Teaching in 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.