children in your centre. There is a fairly large range of legal requirements that you’ll need to follow, and they can be hard to incorporate if you don’t receive the proper training.
Many childcare courses will spend a significant amount of time going over these so that you can feel as comfortable as possible going into the workplace. Some of the legal and ethical topics include:
- Duties of care
- Ethical frameworks
- Obligations and duties
- Reporting Requirements
Having a strong understanding before beginning your career will make sure you don’t develop bad habits and can have the best possible start to your first job.
Courses for a career as an early childhood educator
Working as an early childhood educator is the simplest way to enter the industry. Your role involves creating a safe, secure environment where children are free to learn and explore.
Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
A certificate III in early childhood education and care (CHC30121) is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in learning how to best care for children in a range of environments. You’ll learn a range of practical skills that are relevant to a childcare setting, including:
- Effective interaction with children
- Nutritional food provision
- Childhood development
- Responding to young people at risk
You’ll be taught by experienced, inspirational early childhood education experts who will guide you through the program to make sure you achieve the most success possible. After completing the course, you’ll have a nationally recognised qualification that can lead to a range of opportunities in early childhood education.
While every provider is different, the course is usually broken up into key topics. You’ll start by learning to identify and respond to children at risk, before moving into developing respectful relationships with children. There’s often a unit on encouraging understanding of indigenous cultures, as well as meeting legal and ethical obligations.
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
A diploma in early childhood education and care (CHC50121) is an opportunity for people who have completed a certificate III. The diploma builds on your certificate III to take your qualification to a higher standard. You’ll focus on play-based learning and activities for children. You’ll learn how to facilitate learning and play in a way that achieves developmental outcomes.
You’ll be studying in a fun, practical learning environment where you’ll develop real-world skills to help make sure you’re job-ready when you graduate. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in work placements, where you’ll put your skills to practice in a real daycare.
Compared to a certificate III, completing a diploma means you have additional opportunities in the childcare industry, especially in leadership positions. You’ll be in higher demand and will probably find it a little bit easier to get your first job.
Courses to become an early childhood teacher
Early childhood teachers are responsible for making sure children achieve the right learning outcomes to help them reach developmental milestones. You’ll focus on designing and managing play-based learning.
Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
A bachelor of early childhood education will equip you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to become an early childhood teacher. You’ll develop an understanding of how children, families and teachers can work together to provide the best learning experience achievable. You’ll have a broad range of skills that will allow you to support children in their early years.
The degree usually takes around three years to complete, and often includes a supervised teaching experience. This means you’ll get to go to a childcare centre and experience what it’s like to work as an early childhood teacher. You’ll put all your new skills into practice and gain some practical advice from experienced teachers.
Some providers will also give you the opportunity to spend time in a primary school setting so you can develop an understanding of what it’s like for children to transition from preschool. As a teacher, a large part of your role will involve preparing children for this switch, so by experiencing it first-hand, you’ll be better equipped to support children during this time.
Bachelor of Early Childhood Teaching
A bachelor of early childhood teaching will provide you with the expertise to teach children up to five years old. You’ll learn about various teaching methods for a variety of settings, as well as some early-childhood learning theories. You’ll also focus on cultural topics such as Aboriginal perspectives.
If you’re an early childhood educator with a diploma, you can become a teacher in just two years with a bachelor of early childhood teaching. Many of the skills you learned in your diploma are transferable to a teaching bachelor’s degree. You’ll be able to become a fully-qualified childcare teacher in a shorter amount of time.
Most other courses are full-time and in-person. Some providers offer this one with online classes, which may be helpful if you’re already working full-time and want to expand your qualification on the side.
Other beneficial childcare courses
Health and safety will be a critical part of your role in early childhood education. Many employers look for first aid qualifications when selecting applicants for a job.
Emergency First Aid in Childcare and Education
When working in childcare, you’ll need to know how to provide first aid to babies and younger children. You’ll learn how to respond calmly to an emergency and how to render the appropriate first aid treatments. You’ll also develop skills in communication and incident evaluation.
A course in emergency first aid in childcare and education is a fantastic qualification for your resume. Some employers may even require you to have this qualification to be considered for a job. You’ll have a bit more confidence going into childcare work knowing that you can handle an emergency.
Childhood first aid courses take around two days, so you’ll be making a reasonably small commitment compared to the broad range of skills you develop. Various education providers offer this course around Australia.