Health Careers

Early childhood careers in health include Maternal and child health nurses, primary school teachers, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

Maternal and child health nurse

Maternal and child health (MCH) nurses play a vital role in the early childhood sector supporting the development, health and wellbeing of babies and toddlers.

They provide care and monitoring and run educational programs to assist parents and help them to develop supportive social networks.

Maternal and child health nurses work in metropolitan, regional and ruraul locations in a range of settings:

  • in local government
  • parenting centres
  • community health services.

They provide care and monitoring and run educational programs to assist parents and help them to develop supportive social networks.

Qualifications

To practice in Victoria, maternal and child health nurses must:

Before starting maternal and child health studies, at least one year’s experience as a midwife is preferable.

Midwives have traditionally undertaken a three-year university degree in nursing and then completed a postgraduate qualification in midwifery to be eligible for registration. More recently, three-year university degrees in midwifery and double degrees have commenced in Victoria.

Suitable qualifications (depending on interest/area of specialisation include:

  • Bachelor of Nursing (three years)
  • Bachelor of Nursing or Bachelor of Midwifery (four years)
  • Postgraduate studies in nursing.

National registration

A national registration and accreditation scheme for nurses and midwives began on 1 July 2010, and a new National Law (the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009) came into effect to regulate the profession.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) is now responsible for setting standards and policies for the regulation of all nurses and midwives registered in Australia. It will be supported in this task by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The NMBA has taken over the functions previously managed by the Nurses Board of Victoria.

For more information about how the national registration scheme operates, see:

More information

For more information on the training required to qualify as a maternal and child health nurse, see: 

Primary school nurse

School nurses promote child health and wellbeing and assist in early identification of children with potential health related learning difficulties.

To work as a nurse, including a school nurse, you’ll need to be a Registered Nurse Division 1 nurse with the AHPRA

Suitable qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Nursing (three years)
  • Postgraduate Studies in Nursing, depending on interest/area of specialisation)

For further information about being a primary school nurse, see:

Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a professional medical treatment focussed on restoring function after disease or injury.

Physiotherapists play a vital role in the early childhood sector supporting the development, health and wellbeing of young children including babies and toddlers.

Physiotherapists may work as part of a health care team, independently in private practice, within the school system or as industry consultants in metropolitan, regional or rural locations.

To practice in Victoria, physiotherapists must:

Completion of Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance may provide some credit to the degree program.

More information

For more information about being a physiotherapist working in early childhood intervention, see:

Speech pathologist

Speech pathologists assess and treat children and adults who have a communication disability.

Speech pathologists work in hospitals, community health centres, rehabilitation centres and schools in metropolitan, regional or rural locations.

To practice in Victoria, speech pathologists must hold a:

  • Bachelor of Health Science (three years); or
  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology (three years); or
  • Master of Speech Pathology (two years).

Entry can be from Certificate III and IV in Allied Health Assistance. Completion of Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance may provide some credit to the degree program.

More information

 

For further information on being a speech pathologist working in early childhood intervention, see:

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists help support the development, health and wellbeing of young children. Occupational therapists work with children and adults to assist them to develop, recover or maintain daily living and work skills.

They work in a range of settings in metropolitan, regional or rural locations.

To practice in Victoria, occupational therapists must:

Some degree programs may provide credits for units from Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance.

More information

For further information about being an occupational therapist working in early childhood intervention, see: