Passionate about education? How to become a teacher in Victoria

So you want to become a teacher. Perhaps you’re keen to be a high school English teacher, specialise in music or work in early childhood education. Whatever your interest area, you’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of Australians and you’re drawn to the diverse employment prospects of the education industry.

‘To work as a teacher in Victoria, you need to have university qualifications and be registered with the relevant state authority – then you’re all set to search for a job,’ says Dr Matthew Thomas, course director of the Master of Teaching (Secondary) and Master of Teaching (Secondary and Primary) at Deakin University.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a teacher in Victoria.

Getting qualified

You’ll need university qualifications to work as a teacher in Victoria and there are two common pathways: complete a four-year Bachelor of Education – which qualifies you to become an early childhood or primary school teacher and, in some circumstances, a secondary school teacher – or an undergraduate degree in a specific discipline like science or music plus a two-year Master of Teaching. It’s also possible to fast-track your studies with a combined undergraduate and postgraduate course.

It’s important to note that a Master of Teaching prepares you to teach in the same discipline as your undergraduate degree. ‘Let’s say you’ve done an undergraduate degree in English and drama, then a Master of Teaching,’ Dr Thomas says. ‘You can’t change your mind and decide you want to be a physics teacher – you have to be an English and drama teacher.’

Figuring out what to study at university isn’t always easy and, thankfully, Dr Thomas says one option isn’t better than the other. ‘If you don’t have a degree and you want to be a teacher, the Bachelor of Education is for you,’ he says. ‘If you do have a degree, the Master of Teaching is your ticket to becoming a teacher.’

Registering your expertise

The teaching requirements in Victoria are strict, and once you’ve completed your studies it’s time to register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Fresh graduates apply for provisional registration and within two years need to satisfy the criteria for full registration.

And here’s the kicker – you’ll need to maintain your registration for the duration of your teaching career, says Dr Thomas.

‘Schools can’t employ teachers without registration,’ he says. ‘It’s a bit like car rego – there’s a yearly fee and it’s ongoing. You need to keep it up-to-date and pay for it each year. Plus, there are things you need to do in order to keep that registration current, such as completing a certain amount of professional development each year.’

Applying for jobs

Once you’ve figured out how to become a teacher in Victoria and have the required qualifications and registration, it’s time to begin applying for jobs. There are three major school systems in Victoria – state, Catholic and independent – and each has its own system for job applications.

All jobs in Victorian state schools are advertised through a platform called Recruitment Online. ‘Recently, the criteria for state school jobs was updated and the first four or five selection criteria are now exactly the same, which helps to make the application process more efficient for graduates,’ Dr Thomas says.

For Catholic schools, jobs are advertised through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. Dr Thomas says applications typically only require a CV – job advertisements don’t usually contain selection criteria – and being Catholic isn’t a prerequisite.

‘You don’t need to be Catholic to teach in a Catholic school and you don’t need to have attended a Catholic university,’ he says. ‘However, within five years of working in a Catholic school you need to obtain accreditation to teach in a Catholic school.’

In the independent system, jobs are advertised on individual school websites or employment platforms like SEEK.

One thing that’s consistent across schools in all three systems is a desire to recruit teachers who are genuinely interested in the school’s ethos.

‘It’s important to customise your application because schools don’t want applications that look like they have been sent to 90 schools,’ Dr Thomas says. ‘They want you to understand their school, that you know what it means to be a part of the school community and that you are genuinely interested in taking your place as an ongoing member of the school. They are looking for evidence that you know their school.’

Ready to embark on your teaching career? Learn about Deakin’s education courses.