Faculty of Education and Social Work

Careers in Early Childhood Education

Discover a wide range of career opportunities in early childhood education ranging from centre-based teaching, to policy analyst, hospital play specialists and much more.

Our ECE qualifications

Teaching in an early childhood education centre

Graduates of ECE qualifications from the University of Auckland will be eligible to apply for teacher registration and to teach in a wide range of early childhood settings both mainstream and Pacific – including kindergartens, crèches and early childhood centres. Various leadership positions are available within these settings.



“I’ve been working as a qualified ECE teacher since 2011 and really love that I continue to be challenged and learn more about the diversity of the communities we live in. I love the kids and the families I get to meet and work with and the special relationships that are formed.

“Studying at the University of Auckland really paved the way forward for me. Completing my studies was an amazing and heroic challenge but with a plan, good time management and a ‘can-do-attitude’ I soldiered on - but not alone. The University has good student support services in place to guide and assist you through your studies.

“Through my study I met a lot of inspiring people who challenged and provoked my thinking and who also shared a commitment to making a positive difference in a child’s life and in our communities.

“I am planning to start postgraduate study this year. My area of interest is the educational achievement of Mäori and Pacific children as their journey transitions from early childhood education to school and beyond.”

Reney Kahui-Ha’apai graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood Education specialisation.


There are other career opportunities beyond these settings including:

Hospital play specialists

Hospital play specialists work with children and their families by providing a play and recreation programme which contributes to meet the psychosocial needs of children and young people in hospitals.

They help prepare children for medical procedures and treatment to help reduce anxiety, provide coping strategies and distraction during medical procedures.

Policy level (Ministry of Education or Education Review Office)

There are opportunities to work at policy level, reviewing and assessing policy within the ECE sector. As an Education Review Officer you will review ECE services to ensure that guidelines and policies are adhered to regarding education and health and safety of children and staff.

Professional development consultancy

Professional development advisors or consultants are commonly known as facilitators within the education sector. They typically work within commercial arms of universities or faculties of education to provide professional development support for centres across the country.

At The University of Auckland we have our own EC Professional Support.

Working with children with diverse abilities

ECE graduates can go on to specialise in working with children with special teaching needs including those with disabilities. This requires further studies and is often paid for by the Ministry (conditions apply).

Travelling and Teaching Abroad

There are numerous agencies that specialise in recruiting graduates from New Zealand to work overseas. Teaching abroad offers exposure to new challenges and experiences in teaching. New Zealand teacher education courses adequately prepare students for teaching abroad, and the more experience you have, the better equipped you will be to teach abroad.

The University of Auckland has ECE graduates working all over the world including the Middle East, UK, Canada, the Pacific and Asia.

  • Recognition of ECE Qualifications In Australia: The University of Auckland Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood Education specialisation and the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) are recognised and approved early childhood teacher qualifications by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). This means that our graduates will not have to apply to ACECQA individually to teach in Australia.*

*Note: Applies to qualifications awarded from the following years onward: GradDipTchg(ECE) from July 2005; BEd(Tchg) ECE specialisation from 2008.

Early childhood psychologist

Graduates who become childhood psychologists normally require a Masters in Clinical Psychology, and there are pathways to achieve this which may include completing a bridging programme into psychology first.

ECE Entrepreneurs

Graduates with business acumen and management skills might be attracted to the possibility of owning their own ECE centre or service. Other services might include resource development or education consultancy.


Your ECE qualification will not limit you to working with 0-5 year olds. You can opt to become a tutor or a lecturer working at teacher education providers. This will require further postgraduate studies up to doctoral level depending on the type of institution.

Academics are expected to contribute to the knowledge base of education through ongoing research and be able to share their knowledge through their teaching, publications, conferences (national, international) and other mediums.


Occupation Outlook

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment releases Occupation Outlook annually - a tool for exploring study and career options, with information about the likely incomes, tuition fees and job prospects for over 100 occupations in New Zealand, including teaching.