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Teaching in Australia

Career | Published 12 March, 2012

Australia remains a favourite destination for UK teachers lured by an attractive lifestyle and relatively easy cultural transition. There’s the downside of a competitive marketplace and a marathon of an application process - but if you’re persistent, the rewards are huge. TES Australia

Qualifications and visa requirements for teaching in Australia

Each state and territory in Australia governs its own education system, so you need to check the specific requirements of the state/territory where youwantto work. Generally you will need a university or college teaching qualification (BEdor PGCE) and an Australian education visa or working visa. You will need to have your teaching skills assessed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

The Australian Visa Bureau will help you work out if you’re qualified for a teaching job in Australia and the Migration Bureau lets you take a free assessment to see which visa category you’re eligible under. The good news is teaching is on the Skilled Occupation list and this should allow you to apply for a skilled migration visa.

You may also have to undergo a criminal record check and an assessment of your English language skills. 

Teaching in Australia pay and conditions

Again the rates of pay vary across the Austrlian states/territories. Although, as you can read in one of our case studies below, the rate of pay can equal that of the UK.

The pay scale for the Australian Capital Territory will give you an idea of what to expect.  A new teacher starts on around $55,500 Australian Dollars (around £37,000) and salaries can go up to $100,000 (around £67,500) or more for a leading teacher.

The Australian curriculum

Australiais working on a national curriculum, however it is in its early stages and is being piloted by various schools and is being developed progressively. The organsiation in charge of this is the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) .

According to ACARA, the aim of this work is to produce a final curriculum in English, history, mathematics, and science that equips all young Australians with the essential skills, knowledge and capabilities to thrive and compete in the globalised world. You can swot up on the Australian Curriculum at the Australian Curriculum website

As the national curriculum is still in its infancy, you should also gen up on the curriculum being offered in the various states.

New South Wales

Queensland Studies Authority

Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Western Australia Curriculum Council

Northern Territory

South Australia

How the education system works in Australia

Make sure you understand the education system in Australia before you apply for any jobs. Schooling begins with the preparatory year, followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school. In the final year of secondary school, students can study for a government-endorsed certificate that is recognised for further study by all Australian universities, vocation education and training institutions.

The academic year is divided into four terms running from late January until December. School hours are generally from 9am to 3.30pm each day.

Term 1 – late January to Easter (two weeks holiday)

Term 2 – Easter to late June (two weeks holiday)

Term 3 – early July to late September (two weeks holiday)

Term 4 – early October to late December (five weeks holiday)

Job application and interview advice

Make sure that your application does the following:

  • Clearly outlines your qualifications  including name of awarding institution, title of qualification and year awarded
  • Explains your teaching experience including dates, name of school, subject and year levels taught and name of referee
  • Gives details ofany extra curricular responsibilities or interests
  • Interviews will probably be held via Skype, be prepared to answer questions on the following:
  • Why are you emigrating to New Zealand/Australia?
  • Have you lived overseas before?
  • Have you been to New Zealand/Australia before?
  • What job/career aspirations do you have in New Zealand/Australia?

These questions are being asked so the employer can be sure that you’re properly prepared for the move to Australia and to assess how you might settle into a new country.

Teaching in an international school

We hear from Wendy Koning, a French teacher teacher in theInternational Grammar School based in Sydney.

What are the differences in curriculum?
“Currently there is a variation from state to state as opposed to the more national, homogenous approach in the UK. Schools have more individual programmes, too. The language immersion programme they run at International Grammar School is unique and consists of ten lessons of 35-minute classes a week, which are all assessed. Australiahas the Higher School Certificate (HSC), equivalent to the UK’s GCSEs and A-levels”.

What’s your high point – and low?
“Outside of teaching, I have enjoyed going into the bush, seeing Australian wildlife including a trip to visit kangaroos and travelling from Sydney to Brisbane by train. Being so far away from friends and family has been the low point, but Skype and cheap phone calls have made them more reachable, and I’m able to be in regular contact with my daughters and family back home.” 

What do you wish you’d known beforehand?
“I wish I had known beforehand that I needed copies of all my academic (including A-levels) and teaching qualifications. I needed copies of my teaching diplomas and certificates to go through an accreditation program which can take up to 18 months to complete, but your school should help you with that.“

Teaching in a secondary school in Australia

Andrew Bacon migrated to Australia with his family and landed his first job as a secondary school science teacher in Victoria.

What are your teaching highs and lows?
“The best thing about teaching here is that the pupils are extremely respectful of their teachers, far more so than in the UK. They are well behaved, work hard, complete homework and have high aspirations. The downside is the school terms are long (the current one is 11 weeks) and being a private school there are lots of reports, exams and meetings.”

