Do you have patience, a caring attitude, and an urge to shape the minds of the future? Then, a career as a Primary School Teacher could be worth considering.
Primary School Teachers are trained professionals who teach various subjects within a prescribed curriculum to primary school students and foster social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development in them.
To become a Primary School Teacher in Australia, you usually need a bachelor's degree in education with a major in primary education. Alternatively, complete an undergraduate degree in another discipline followed by an approved postgraduate qualification in primary education.
In this blog, you will learn about Primary School Teachers – their duties, requisite qualification and skills, national average salary, job outlook, career pathways, and the learning route to kickstart this profession in Australia.
1. What Is A Primary School Teacher?
Primary School Teachers are trained and registered educators who teach students between the ages of 5 and 12.
They educate students on several subjects within the curriculum, including mathematics, science, technology, English, humanities and social science, and health and physical education.
Besides implementing a government-prescribed curriculum, Primary School Teachers use engaging teaching techniques to develop children's creative abilities, literacy and numeracy skills, reasoning power, and problem-solving skills and prepare them for a smooth transition into high school education.
2. Duties Of A Primary School Teacher
A typical workday for a primary school teacher may involve the following:
Prepare daily lesson plans, tests, and assignments per the curriculum requirements.
Teach a range of subject areas to students ranging from kindergarten to Year 6 using computers and other teaching aids and techniques.
Maintain order, discipline, and a safe and hygienic environment in the classroom.
Encourage students to maintain productive study and working habits in and outside the classroom.
Evaluate educational progress and achievements of students and record results.
Communicate students' progress with parents and guardians and seek guidance from senior teachers and student counsellors.
Develop, and organize classroom materials, resources, and school activities such as school concerts, camps and excursions, sports, and special interest programs.
Attend educational workshops, conferences, and staff meetings.
Undertake duties concerning the professional development of students.
Plan and organize creative activities such as sports, art, and music to engage students and build their coordination and creativity.
3. Primary School Teacher Skills
You need the following soft skills to become a successful teacher:
Enjoy working with children of all levels of ability.
Excellent communication and listening skills
Social, friendly, and approachable
Patient and understanding
Caring and Supportive
Able to build rapport with students
Dedicated to helping students learn and grow
Self-motived and like motivating others
Great leadership skills
3. What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Primary School Teacher In Australia?
You must complete at least four years of tertiary study at an accredited university, including an approved teacher education program, and register with your state/ territory Teacher Registration Authority.
Here are the steps to qualify for a primary school teacher role in Australia:
Complete your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
Complete a four years Bachelor of Education (Primary) or (Early Childhood/Primary) full-time. Graduates in another discipline can complete an accredited two years entry teaching degree such as a Master of Teaching (Primary).
Complete necessary checks and certifications, including a Working with Children Check, a First Aid certification, National Police Check, etc.
Register with your state/territory's Teacher Registration Authority to become a qualified primary school teacher.
4. Steps To Become A Primary School Teacher In Australia
Follow the steps below to become a qualified Primary School Teacher in Australia.
Step 1: Complete Your High School Education
Start your journey by gaining a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education and qualifying for admission into a university course.
Step 2: Get Qualified
Now that you have the foundation ready to pursue a teaching qualification consider the available degree options to qualify for this role.
If you don't have a degree, complete a primary teaching degree, such as the Bachelor of Education (Primary Online or On-campus) with an accredited education provider.
If you have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, such as a Bachelor of Arts/Science, complete an approved postgraduate teaching program, like a Master of Teaching (Primary). It will help you develop specialized knowledge and gain valuable work experience in teaching.
Another way to qualify for the role is to complete a double or combined degree, for example, a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Education (Primary).
While you study, you get to work closely with registered teachers and learn the best ways to engage students and work on their holistic development. Furthermore, work placements expose you to the daily work routine in Primary School Teaching and build the necessary teaching experience.
Suitable degree options for primary school teachers include:
Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary)
Bachelor of Special and Inclusive Education (Primary)
Bachelor of Education (K-6 Teaching)
Double degree such as Bachelor of Education (Primary)/Bachelor of Behavioural Science.
Combination degrees such as an Undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Music) and a postgraduate teaching qualification (Master of Teaching (Primary)
Step 3: Get Necessary Clearances And Certifications
Before teaching primary school students, you must get the following clearances and certifications:
1. Have a valid Working with Children Check to engage in child-related work.
Check with your state or territory-level governing body that conducts these background checks.
2. A valid and current First Aid certification
3. A clear National Police Check (NPC)
4. An up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination
Check with your state-level teacher's registration board for more details.
