The Nova Scotia Excellence in Early Childhood Education Workforce Strategy, will result in higher wages for early childhood educators as well as benefits and further professionalization of the sector.

Read the full Excellence in Early Childhood Education workforce strategy. English Français

We are committed to supporting the childcare sector with higher wages through the Canada-Wide Agreement.

Learn more here.

Opportunities for ECEs working in the sector to upskill

Accelerated ECE diploma (with PLAR) - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

For ECEs currently working in licensed child care or Pre-primary to earn a diploma in a shortened timeframe.

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD. Classes start January or February 2023.
  • Work while studying; courses are online and happen outside of work hours.
  • Practicums completed at workplace – no need to take time off to complete practicum.
  • Post-secondary institutions assess your current knowledge and skills and give credit for your competencies. This rigorous process is called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and allows ECEs to take fewer courses to obtain a diploma.

In 2021–2022, EECD provided funding to over 300 child care staff to participate in this program, including designated seats for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous peoples, Black and African Nova Scotians, Acadian and Francophone Nova Scotians, and newcomers.

Advanced Practitioner Program
Status: Program in progress

The first Advanced Practitioner Program is underway at the Nova Scotia Community College! Over 100 experienced ECEs working in licensed child care and pre-primary programs are participating in this pilot program.

  • EECD provides bursaries for the pilot. A fee structure has not been set for subsequent offerings, but a portion of the costs is expected to be eligible for reimbursement through the Continuing Education program.
  • This rigorous post-diploma certificate program allows qualified ECEs to advance their knowledge and competence in a specialized area of practice, such as infants and toddlers, young children, outdoor play, or pedagogical leadership.
  • A diploma or degree in early childhood education is a pre-requisite to participate. Graduates are awarded an Advanced ECE Certificate in Professional Studies from NSCC.
  • It is anticipated that completion of the Advanced Practitioner Program will be recognized on the new wage scale in the future.
Career navigation

EECD has partnered with Nova Scotia Works and the Nova Scotia Career Development Association to establish career professionals to support and guide ECEs in their career paths.

  • Career navigation is available at no cost to all ECEs currently working in child care or pre-primary who want to participate in one of EECD’s Pathways to Education opportunities.
  • Career assistance will be provided virtually to support career decision-making for ECEs interested in furthering their studies. This will help ECEs develop their career paths, establish learning plans, support them in the application process, and be available to students while they study.
  • Interested ECEs can call their nearest Nova Scotia Works office and request to meet with the ECE career navigator. Nova Scotia Works locations and contact information is available on their website under “Visit Us”: www.novascotiaworks.ca.
Continuing education funding program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

Course and textbook reimbursements available to eligible child care staff pursuing part-time studies in a diploma or degree in early childhood education while working full- or part-time.

Early childhood educator certification

To professionally recognize ECEs, Nova Scotia is shifting from a classification to a certification system.

  • Certification is a process that allows individuals who have completed required post-secondary training to be recognized as professionals in a certain field.
  • Certification provides assurance to employers and the public of an individual’s professional competence, commitment, and specialized skills.
  • In 2023, Nova Scotia is taking the first step toward professional recognition by introducing a regulated certification process for ECEs. Other professions that use certification include counselling, nursing, speech language pathology, and social work.
  • EECD is working with an external consultant to develop the ECE certification system, which includes standards, scopes of practice, and required knowledge and skillsets for each role in the model.
  • The certification system will focus on the ECE and include a new role called early childhood educator assistant (ECEA). We will define competencies and scopes of practice for ECEs and ECEAs.
  • It is anticipated that those who currently hold a Level 1 classification will transition into an ECEA role. Anyone who holds a Level 1 classification and is currently working in an early learning setting may apply for financial support until 2023 if they are interested in earning their early childhood education diploma or degree.
ECE Link diploma program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

For ECEs working in licensed child care or pre-primary to earn their high school and early childhood education diplomas.

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD. Classes start January 2023.
  • Continue to work while studying – courses are online and outside of work hours.
  • No need to take time off to complete practicum – you will be completing it in your current workplace.
  • Post-secondary institutions will assess your current knowledge and skills and give credit for what you already know. This process is called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and allows you to take fewer courses to obtain a diploma.
Pathway program for newcomers (work and learn ECE diploma)
Status: Applications open soon

Working with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, EECD is launching a pathway program to support newcomers to enter the profession.

  • Newcomers gain employment in a licensed child care or pre-primary program while earning their diploma through part-time online studies.
  • Tuition, books, student fees, and language training funded by EECD.
  • Pathway diploma programs are available at NSCECE (February 2023) and NSCC (March 2023).
  • Priority seats for ISANS clients who complete the early childhood education communications course.
  • Must be a newcomer with legal permanent residency or have refugee or protected persons status, or a recent Canadian citizen who has lived in Canada for less than 5 years.
  • To participate, email ISANS at employment_services@isans.ca.
Professional development

Nova Scotia is developing a new approach to professional development (PD) to ensure ECEs continue to grow and learn throughout their career.

  • The new approach to PD will centre around three key areas:
    • foundational professional development for ECEs
    • continuous professional learning
    • Advanced Practitioner Program
  • There will be mandatory PD for ECEs working in regulated child care settings related to provincial initiatives such as the Early Learning Curriculum Framework, the Pyramid Model, Duty to Report Protocols, etc.
  • ECEs are required to complete 30 hours of PD every three years to maintain their classification.
  • EECD will continue to provide PD opportunities for ECEs. ECEs may choose to take other PD courses as part of their own professional growth which would be at a cost to them.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

Funding available for staff currently working in licensed child care with at least 6500 hours of experience to complete the RPL process. Successful candidates are eligible for a Level 2 classification.

  • EECD funding available to first 30 applicants in 2022–2023 fiscal year.
  • Applicants approved for funding are required to participate in the RPL preparatory program, Pathways to Prosperity, funded by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration and delivered by Opportunity Place Career Resource Centre.
  • Pathways to Prosperity provides essential training and skill development customized to the RPL program to help participants successfully complete the process.
  • RPL identifies, documents, assesses, and recognizes existing skills and knowledge towards the achievement of units of competency for various qualifications, certifications, or accredited courses.
  • The RPL certificate leads to a Level 2 classification but does not count as an early childhood education diploma.

Opportunities for individuals who want to enter the ECE profession

Bursaries for full-time students - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

For students enrolled in full-time studies at approved Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions in 2022–23.

  • Bursaries of up to $5000 paid over the course of an early childhood education diploma program.
  • Students must be studying full-time and remain in good academic standing. 
  • Students must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (temporary foreign workers, international students, or any other person in Canada on a temporary resident visa do not qualify). 
  • Ask your post-secondary institution for a copy of the bursary terms and conditions and apply directly through your institution:
  • Payments will be issued to the training institution on behalf of successful applicants in the fall and winter semesters. Training institution will apply the bursary to each successful student’s account.
  • Priority for funding will be given to students from equity deserving groups.
  • Bursaries are also available to full-time students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Child and Youth Study at MSVU. Contact MSVU’s Department of Child and Youth Study for details.
  • The following students are not eligible to apply:
    • Students currently enrolled in an ECE diploma already funded by EECD.
    • Students who are currently receiving other EECD funding (e.g., staff receiving continuing education funding for part-time studies).

In 2021-2022 EECD offered one-time bursaries for up to 300 students studying full-time in an ECE diploma or degree program in Nova Scotia. To support Nova Scotia’s focus on the development of a diverse and inclusive workforce, students belonging to an underrepresented group received additional funds. 

ECE virtual diploma program
Status: Program in progress

A full-time, synchronous online diploma program for individuals in hard-to-recruit areas across the province through NSCC’s eCampus.

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD for 30 eligible students.
  • Applications closed. Classes started in September 2022.
High school transition to ECE diplomas

Over the next few years, EECD will work with our partners in public schools and post-secondary institutions to offer high school students career counselling and college credit courses in early childhood education. This work is expected to be complete by 2025.

In-person French ECE diploma program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

EECD has partnered with Université Sainte-Anne to offer a full-time, in-person early childhood education diploma program.

  • Classes begin January 2023 at Université Sainte-Anne’s Halifax campus.
  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD for 25 eligible students.
Pathway program for newcomers (work and learn ECE diploma)
Status: Applications open soon

Working with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, EECD is launching a pathway program to support newcomers to enter the profession.

  • Newcomers gain employment in a licensed child care or pre-primary program while earning their diploma through part-time online studies.
  • Tuition, books, student fees, and language training funded by EECD.
  • Pathway diploma programs are available at NSCECE (February 2023) and NSCC (March 2023).
  • Priority seats for ISANS clients who complete the early childhood education communications course.
  • Must be a newcomer with legal permanent residency or have refugee or protected persons status, or a recent Canadian citizen who has lived in Canada for less than 5 years.
  • To participate, email ISANS at employment_services@isans.ca.
Tuition support for part-time ECE diploma students
Status: Applications open soon

EECE will reimburse a portion of costs for students studying part-time in an ECE diploma program at an approved Nova Scotia post-secondary institution in 2022–23.

  • Tuition and textbook reimbursements of up to $1000 for the 2022–2023 fiscal year.
  • Students must be enrolled in a part-time ECE diploma program through NSCC’s eCampus or NSCECE’s online hybrid program.
  • Students must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (temporary foreign workers, international students, or any other person in Canada on a temporary resident visa do not qualify). 
  • The following students are not eligible to apply:
    • Students currently enrolled in an ECE diploma already funded by EECD.
    • Students who are currently receiving other EECD funding (e.g., child care staff receiving continuing education funding for part-time studies).
  • Ask your post-secondary institution for a copy of the terms and conditions and apply directly through your institution.