1 year full time
Delivery mode:
Face to Face with eLearning
Start date:
5 February 2024
Study off-campus:
Available for Traineeship.
Contact VU Polytechnic for more information
Application due dates:
Applications for this course are currently being accepted.


Turn your passion for working with children into a rewarding career with a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care CHC30121 at Victoria University (VU).

Get job-ready with hands-on learning in our early-childhood practical rooms, and via two practical work placements in industry.

You’ll complete this course with the qualification and confidence to work in early-childhood education and childcare centres caring for children from birth to six years old. You’ll:

  • learn the fundamentals of early childhood development
  • develop skills to support and nurture babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers
  • gain expertise to plan and provide enriching educational experiences for children in a range of environments.

Your Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care covers topics such as:

  • effective interaction and communication with children
  • appropriate care for babies, toddlers and children
  • nutrition
  • first aid, health and safety
  • working legally and ethically.

Practise your skills in a simulated early childhood environment in the early childhood practical classrooms on-campus in Werribee, St Albans, Footscray or Sunshine.

At VU, you’ll collaborate with your classmates to work through scenarios and debrief with your expert teachers to improve your skills.

Benefit from our close ties to the community, with the purpose-built Victoria University Children’s Centre on our Werribee and Footscray Nicholson Campuses, providing care and education with a varied indoor and outdoor play-based program.

A key component of this course is three work placements, in which you’ll work alongside experienced professionals to consolidate your skills and put theory into practice.

As a VU student, you’ll benefit from our extensive partner network, which includes schools and community and government organisations, particularly in Melbourne’s north and west. Your placements may also lead to paid employment.

Your teachers are experts in their field and have valuable industry contacts. You’ll also get to hear from guest speakers, and your assessments will be scenario-based with links to the real world. 

This course will give you the minimum qualification and skills to take on paid roles in early childhood centres. It’s also the first step towards further career advancements in early childhood.

To open doors to higher-level responsibilities in the sector, after completing this course you’ll enjoy guaranteed entry into our Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, which can also lead into bachelor-level study at VU. 

Need some advice?

Request a call back from one of our experienced Victoria University Polytechnic course advisers to get your questions answered.

Request a call back

TAFE resources

Information sessions

There's never been a better time to study early childhood education. Join an information session to find out more.

Careers in early childhood education

With the introduction of three-year-old kindergarten, jobs in early childhood are booming in Victoria.

Take advantage of the opportunity to become one of the more than 11,000 new early childhood teachers and educators the Victorian Government is estimating we will need over the next decade.

With a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, you could take on roles such as:

  • early childhood educator
  • outside school hours care assistant
  • playgroup supervisor
  • recreation assistant
  • family-daycare worker
  • nanny
  • early childhood educator or assistant.

Course structure

To be awarded CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, a student must successfully complete a total of seventeen (17) units of competency, comprising of:

  • Fifteen (15) core units, and;
  • Two (2) elective units of which:
  • at least one (1) unit must be selected from the CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care qualification, and;
  • one (1) unit may be selected from any endorsed training package or accredited courses – this unit must be relevant to the work outcome.

All electives chosen must support the overall integrity of the AQF level of this qualification and contribute to a valid, industry-supported vocational outcome as well as be approved by the Polytechnic.

Students who complete these units of study as part of the VET Delivered to Secondary Schools (VETDSS), will be issued a Statement of Attainment. 

The course structure comprises the following core and elective units. These electives have been selected based on industry needs, graduate pathways and/or student and teacher feedback.

VU Polytechnic delivers the electives listed in the ‘course structure and units’ below. These electives have been selected based on industry needs, graduate pathways and/or student and teacher feedback. Alternative suitable electives are only available via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer (CT).

Core units

Standard Delivery - ELECTIVE UNITS


VETDSS Program

Core units

Elective units


Recognition of Prior Learning and/or Credit Transfers:

Previous completion of units at the VU Polytechnic or any other Registered Training Organisation and/or previous attainment of skills and knowledge may be credited towards this course. Units must satisfy the completion rules of the qualification and be assessed as appropriate by the Polytechnic.

This qualification reflects the role of workers in a range of early childhood educational settings who work within the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations and the National Quality Standard. They support the implementation of an approved learning framework and support children's well-being, learning and development. Depending on the setting, educators may work under direct supervision or autonomously. Under the Education and Care Services National Law (2011) the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) publishes lists of approved early childhood education and care qualifications and information regarding regulatory requirements. Vocational Education Delivered to Secondary Schools (VETDSS) VCE VET programs for Vocational Major (VM) and Vocational Pathway Certificate (VPC) students are vocational training programs approved by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). VCE VET programs for VM and VPC students, lead to nationally recognised qualifications or partial completion of qualifications, thereby offering students the opportunity to gain both the VCE and a nationally portable vocational education and training (VET) certificate or the VCE and a Statement of Attainment listing the units they have attained. VCE VET programs for VM and VPC students: - are fully recognised within the Units 1 to 4 structure of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE VM) and therefore may contribute towards satisfactory completion of the VCE VM. - may contribute to the satisfactory completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE VPC) - function within the National Training Framework.

