How to become a primary school teacher

Discover how to become a primary school teacher in Australia. Make a real difference in childrens’ lives by promoting their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.

Begin your career in primary school teaching

  1. Complete a primary teaching degree online or on campus. A Bachelor Degree is required to become a primary school teacher in Australia.
  2. If you already have a Bachelor Degree in another discipline, you can complete an approved postgraduate degree.
  3. Register with your state or territory’s Teacher Registration Authority:
    New South Wales
    Australian Capital Territory
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
  4. Have a current Working with Children Check. This is legislated by each state and territory for the purpose of conducting background checks for people seeking to engage in child-related work:
    New South Wales
    Australian Capital Territory
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
  5. Some employers may also require you to have a First Aid certification. 

What does a primary school teacher do?

Primary school teachers are trained to teach students from Prep to Year 6 (typically children aged five to 12). After you have your primary teacher certification, Teacher Registration Authority and Working With Children Check, you’ll be all set to teach a prescribed curriculum. This typically includes English, science, mathematics, history and geography. 

Duties and tasks

  • Teach numeracy, literacy, social science, physical education and creative expression skills to primary school students.
  • Present prescribed curriculums using a range of teaching materials and techniques.
  • Develop students' abilities, interests and coordination via creative activities.
  • Guide discussions and supervise work in class.
  • Prepare, administer and mark projects, tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress and record the results.
  • Discuss individual problems and progress with parents and students and seek advice from senior teachers and student counsellors.
  • Maintain discipline in classrooms and other school areas.
  • Participate in staff meetings and educational workshops and conferences. 
  • Liaise with parents and business and community groups.
  • Maintain class and scholastic records.
  • Perform extra-curricular tasks such as assisting with sport, excursions, school concerts and special interest programs.
  • Supervise student teachers on placement.


Why choose to become a primary school teacher?

Primary school teaching is highly rewarding and life-changing. While financial recognition is an important factor, there are some perks that can’t be measured with dollars alone—these include flexibility, guaranteed holidays, varied employment options and work-life balance. Some other reasons to choose a primary school teaching career include:

  • Making a positive impact on future generations 
  • Being a role model and inspiring and supporting young people
  • Joining the school community as a familiar and valued member


Industry bodies

Australian College of Educators (ACE)

ACE delivers information and networking and professional learning opportunities beyond the school environment. Primary school professionals can access publications, research and learning that will have a direct impact upon their classroom practice.

Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)

The ATEA is the major professional association for teacher educators in Australia. It promotes research as a core endeavour of teacher educators, the continuing education of teachers and teacher educators, and advocacy and support for the professionalism and expertise of teachers and teacher educators at local through to global scales.

Australian Professional Teachers’ Association (APTA)

The APTA is a national body supporting and advocating for professional teaching associations across Australia. The organisation understands the needs and interests of educators, and actively contributes to national discussions on their behalf.

Primary school teacher jobs

Once you've gained a teaching degree, or an education degree in general, many graduates seek the role of a primary teacher in a classroom. However, there are opportunities to progress to other roles in the education sector including:

  • Teacher aide
  • TAFE teacher
  • Head of department
  • Principal
  • Youth guidance counsellor
  • Adult education teacher
  • Education reform and policy officer
  • Education research officer
  • Curriculum design officer

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