If you have the ability to teach, there are opportunities across Australia. Teachers are required for all ages and abilities, and all topics, from art, to science, to math, to languages. While the biggest demand for teachers is within the public and private schooling system, there are opportunities to teach adults and specialized topics too.
Not only does the job offer a fulfilling and exciting career, but it gives you a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. All teaching roles are on the medium and long term shortage list, opening the door to an education and future in Australia.
In Australia, the average school has about 24 students per class. Access to education across Australia is widespread, and scores in reading, science and math are above the OECD PISA average. However, student participation in these key subjects is declining, so Australia is investing the future, funding the primary and secondary schooling sectors 6% more than the OECD average.
This is creating a sector of growth, a changing curriculum to better suit the future needs of Australia, and increasing funding into the future, making this a great time to study education in Australia.
Teaching as pathway to PR
All levels of teaching, from preschool to secondary school, are on the medium to long term skills shortage list in Australia. This makes it an excellent choice for those wishing to make the move to Australia permanent. For those wishing to live out of the main centres, the opportunities for employment, and a permanent visa, are even greater.
Australia’s visas are points based. This means that there are a variety of ways you can increase your points to help ensure your visa will be approved. Each visa has slightly different requirements, but for most, these points include:
- From 18 to 26 years, 25 points
- From 25 to 33 years, 30 points
- From 33 to 40 years, 25 points
- From 40 to 45 years, 15 points
In order to be a teacher in Australia, your English skills must be excellent. If you did not study at least four years of bachelor degree or higher in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or the United States, you must sit an IELTS test. You must score at least a 7.0 for reading and writing, and a score of 8.0 for speaking and listening. This will give you ‘superior’ English skills, worth 20 points.
Skilled employment experience outside Australia:
- Less than three years, 0 points
- Between three and five years, 5 points
- Between five and eight years, 10 points
- Eight or more years, 15 points
Skilled employment experience inside Australia:
- Less than one year, 0 points
- Between one and three years, 5 points
- Between three and five years, 10 points
- Between five and eight years, 15 points
- Eight or more years, 20 points
- A qualification that’s suitable for teaching: 10 points
- A bachelor’s degree from an Australian institution or equivalent: 15 points
- A doctorate from an Australian institution or equivalent: 20 points
You can also get an extra 10 points for specialist education in Australia that took at least two years, such as a master’s degree.
You can gain an extra five points for having a degree from Australia, for completing a professional year within Australia, for being qualified in an Australian community language, for studying at a regional institution within Australia.
If you are nominated or sponsored for the role, that gets an extra 15 points
- If your spouse has competent English and is applying for the same visa, 5 points
- If you are single or your spouse is an Australian, 10 points
- If your spouse meets skill, age and English criteria for this visa also, 10 points
Skills assessment for teaching in Australia
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) provides the mandatory skills assessment that all immigrating teachers are required to sit. This assessment determines suitability for the occupation they intend to do. If you intend to migrate, you must pass their skills assessment. You will need to register for the portal. Supply them with the documents they require:
- proof of identity, such as passport ID details page
- any evidence of a name change
- proof of qualification
- transcript for each year of your qualification
- evidence of supervised teaching practice signed by an official
- IELTS English test proficiency results
Pay the fees as required:
- Skills assessment AU$860
- Skilled employer statement AU$232
- Appeal of assessment outcome AU$860
- AITSL Skills Assessment Certificate AU$232
Once the assessment is complete, you will be notified via the portal. The AITSL certificate is valid for two years. You can also request a AITSL Skills Assessment Certificate from them to apply to your points test for your visa application.
Visa options for migration
Not all visas are available for all types of teaching. For instance, primary school teachers have less visa options than the highly in-demand secondary school teachers.
- Visa 190 is a points tested skilled nominated visa. This is a permanent visa that requires that you are invited to apply. You submit an expression of interest via SkillSelect and wait for an invitation.
- Visa 189 is a points tested skilled independent permanent visa (not available for primary school teachers). You must be invited to apply via your expression of interest on SkillSelect.
