How to become a Teacher - Primary

Primary school teachers educate primary school children by planning and conducting an education programme to develop literacy and numeracy, as well as the physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth of their students. Primary school teachers are usually trained to teach the whole curriculum. Some undertake further studies to become specialist primary teachers who develop and teach programmes for students with special needs, rural and isolated children or children for whom English is a second language. In some schools, primary school teachers teach languages other than English if they have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience.

Personal requirements of a Teacher - Primary

  • Enjoy working with children
  • Creative and organised
  • Patient in dealing with students of differing abilities
  • Able to communicate simply and clearly
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours

Education & Training for a Teacher - Primary

To become a primary school teacher you usually have to complete a degree in primary education or primary school teaching. Alternatively, you can undertake a postgraduate qualification specialising in primary education after completing a degree with relevant study areas. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - Primary

Primary school teachers:

  • prepare daily and longer-term lesson plans in accordance with curriculum guidelines
  • teach a full range of learning areas, including English (reading, writing, speaking and listening), mathematics, science, technology, society and environment, creative arts, personal development, health and physical education
  • develop children's interests, abilities and coordination using creative activities such as art, music and sport
  • use computers to assist with lesson preparation, teaching and reporting
  • develop and maintain good working habits and discipline in classrooms
  • carry out administrative duties
  • supervise students during classes and at other times in the school day, including in the playground during breaks
  • attend staff meetings and other training and development sessions
  • take part in joint decision-making about educational issues
  • assess and evaluate students' progress in written and oral work
  • discuss students' progress and concerns with parents and administrators
  • assist with and organise sporting activities, school concerts and excursions
  • prepare for and attend parent-teacher interviews and other functions.

Working conditions for a Teacher - Primary

Primary school teachers need to continually update their subject knowledge and teaching methods through private study and professional development activities. With further training and experience, they may be promoted to a position of educational leadership, such as primary school principal.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - Primary

Competition for positions in metropolitan schools is very strong. Teachers should be prepared to move to areas of need (rural areas, for example) to secure a job or obtain promotion to senior positions. Once employed, prospects for advancement can be enhanced by obtaining higher qualifications.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1.7%

NSW 31.1%

NT 1%

QLD 20.2%

SA 7.1%

TAS 2.1%

VIC 26%

WA 10.8%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 15%

Female 85%

Education level:

Highest qualification is secondary school: 1.2%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0.3%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 7.1%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 68.9%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 22.2%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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