Fees & scholarships

Fee type for this course: VET

Fee type definitions

The amount you pay for your course depends on whether you’re offered a government subsidised place or a full fee-paying place.

Students who enrol in a:

  • government subsidised place pay subsidised tuition fees (the government contributes the rest), and may be required to pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee along with any material fees
  • full fee-paying place pay the full fee tuition rate (which includes Student Services and Amenities Fee and any material fees).

Calculate your VET course fees.

Find out more about:

Scholarships & assistance

Apply for a scholarship to help with your study costs.

We can help with fee assistance and advice.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course. Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs.

Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Entry requirements

As part of the application process, applicants must complete a Pre-training Review (PTR) and undertake a literacy and numeracy (LN) assessment to determine suitability for admission.
Students will be required to demonstrate they have the capacity to work with children and families in the highly demanding field of early childhood as set out by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations by participating in an interview. This may be conducted individually or as a group, at the discretion of the Polytechnic. Further information can be found at: https://www.acecqa.gov.au/.
VETDSS (Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students):
Applicants are expected to have literacy and numeracy skills at Year 10 or Australian Core Skills Framework Level 3 literacy and Level 2 numeracy and will be assessed through consultation with the relevant school.
The VCAA has determined that Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) is an appropriate and valuable component of all VCE VET programs the VCAA mandates SWL under the following situations:
where a period of work placement is mandated for the award of the qualification, or
where the Assessment Conditions from a Unit of Competency contain a statement regarding the requirement to demonstrate skills in a workplace.
The SWL requirements are expressed in hours and weeks, and where possible should be spread across the duration of VCE VET programs. CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care VETDSS program requires 20 days of SWL / practical placement across the two years of the course. (10 days per year)
Practical Placement:
For employment and practical placement purposes, this vocational sector typically requires:
a current and satisfactory Police Record Check;
Working with Children Check, and;
In response to Victoria's Roadmap announced in September 2021, all students must have any COVID-19 vaccine prior to the commencement of placement. Students will be required to provide evidence prior to the commencement of placement. If students are not compliant with this requirement they are not eligible to undertake a placement and this will mean that they will not be able to progress within their course.
Failure to provide the required documents in the timeframe specified by the Course Coordinator means you will be unable to undertake practical placement in a workplace and therefore not eligible to progress in this course.
The following are suggested sites you could visit to obtain these checks:
Police Record Check - http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=274
Working with Children Check - http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/
It is an industry expectation that those engaging with young children in an early childhood setting are fully immunised. Any students electing not to disclose their immunisation status, conscientious object to vaccinations or have a contraindication, must contact the placement coordinator to discuss the impact this may have on their capacity to undertake placement. Incomplete immunisation may impact your course progression due to a lack of appropriate placement opportunities.Information about the immunisations can be found online at https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

Use our credit calculator to find out how much credit you could get towards your course, based on your previous study.

You may be able to complete your qualification sooner through formal recognition of your existing skills. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

To receive RPL, we assess your previous work, education and life experiences against recognised qualifications. Applications for RPL can be made prior to enrolling.

Call us on 1300 TAFE VP (1300 823 387) to discuss RPL options with the course manager.

How to apply

Prior to enrolment, all applicants will be required to complete a literacy and numeracy assessment to assist with determining eligibility and to identify learning support needs.

Available start dates:

  • 5 February 2024

Before you apply

Before starting your application, please read through the step-by-step VU Polytechnic application process to make sure you have all the necessary documents and information ready to successfully complete your application.

Before applying, you should consider whether you also want to apply for:

Apply direct to VU

Apply direct to VU using our admission centre, submit applications for one or more courses, track and save your progress and upload additional information.

Apply direct to VU

Already a VU student?

If you are already a VU student, apply direct to VU using our Admissions centre to transfer into this course. Remember it’s best to be accepted into your new course before withdrawing from your current one.

After you apply

  • It’s important to check for emails from us (which may go to your spam/junk folder).
  • Complete any requests for information by the given dates, otherwise your application may not be considered

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Contact VU Polytechnic

Please note that if changes to this course occur, VU will notify students as soon as possible.

At Victoria University, we aim to display accurate and complete course information online. However, we are unable to guarantee that every course change is currently displayed. You may contact the University directly on +61 3 9919 6100 to confirm the most up-to-date course fees, pathways and credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, admission and enrolment procedures, examinations and services available to our students.