- Visa 491 is a points tested skilled work regional visa that allows a five year stay. You must be nominated to apply, from your application of interest on SkillSelect.
- Visa 494 is a 5 year skilled employer sponsored visa. You must be under 45, and sponsored by an Australian employer.
- Visa 186 is an employer nominated scheme permanent visa (not available for primary school teachers). You must be nominated by your future employer.
Teaching courses available in Australia
The most common qualification is a four year Bachelor of Education in:
- early childhood education
- primary education
- middle years education
- secondary education
- other teaching specialisations
Or, a three year degree can be completed, followed by a Graduate Diploma or Master of Teaching for early childhood, primary, middle, or secondary schooling.
Early childhood covers childcare, preschool, and kindergarten. A BEd is useful in supervisory and leadership roles.
Primary teaching is for grades 1 to 6. You will be required to have a Bed or MTeach as well as supervised classroom experience.
Secondary education covers grades 7 to 12. You’ll need a Bed, MTEach, and a subject expertise such as math, science or languages.
You also must be registered with the state’s board for primary and secondary school teaching.
Most popular universities providing these courses in Australia
There are a range of teaching courses available from a range of providers. Each one has different criteria for entry requirements. The top five universities that teach Bachelor of Education are:
- Australian Catholic University (ACU)
- Queensland University of Technology
- University of New England
- Deakin University
- University of Southern Queensland (USQ)
This is decided using a range of ranking factors including popularity/ student numbers, student satisfaction levels, and salaries of graduates.
If you are applying to study in the state of Victoria, you will need to sit the CASPer test. This computer based assessment screens and evaluates key professional characteristics. It is designed to discern good applications, increasing fairness in evaluations.
Teacher specialization options
Becoming a secondary school teacher allows scope for you to pursue areas of personal interest. As well as choosing from the core subjects of English, history, math, science, and social studies, you could explore the options of:
- Foreign languages
- Gifted education
- Reading specialist
- Speech therapist
- Business management
- Media studies
You can study these as a minor alongside your teaching major for your master’s degree. These options make you more attractive as an employee, especially if you are trained in an area of study that is in demand.
Teacher jobs salary expectations
Ranging from beginner teachers at $60,000 to senior specialised teachers closer to $100,000 per annum, the salary range is broad.
How to find a job
There are two main ways to get a job in Australia. You can use a recruitment agency, or apply directly for jobs.
You can head online to apply for jobs through job portals such as seek.com.au and also through the state government jobs listings for examples the Victoria State Government or New South Wales. You can also register for state career fairs to connect with potential schools.
What to expect in the first 8 weeks in your new job?
As a new teacher in a new country, you can expect a few things to be different to how they were at home. Expect to learn and adjust to suit your new role. Your school should arrange another teacher as a buddy to help you learn the ropes.
In that first eight weeks, you should meet all the other teachers and support staff. You should also have plenty of contact with the principal, setting standards and professional obligations. If there is online modules or teachings, these should be followed too.
Sitting and getting to know the students is important, and any special needs they have, including language challenges or learning disabilities. Take notes, and try to find ways of working with them to create the best outcomes.
How to plan your class well?
If you are a new teacher, considering teaching, or starting anew in Australia, it’s good to refresh what a good lesson plan and class structure looks like.
- Set clear aims, with clarity about the requirements for the course/ class. This is more effective when you understand the needs of your students, and how they learn.
- Use what your students are interested in. If your class are interested in the topic, the way the lesson is delivered, or the examples used to illustrate it, they will be more engaged in learning.
- Make students feel welcome. While you can’t do an ice-breaker every class, the first lesson is important so students can feel more at ease around each other. Create a comfortable learning environment. Develop rapport with the students.
- Manage student expectations. Set classroom rules, be clear about them, and the outcomes if the rules aren’t followed. Create a class contract in conjunction with the students, including what the students can expect from you.
- Make lessons achievably challenging. Students want to feel like they are learning, and you should know what level of tasks they should be able to achieve.
Find out how ACEM Education can help you search your dream course in Australia. We have years of experience helping people choose their area of study and the ideal university. We can help you make choices that turn your study into a career that takes you where you want to go.