1 year full time

2024: January, July


2024: A$7870*
* fee per semester

Application due dates:
We are currently accepting applications for this course.


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. 

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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.

Admission & pathways

Victoria University is committed to providing a transparent admissions process. Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Applicants for this course will need to have met the academic requirements and prerequisites for this course outlined below.

Meeting the minimum admission criteria does not guarantee entry into this course. Past academic performance may be considered.

Entry requirements

As part of the application process, applicants must :
* complete a Pre-training Review (PTR)
* Undertake a literacy and numeracy (LN) assessment to ACSF level 2 or
* meet the IELTS entry requirement of 5.5 (Academic) with no band less than 5.0
* Students may be required to demonstrate during the Pre-Training Review process, 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. Further information: https://www.acecqa.gov.au/.
Practical Placement:
For employment and practical placement purposes, this vocational sector typically requires
a current and satisfactory Police Record Check
Working with Children Check
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/immunisationd

Find out if you meet the entry requirements, including English language and academic requirements.

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.

We are currently accepting international applications, and we welcome you to apply for this course.

Click 'apply' to begin, and we will guide you through the application process.


If you have questions, please get in touch:

Information and fees listed above are for non-resident students. Fees are accurate at the time of viewing and will be subject to annual increases. Some courses require students to purchase equipment or clothing that they will need in the course. These equipment or clothing costs are not included in the course fees listed above – check your Letter of Offer for an estimate on non-tuition-fee-related expenses.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this course information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that course information is current with the Student Contact Centre.