NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+,Ce3+ nanocrystals (NCs) were synthesized by using a solvothermal approach. Under the excitation of a 980nm laser, the 1.53μm emission band of Er3+ ions in the NCs was enhanced by 6 times after codoping Ce3+ ions owing to the efficient energy transfer between Ce3+ and Er3+: 4I11/2 (Er3+)+ 2F5/2 (Ce3+) → 4I13/2 (Er3+)+ 2F7/2 (Ce3+). By dispersing the NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+,Ce3+ NCs into SU-8 2005 polymer matrix, we constructed Er3+-doped polymer-based optical waveguide amplifiers (EDPOWAs) and measured their performances. The measured optical gain of the EDPOWA doped with NaYF4: Er3+,Yb3+,Ce3+ NCs was enhanced by ~2dB in comparison with that doped with NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+ NCs. These results showed that NaYF4:Er3+,Yb3+,Ce3+ NCs are promising candidates for building high gain EDPOWAs.