Step 4: Become Registered
With the required qualification, certifications, and clearances, the next step is registering with the Teacher Registration Authority of the state or territory you intend to teach.
Queensland - Queensland College of Teachers
New South Wales - NSW Education Standards Authority
Victoria - Victorian Institute of Teaching
Australian Capital Territory – ACT Teacher Quality Institute
South Australia - Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
Western Australia - Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia
Northern Territory - Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory
Tasmania - Tasmanian Teachers Registration Board
Step 5: Apply For Relevant Jobs
Teaching jobs can be highly competitive; it may become challenging for a recent graduate in teaching to gain employment. However, we have some tips that can help enhance your chances of job success.
To boost your resume, gain additional training in supporting areas like ICT, music, sports science, leadership, or creative arts.
Engage in community work or volunteering roles where you can develop relationships, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.
Look for teaching opportunities in remote and rural Australia, as more opportunities are available compared to the capital cities.
Approach schools in person and hand over your resume to them. It may help you land a job in schools looking for a substitute teacher. Working in temporary positions can gradually help you develop experience and employability.
Contact the teaching registrar in your state to learn about the latest job feeds.
National Resources For Primary School Teachers:
5. Which Course Is Best For Primary Teachers?
Based on your existing qualification, you have several study pathways to pursue a primary school teacher role. The following are the best courses to equip yourself with knowledge on various subjects and build valuable experience through work placements.
Bachelor of Education (Primary) – The University of Queensland
Bachelor of Education (Primary) - The University of Sydney
Bachelor of Education (K-6 Teaching) - The University of New England
Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary Education) - Deakin University
Master of Teaching (Primary) – The University of Melbourne
Master of Teaching (Primary Online) – Western Sydney University
Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary) - University of Melbourne
Master of Teaching (Primary and Secondary) – Deakin University
Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary) - Australian Catholic University
Master of Teaching (Primary Education) - Curtin University
6. Career Paths For Primary School Teacher In Australia
Graduates with a teaching degree usually seek a primary teacher role in a classroom setting; there are opportunities to progress to a range of careers and functions in the education sector, including:
Primary school teacher
Curriculum consultant/ Curriculum design officer/ Curriculum planner
Educational researcher/ Education research officer
Government policy adviser
Head of the department
Youth guidance counsellor
Adult education teacher
Education reform and policy officer
Distance education teacher
Learning enhancement teacher
7. Working Conditions For A Primary School Teacher
Primary school teachers spend most of their time in a classroom setting. They usually work during daytime hours in the week. Still, they may also expect to work overtime after school hours and even on weekends to plan lessons, grade papers, and prepare students for competitions, cultural festivals, etc.
It is common for school teachers to work on public holidays to organize events and competitions in the school.
8. Job Outlook Of Primary School Teachers In Australia
Primary school teaching is a life-transforming and emotionally-fulfilling career choice that enables you to educate and motivate children and instil foundational skills in their formative years.
Many youths are drawn to this profession for its opportunity to impact future generations positively. Besides working for a noble cause, the attractive perks and benefits you get working on the job, such as work-life balance, assured holidays, and diverse employment avenues, make it a desirable career path.
Furthermore, the profession gives the freedom to work in public or private settings and ample opportunities to specialize and cater to the needs of home-based learners and differently-abled children.
Also, teachers with experience and specialized skill sets have an enormous scope for career advancement to pursue senior roles in their organizations.
As teaching lays a solid development base, this specific teaching specialty is indispensable in the Australian Education system. According to Labour Market Insights, Australia's primary school teacher profession has a strong projected growth rate.
The number of workers is projected to rise moderately from 149600 in 2021 to 157,300 by 2026.
Around 65% of employed Primary School Teachers work full-time for an average of 45 hours per week. Over two-thirds of workers work overtime frequently.
Main Industries Of Employment
Around 99.3% of primary school teachers work in the Education and training industry.
Other industries of employment include:
Public administration and safety
Health care and social assistance
Administrative And Support Services
Employment Percentage Of Workers Across Australia
Though primary school teachers can find work anywhere in the country, the regions with the large percentage of workers are:
Melbourne - Outer East
Melbourne - North East.
Melbourne - West
Melbourne - Inner
Perth - North West
Here is the employment percentage for workers in major cities in Australia:
New South Wales: 31.1%
South Australia: 7.1%
Western Australia: 10.8%
Northern Territory: 1.0%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.7%
The average age of Primary School Teachers is 41 years, most aged between 25 and 34 years. Females constitute 85% of the workforce, 37 percentage points above the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.
