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Teaching Jobs in Australia

The federal system in Australia means that each state and territory has different rules and regulations for registering overseas qualified teachers.

The schools system in Australia has three basic levels:

  • Pre-school education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education

Pre-school education is not compulsory and ranges from part time to full time, depending on which state you are in.

Children start primary education at 5 or 6 years old, again depending on state legislation. The primary school curriculum includes English, maths, science, history, geography, technology, arts and PE. It is not uncommon for a primary school to teach a second language as well as English. One class teacher teaches most major subjects and stays with the class through the day.

A child’s attendance at secondary school is compulsory until they are 15 or 16, depending on state or territory legislation. Secondary school teachers should be able to teach at least two subjects to a high level. An Australian teacher will have done at least four years full time study. This will include a minimum of six weeks full time supervised teaching practice.

Australian secondary schools are mostly comprehensive high schools. The last two years of secondary education may be taught in specialist colleges. Apart from state schools, there are also many Catholic, charitably funded and independent schools in Australia. In line with the size and variety of the country, the range of schools goes from large urban schools to one-teacher outlets in tiny rural towns.

As someone on a working holiday visa you will be eligible to apply for teaching on a casual status. You will need to obtain a Casual Approved Number from the department of education in the state you want to work in – bear in mind this can take a few weeks. You will also need a full transcript of all the courses and your university qualifications including your degree and/or diploma certificates. Casual supply teachers are often thrown in at the deep end - you could be working in particularly poor or run down schools where the usual teachers are often on leave. Prepare yourself for this aspect of the work. Areas where there are particular shortages of teachers include maths, science and languages.

You must register as a teacher before you can begin work. In Queensland and Southern Australia, all teachers must be registered. The Registered Schools Board must register all teachers in non-government schools in Victoria. In New South Wales and Western Australia your eligibility to teach is determined by the relevant Department of Education for government schools. Non-government schools are able to decide for themselves who they will employ.

If you are on a working holiday visa, you must contact the relevant authority to establish your credentials and make sure your experience matches the state requirements.