What it takes to apply as a Secondary School Teacher

The new occupation quotas were released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) last week and the ceiling for Secondary School Teachers boasted over 8,000 places up for grabs. The shocker is that for programme year 2015/16, a mere 570 spots were filled. Whilst this would not be reflective of actual applications received, it is still a paltry number. Now why is that?

Most students that I speak too are often unaware that they do not have to have completed a Bachelor of Education to apply as a Secondary School Teacher. You could, with Art, Science or Commerce degrees, use your existing degree as a stepping stone to becoming a teacher; a Graduate Diploma or Masters of Education taken and completed in Australia would suffice to gain the applicant a suitable skills assessment, qualification wise of course. These courses offer all the educational units necessary for you to qualify as competent and should provide the required supervised teaching practice (45 days) as well. Rather similar to the Accounting field, many international students have taken a Accounting Masters in Australia post-graduate from a Bachelor’s taken overseas. These Bachelor’s have nothing to do with Accounting, and yet their post-graduate course allows them to successfully attain suitable skill assessments, a fundamental document in their Australian PR visa applications.

Depending on your previous study, the course that you enrol in, and subjects you would be eligible to teach in Australia, it may be required that you complete some additional units. It is best to discuss this carefully with the education faculty of your chosen Australian university.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)  are the assessing body overseeing skills assessments for the various school teaching occupations on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). Gaining a suitable skill assessments requires the a candidate nominating the occupation of “Secondary School Teacher” to possess an IELTS: Academic result of 7 for reading, 7 for writing, 8 for speaking and 8 for listening. This English standard asks for more than a proficient level as defined by the DIBP and perhaps may seem a little out of reach for some, but it is a reasonable ask given the role. However you look at it, this looks seems to be an opportunity that is under-utilised by international students in Australia.

If you are confident in your English ability (or willing to work at improving it) and can pass a postgraduate teaching course, then your pathway to permanent residency is likely to stand for some time. With not even 10% of the quota being used each year, it is unlikely Australia is going to experience a glut of Secondary School Teachers any time soon. In fact many teachers are dropping like flies in the public school sector for it is a tough, stressful job. However remember there is no need that you actually get a job as a teacher, all you need is the skill assessment!