9. How Much Does A Primary School Teacher Earn In Australia?
According to PayScale, the average Primary School Teacher's salary in Australia is AU$71,776 per year. Several factors influence the salary of a primary school teacher, such as:
Salary Based on Work Experience:
Entry-level (<1-year experience): AU$64,829
Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$69,189
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$78,641
Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$86,976
Late career (20 years and above experience): AU$90,535
Salary Based on Location
Primary school teachers usually earn higher pay in high-demand areas like remote locations, where the cost of living is greater than the national average.
Here is the average salary for primary school teachers in capital cities and prime regional centres in Australia:
New South Wales (NSW)
Newcastle: $71,408 per year
Sydney: $70,905 per year
Gosford: $68,314 per year
Port Macquarie: $64,496 per year
Penrith: $62,400 per year
Lismore: $61,000 per year
Townsville: $75,000 per year
Rockhampton: $69,634 per year
Brisbane $69,512 per year
Cairns: $68,112 per year
Gold Coast: $67,387 per year
Hervey Bay: $64,707 per year
Sunshine Coast: $60,000 per year
Ballarat: $70,986 per year
Melbourne: $69,829 per year
Wodonga: $63,749 per year
Geelong: $62,591 per year
Bendigo: $61,762 per year
Northern Territory (NT)
Darwin: $72,168 per year
Alice Springs: $70,895 per year
Western Australia (WA)
Kalgoorlie: $90,000 per year
Bunbury: $75,000 per year
Perth: $71,732 per year
Hobart: $76,572 per year
Launceston: $75,000 per year
South Australia (SA)
Australian Capital Territory
Salary Based on Qualifications
A bachelor's degree in primary education, like a Bachelor of Education (Primary), is a prerequisite to becoming a primary school teacher. Teachers with an approved postgraduate degree attract higher salaries.
Salary Based on School Type
In addition to the above, the type of school where you teach also determines your salary.
Primary school teachers in public schools with comparable qualifications and experience earn similar incomes around their state or territory. Salaries are almost the same in schools within the same state or territory.
Primary teachers in private, church, or independent schools can determine their pay rates. Those working in areas having a shortage of skilled teachers may earn slightly more than average salaries.
Skills That Impact Your Earnings
Having various desirable skill sets can considerably influence the salary of a primary school teacher in Australia. You can find below ways to become more skilled:
Earn qualifications beyond the minimum education requirement to receive higher salaries. Completing a Master's degree in primary education after an undergraduate qualification in primary education or an unrelated discipline can help you earn more. It is highly beneficial if you achieve an honours degree in a bachelor's program in primary education.
Study for a combined bachelor's degree (a Bachelor of Arts with a Bachelor of Education) as it helps teachers expand their knowledge.
Your earning power can increase if you complete Special and inclusive education that enables you to effectively teach students and offer academic and emotional support to students with unique learning and support needs.
Schools are likely to pay you more if you can teach technology-related subjects, such as internet safety, robotics, and computer programming, and help students utilize technology in the classroom and widen their knowledge.
As an increasing number of primary schools are including language lessons in their curriculum, teachers proficient in bilingual communication can secure higher salaries. Some preferred secondary languages include Japanese, French, Mandarin, and Spanish.
Consider earning certifications such as a national teacher certificate and a lead teacher certification that demonstrate a teacher's leadership and subject-matter expertise and help them stand out from their peers.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Subjects Are Needed To Become a Primary School Teacher?
Studying for the Bachelor of Education (Primary) gives you expertise in the below key learning areas:
English and Literacy
Mathematics and Numeracy
Science and Technology
Humanities and Social Sciences
Health and Physical Education
Creative and Practical Arts
Do Primary School Teachers Get Paid The Same as Secondary in Australia?
The average high school/secondary teacher salary is $94,048 per year, which is $23,554 higher than the average annual salary of a primary school teacher in Australia.
It is because high school teachers have higher qualifications and experience than primary school teachers.
As high school teachers usually hold a master's degree in their selected subject, it impacts their national average pay and enables them to earn more than primary school teachers.
Can You Teach Primary School with a Secondary Degree in Australia?
If you hold a bachelor's degree, you can complete an approved secondary teaching degree with an accredited university to teach primary school students.
Victorian Government provides fast-track training opportunities through government-sponsored "Teach Today" and "Teach Tomorrow" programs to allow students to complete their secondary degree in 18 to 24 months.
How to Become a Primary School Teacher in NSW?
To become a primary school teacher in NSW, you must complete at least four years of tertiary study, including an approved teacher education program at a higher education institution or a recognized university. Standard degree options include:
Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Double or combined degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts combined with a Bachelor of Education (Primary)
An unrelated undergraduate degree followed by an accredited graduate entry teaching degree, like a Master of Teaching (Primary). Click here to learn more about becoming a teacher in NSW public schools.