How do pay and standard of living compare?
“The pay is fantastic. I was earning around £36,000 per annum shortly after arrival and received a further 10 per cent pay rise plus a one-off payment because of my specialist post. I actually now earn more than I did in the UK – with a vastly lower cost of living. A win-win situation! We are buying around four acres of land overlooking mountains and forests, and having a brand new house and pool built.”

Tips for teachers looking for a job in Australia

  • The best time to apply for jobs is from early September for the start of the next teaching year
  • Email different Australian states to see what teaching jobs are available
  • Find out general living information by visiting the government website Australian life
  • Take time to decide where you will live; Victoria is a huge state, so explore different regions
  • If you can’t find a job in the area you want to live in you could consider working as a casual teacher (aka supply teacher)
  • Teaching positions in Australia are available across metropolitan, rural and coastal areas, but teachers are particularly in demand in remote locations.

Don’t forget to apply for jobs in private schools, contact the school directly or keep an eye on the TES website

Find an Australian teaching job on TES

TES Australia - Teaching Jobs

View all the jobs available in Australia

View all the jobs available in Oceania

Don’t forget to set yourself up with a job alert for your chosen role so you will get the latest Australian jobs emailed direct to your inbox as soon as they become available on TES Jobs. You have to register with TES to set up a job alert but registration is quick and free.

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Comment (34)

  • Will Australian primary schools/states sponsor teachers or provide any assistance with the visa process?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    13 March, 2013


  • I was just wondering if any teachers have moved from England to Australia recently. I would be interested in hearing about how you found it and the preparation you had to do before, as I am considering doing it. Thank you.

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    16 April, 2013


  • Our university has changed us over from a BEd (hons) degree to a MA (hons) degree. Will this still be recognised as a teaching qualification in Australia?

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    14 May, 2013


  • I've got all my assessments, registrations, police checks and permanent visa, but I'm still finding it hard to be accepted into schools in Western Australia. Does anyone have any advice on how to overcome the fact that schools in WA seem quite reluctant to employ teachers from places other that those that were trained in WA?

    P.s. Julie, The assessing authority will definitely accept your MA, don't worry.

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    5 September, 2013


  • Oh, Also Julie, how long is your course, 3 or 4 years? They will only accept it if it's a 4 year course otherwise you'd have to do an additional year at uni.

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    5 September, 2013


  • Yes i too would really like to hear from any teachers who have moved over! ive joined umpteen forums to ask for advice because im not sure where to start. I have a permanent visa, police checks and certificates here in the UK but when i tried to do the online assessment with NSW i could'nt because i didn't have the Australian equivalent of the CRB. Is it even possible to get a job in Australia before moving out there? thanks

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    16 September, 2013


  • The course I completed (BA hons) was 3 years. Would I definitely need to complete an extra year? Has anybody else attempted applying for jobs in Australia with a 3 year course under their belt? If so, what was the result?

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    6 October, 2013


  • Hi, I have a BA(Hons) which was 3 years and then completed a PGCE which was a 1 year course. Would I still be expected to complete an additional year, or would this be okay?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    15 December, 2013


  • Hello everyone, I am a Brit working in a private Japanese school in Tokyo teaching English to Japanese teenagers. Most of them have had experience with living overseas, so I teach them in a way that I would if I were teaching in the UK. I am interested in teaching this age group in Australia. I have a CELTA and have nearly completed a masters in guidance and education. Though, I don't have a PGCE, would it be worth me applying for a job? I have had about 10 years experience here in Japan and am 42. Any advice would be great!

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    24 January, 2014


  • I did GTP qualification to teach. Will that be recognised in Australia?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    30 January, 2014


  • Check out, they have a fairly extensive thread on this. :)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    3 February, 2014


  • Madchick25. I dont think they accept GTP as you have to have done 4 years training (3yr degree and a PGCE or a BSc/BA/MA in education for 4 years).
    we are in the middle of a visa application and they were picky about how I got my qualifications.
    Not attempted to get a job yet but it sounds like I may have a bit of a battle on my hands. Fingers crossed hey!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    13 February, 2014


  • Hi
    can someone pls advise if the PGCE is recognised in Australia? I am hoping to do a primary school PGCE with the idea to move to Oz after. Do you know if a primary school teacher is still on the skilled list required?
    what are the requirements of primary teaaching there?
    Any help is much appreciated.

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    27 March, 2014


  • Hello, is it true that there is an age limit to teach in Australia and move there? In 30 in October and I'm worried I wont be accepted. Also what visa should I be applying for? I have a first class honours degree in visual arts, an MA, a PGCE and 5 years of teaching experience. Also would anyone recommend a particular place in Australia to work?



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    5 June, 2014


  • PGCE is recognised, GTP is not. You need your academic transcript for your PGCE, I completed a SCITT and it's taken me two years to get a transcript , but hopefully I will get a positive assessment! Most visas have an age limit of 45 I believe, Natalie you need to check the SOL list but primary is currently on there.

