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How much will I be paid as an early childhood educator?

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Liddy Korner

Liddy is the founder and CEO. Her previous life was in international education. She’s lived and worked in Sydney, Hong Kong and also boasts a stint in Bathurst. She is the driving force behind Talent Now.

We are often asked… “How much will I be paid?” It’s a fair question, and it seems a lot of educators are not clear on the answer, or how they can find out.

No matter if you are new to Early Childhood Education or not, the Children’s Services Award (the conditions and pay rates determined by the Government) is confusing for many.

One of the first things to be aware of is that the rate of pay is dependent on both your qualification level AND your experience.

The good news is that the Award sets out the legal minimum you should be paid, and this increases a little each year from 1 July.

b what should i know

What you should know

While we do not pretend to understand it all, here is our interpretation of the Children’s Services Award which applies to untrained (students that are working towards a qualification), Certificate III and Diploma qualifications in relation to pay rates for casual educators.

Let’s start by looking at the two awards that apply to this sector:

Children’s Services Award – this award applies to Certificate III, Diploma and any students working toward a qualification.

Educational Services (Teachers) Award – applies to Early Childhood Teachers.

*This article will only cover the Children’s Services Award (Certificate III & Diploma).

b awards

Children’s Services Award (Students, Certificate III, Diploma)

The table below is a summary of casual rates only. Please note that pay rates change from 1 July each year. The rates shown below are valid from 1 July 2024.

The full payrates for this Award can be found here (go to Page 9 for casual).


* Part-time vs Full-time Work

One-year part-time work, that is 19 hours or less per week, is equal to six months full-time. To progress to a new level e.g. 3.1 to 3.2 a part-time employee would need to have 2 years of part-time work experience.

Pay levels are not only about when you completed your qualification, they are also about your experience, and sometimes the requirements of the job.

It is important to note that progression from one level to the next is based on:

1) how well you perform at the existing level and

2) work experience that is the equivalent of 1-year full time work.  

Did you know?

Casual payrates are 25% higher than permanent rates because as a casual employee you do not get holiday, sick or any other leave entitlements. Instead, you get a higher up-front rate.

b students

Students - Working Towards a Qualification

If you are a student who has not completed an ACECQA approved qualification but is enrolled and working towards completion (i.e. currently studying and having some childcare experience) then you would be paid Level 2.1 or 2.2, depending on your experience and other factors described below.

At this level you are considered to have limited knowledge and experience in children’s services.

If you are further along in your studies, you might fulfill the actively working towards criteria as set out by ACECQA, and be paid at a higher level. For example, an ECT student that has completed 30% or more of their degree, can be considered Diploma, and may be eligible to be paid at Level 3.4 (Diploma).

b cert III

Certificate III

For educators that have completed their Certificate III, they will fall into the Level 3.1 – Level 3.3 pay scale. Again, the higher the rate depends on when you completed your qualification AND your work experience.


Level 3.4 (Diploma) applies to those people that have completed their Diploma qualification or who meet the working towards requirement as mentioned above. Pay rates increase with experience and responsibilities. In the casual context, Level 3.4 (Diploma) would be the level you would expect to be paid in most cases.

Level 4 applies to Diploma educators who are appointed as the person in charge of a group of children in the age range from birth to 12 years or an employee who is appointed as an Authorized Supervisor. Most Diploma level casual work does not involve Level 4 responsibilities, and Diploma educators employed casually tend to be paid Level 3.4 (Diploma).

Still unsure?

If ever you are in doubt, there are several things you can do. Ensure that your employment history in your profile is accurate as this helps employers determine the extent of your experience.

Still looking for help seeking an Early Childhood teacher job? Call us, and we will do our best to help.

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