How to become a Teacher - Primary

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.

Personal requirements for 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
  • Diligent and confident

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.


  • Guiding discussions and supervising work in class
  • Presenting prescribed curriculum using a range of teaching techniques and materials
  • Performing extra-curricular tasks such as assisting with sport, school concerts, excursions and special interest programs
  • Maintaining class and scholastic records
  • Teaching literacy, numeracy, social science, creative expression and physical education skills to primary school students
  • Maintaining discipline in classrooms and other school areas
  • Discussing individual progress and problems with students and parents, and seeking advice from Student Counsellors and senior teachers
  • Developing students' interests, abilities and coordination by way of creative activities
  • Preparing, administering and marking tests, projects and assignments to evaluate students' progress and recording the results
  • Supervising student teachers on placement
  • Participating in staff meetings, educational conferences and workshops
  • Liaising with parent, community and business groups

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.


Teacher Librarian - Primary

A teacher librarian - primary manages the school's learning resources in addition to undertaking the duties of a teacher. Teacher librarians play a key role in teaching cross-curricular skills in information literacy and provide professional development for other teachers. They help students to seek, critically evaluate, synthesise and present information using a range of resources and information technologies. They expose students to a variety of genres (writing styles) in print and digital formats, and promote the best quality literature and authors to reflect different cultures and themes. Teacher librarians ensure the library resource centre is multi-functional and a focal point for student learning.

Aboriginal Education Teacher (Primary)

An aboriginal education teacher (primary) teaches specially designed programmes to Indigenous primary school students.

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    85% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    45 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    65% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    169,400 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.7%
    NSW: 31.1%
    NT: 1.0%
    QLD: 20.2%
    SA: 7.1%
    TAS: 2.1%
    VIC: 26.0%
    WA: 10.8%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.1%
    20-24: 5.6%
    25-34: 28.7%
    35-44: 25.4%
    45-54: 20.8%
    55-59: 10.2%
    60-64: 6.7%
    65 and Over: 2.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 7.1%
    Bachelor degree: 68.9%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.3%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 22.2%
    Year 10 and below: 0.1%
    Year 11: 0.1%
    Year 12: 1.2%
    Years 11 & 10: 0%
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