How To Become a Primary School Teacher in Victoria?
Here is the list of steps you need to undertake to become a fully qualified teacher to practice teaching in primary schools:
Step 1: Get Qualified
You must possess the qualifications before entering a primary school classroom. The basic education to become a primary school teacher is a four-year, full-time Bachelor of Education degree specializing in primary education.
If you already hold a bachelor's qualification, you must do a Master of Teaching full-time or part-time to become classroom ready.
VU Online University offers a part-time Master of Teaching (Primary Education) postgraduate degree to build the requisite skillset to teach subjects in all areas of the primary syllabus.
Step 2: Complete The CASPer Test
CASPer test, or Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics test, is a standardized test that most educational organizations use to figure out how you would tackle challenging situations.
You will have to complete this test as part of your admission application for VU Online's Master of Teaching (Primary Education)
Step 3: Pass a LANTITE Test
A LANTITE test, or the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students, is mandatory for all budding teachers in Australia. They must pass this test to confirm their literacy and numeracy skills fulfil the required standard before they can assess their students' English literacy and numeracy skills.
Step 4: Get Your Working with Children Check
To register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and start teaching primary school students, you must have a valid Working with Children Check. It shows that you meet the requirements specified under the Worker Screening Act 2020.
Step 5: Complete Your Work Placement
While you study for the Master of Teaching (Primary Education), you must mandatorily complete 65 days of placement in the classroom as a pre-service teacher.
During this time, you will work under the direction of a registered teacher and perform general teaching duties while bringing your creative and critical thinking into your teaching practice.
Step 6: Pass Your Teaching Performance Assessment
While completing work placements, you have to take a record of all activities you performed. Your supervising teacher will assess it and endorse whether or not they satisfy Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA).
Step 7: Get Registered
Upon passing the TPA, the final step and entry requirement to becoming a primary school teacher in Australia is registering with the Victoria Institute of Teaching (VIT) as a primary teacher.
Being an accredited teacher shows that you have the necessary qualifications and have completed the supervised practice teaching days under the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Once registered, you are all set to start your career and bring a positive difference in the lives of people around you.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Primary School Teacher in Australia?
You need to complete a 3-years of full-time Bachelor's degree followed by a 2-year graduate degree in primary education, i.e., a Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary), to start teaching in primary schools.
So, getting qualified to teach across primary years in Australia takes at least five years.
Is There a Demand for Primary School Teachers in Australia?
Yes. Primary school teachers constitute a large segment of the Australian workforce as they are empowered to bring a positive difference for children, families, and communities.
Considering the ever-increasing population, the demand for primary school teachers will stay strong in the coming years.
According to Labour Market Insights, there were 149,600 primary school teachers across Australia, with the number of workers estimated to reach 157,300 by 2026.
Which Australian State has The Highest-Paid Teachers?
According to Indeed, primary school teachers in Kalgoorlie, WA, earn the highest salary of $90,000 per year than other states in Australia.
How to Become a Primary School Teacher Without a Degree?
You must have a primary teaching degree online or on campus to become a registered primary teacher and start practising teaching in primary schools in Australia.
Suppose you don't have a bachelor's degree in education. In that case, you need to complete an approved postgraduate degree, i.e., a Master of Teaching (Primary Education) or Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary), to get the necessary skills to effectively teach a range of subjects under the prescribed primary curriculum.
What is The Quickest way to Become a Teacher in Australia?
The Victorian Government offers employment-based teaching degrees to help aspiring primary school teachers fast-track their teaching careers.
Under the "Teach Today program," Bachelor's degree holders can complete a secondary teaching degree in 18 to 24 months with a government-funded scholarship and paid job in a school while studying.
Universities that provide this program include:
The University of Melbourne
La Trobe University
Teach Tomorrow programs – During the initial 6 to 12 months of the 18-to-24-month degree program, participants receive a scholarship of $15,000 and undertake work placements in schools.
In the program's final 6-12 months, they undertake paid employment in schools as education support staff or paraprofessionals. Universities that provide this program are:
Australian Catholic University
The eligibility criteria for these programs are that budding teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and can train and work in regions of workforce shortage in Victorian Government specialist or secondary schools.
Teaching is a rewarding job and an opportunity to bring a real difference in the lives of children by fostering their physical, social, and intellectual development.
If you are driven to inspire the next Aussie generation and drawn to the broad career prospects of the education industry, the above guide will help you build a successful career that aligns with your strengths and interests.
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