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    10 June, 2014


  • Hi, I'm from India I have done my BSc, BEd, MA( Education) and one year International Diploma course in Guidance and counselling. At present I am teaching the 11 and 12 standard. Is there any teaching vacancy or me in any Australian school?

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    1 July, 2014


  • Hi, I will have completed a 3 year BA degree with QTS in June. Does anyone know if this is a recognised qualification and is it possible to do my NQT year in Australia?


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    14 January, 2015


  • Hey, I was just wondering if anyone knows if I qualified to teach in Australia with a PGCE in primary education? I want to move there as soon as possible.

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    3 February, 2015


  • Jade, I would say not - well not in WA not sure about the other states! I completed a 3 year BA degree with QTS and they are refusing to add me to the teaching board of WA and therefore I cannot teach here. I came over to Perth with a teaching job to start which I subsequently lost. I now have to complete a further 12 months study here to be able to teach. I also had 5 years teaching experience in addition to my degree.. I would definitely look into the requirements for the state you want to move too!

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    17 February, 2015


  • Interested in hearing from any Australian Teachers/Teachers from the UK who have made the move. Am coming over on a WHV in Sept and ideally want to teach early years as I have been doing for the past 4yrs though my PGCE is in Secondary Education?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    21 February, 2015


  • Hey guys, I have a 3-years BA and I have done a PGCE for modern Languages.I teach Spanish mainly, are there ( Australia) schools which offer Spanish as a language course in Secondary schools? Where should I start my application? Thank you!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    1 March, 2015


  • Hi, I have been looking into securing a visa. I was wondering if anyone could give good advice as I was wondering why the skilled visa (189 or 190) is £2,015? any advice and where to apply to would be great. I was using this website:

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    1 March, 2015


  • Can someone advise to see if a maths degree and this

    be accepted to be able to teach in Australia ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    5 March, 2015


  • Will an overall 8 band in IELTS work for QUALIFIED overaeas teachers?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    9 March, 2015


  • hi, can anyone tell me the answer or support
    i have BA Hons in primary education with QTS Specialising in early years and it was a 4 year course, have all transcripts and everything and completed my nqt too. wanting to go to queensland/brisbane ??? x

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    10 March, 2015


  • I am Ph D in chemistry teaching from last 15year in a college in india. I have no formal teacher training. What are my rospects in australua

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    4 May, 2015


  • Aside from attractive lifestyle and relatively easy cultural transition, cost of living is generally cheaper in Australia. A British French teacher would do well there. I am a Filipino teaching in ( ) thru Skype and I am doing quite well with Australian students. I can imagine a British doing so much better than I am.

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    16 July, 2015


  • I have a 3 years BA hons primary degree, with 2 years teaching experience. I am aware that the Australian teaching council will not accept a 3 year degree. It is my understanding that I would need to attend university in Australia for additional one year in order to teach over there. Can anyone give me advice on which course I would need to study/complete? Do I need to attend uni for one year one? Will I be studying an MA ( like the PGCE with school placements?)

    Advice would be greatly appreciated:)

    Thank you

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    17 October, 2015


  • Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    15 December, 2015


  • Hi, I was wondering if anybody could advise me.. I have a 3 year BA hons degree in art and a 1 year primary PGCE so I'm qualified to teach 5-11 year olds. I have also completed my NQT year in England and also have 18 months teaching experience.

    I'm looking to supply teach in Australia whilst I travel! The places I really want to visit are Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth. I am flexible on how long I would spend in each city. Does supply teaching work like it does here? Could anybody advise a good agency that covers various cities?

    Also what are the necessary requirements.. Visa, DBS (equivalent of) is there anything else I need?

    Any advice would be greatly received!

    Thanks Ellie

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    15 December, 2015


  • Hi Ellie,

    This won't work as every state has a different registration. If you register in Queensland then you can only work there (Brisbane, Cairns). To work in the above cities you would have to register in 4 different states which is time consuming and expensive,

    However registering in one state and doing relief work for a term/semester is plausible. It just depends on supply and demand. Basically demand in big cities is low, demand in remote/rural areas is high.

    Remote/Rural work usually includes accommodation and is a good way to save cash. It can be a bit of a cultural shock though if you work remote as it isn't anything like the east coast.

    Hope this helps.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    24 December, 2015

  • For the BA Hons question. 3 years is not acceptable (unless you are already registered in Aus way back in the day...). Most grad dip/ masters in teaching are now 1.5 to 2 years long. (they used to be 1 year). However many are offer externally (via computer) but you would need to do an internship (30-60 days) at a school. The university may waive this with your experience but maybe/maybe not.

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    24 December, 2015

  • Hi I was wondering if American teaching qualifications are accepted? If yes, could I teach in secondary schools?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    16 April, 2016

  • Hi I am from Pakistan I have done BS in media studies recently completed my degree can I teach in Australia?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    28 April, 2016

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