How can I gain teacher registration and accreditation?
To be a teacher, you need to register to - or be accredited by - a teacher registration board. This is not a unified procedure nationally but is divided on a state/territory basis. Teacher registration can be complex and varies, sometimes greatly, depending on what jurisdiction you’re teaching in. On top of this, the teacher accreditation criteria are not the same in every part of the country. For example, this what you need to become a teacher in WA:
- Be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or have a working visa.
- Have an accredited teaching qualification. For new teachers, this is a four-year tertiary qualification with one year specialising in education.
- Be registered with the state through the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA).
- Have a criminal record check within the past 12 months and a working with children card.
For more information, see the teacher registration boards:
How much does teacher registration cost?
Whichever region you are registering in, though, the process will not be cheap. For example in QLD, the application fee for new teacher registration is $141.60, unless you have not gained a teaching qualification in the state in the past two years, in which case it’s $242.55.
You will also need to make an annual payment to maintain your teacher registration. For example, in QLD this is $83.75. It’s important to maintain your registration, which you can do online, because if you don’t you could incur a late penalty or be removed from the register and have to start the process afresh.
What else to I need to become a registered teacher?
A working with children check
To become a teacher you will have to complete background checks, such as a police check or working with children check, which looks at your criminal record and any misconduct involving children. In some jurisdictions, these checks will be included in your teacher registration. However, if you need to do checks you will require 100 points of identification, of which a birth certificate is 70 points, for the working with children check. You will need to complete the relevant application form, have it signed by a representative of the school (principal, regional executive director or director) and provide proof of address and photo identification.
Working across states/territories
The mutual recognition principle allows you to use your registration in one jurisdiction to apply for registration in another state/territory or New Zealand. However, NSW is not part of this system so to teach you will need reregister there.
Once you’ve become qualified, you will begin as a provisionally registered teacher before you can become a registered teacher. If you’ve taken a break from teaching for five years or more, you’ll need to register as a provisionally registered teacher.
There are four professional career stages for a teacher: graduate, proficient, highly accomplished and lead. To make the transition from provisionally registered to registered you will be required to meet the criteria for proficient teacher level.
For example, in Victoria to move from the provisionally registered status up to the registered level, according to the VIT, you have two years to show that you:
- Can apply your knowledge in teaching situations where you have full professional responsibility for the learning of students.
- Have met the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
- Have had at least 80 days' teaching experience in an Australian or New Zealand school.
Vivienne Traynor, a primary school teacher from Sydney, explains the system in her state: "All teachers in NSW have to develop and maintain accreditation with the NSW standards authority.
“The seven Australian Professional Standards help teachers develop and strengthen a range of skills.”
The seven Australian Standards for Teachers outline “what teachers should know and be able to do”. These are:
- Know students and how they learn.
- Know the content and how to teach it.
- Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
- Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
- Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
- Engage in professional learning.
- Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.
You can learn more about Australian Professional Standards for Teachers here.
To graduate teachers this may seem like a daunting project, but don’t worry – there is help at hand. You will have support from a mentor who will guide you through the process.
Traynor says: “Although the process is rigorous for new teachers, it is not additional work they tackle alone. Each teacher has a mentor or supervisor who guides them during their teacher accreditation and supports them through the challenges faced when first entering the profession.
“In my experience, accreditation is not so much the certificate you get at the end of each stage (lovely as it is), but rather the process you go through with your colleagues to help you reach that goal."
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