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How to become a high school teacher

Find out how to become a high school teacher including the qualifications you need and where to find an accredited teaching degree in NSW.

What do high school teachers do?

High school teachers teach students from Year 7 to Year 12.  High school teachers may teach one or more subjects from the secondary school curriculum. The wide range of subjects taught are grouped into the following Key Learning Areas (KLAs):

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Human Society and its Environment
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Technological and Applied Studies
  • Languages
  • Creative Arts.

What qualifications do you need to be a high school teacher in NSW?

You need to have completed at least 4 years of study at a recognised university or higher education institution.

Most students who want to be a teacher will either:

  • Complete an accredited 4 year teaching degree, including the required amount of study in the subject/s you intend to teach.  Appropriate degrees include a Bachelor of Education (Secondary), or a combined or double degree such as a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
  • Complete an undergraduate degree (such as a Bachelor of Arts or Science) and then complete an accredited graduate entry teaching degree such as a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary).

How do you get into a teaching degree?

Future teachers will need to meet increased academic standards to study an accredited undergraduate teaching degree in NSW.

From 2016, a minimum standard of three Band 5 HSC results, including one in English, applies to undertaking an accredited undergraduate teaching degree.

To study teaching you will need to:

1.        achieve at least three Band 5 HSC results, including one in English OR

2.        pass bridging units benchmarked to a Band 5 HSC result OR

3.        enrol in an accredited double degree and pass a full year of academic studies in the subjects you will teach OR

4.        complete a BOSTES approved alternative entry pathway as advised by your prospective university.

Read the new prerequisites for studying teaching

How do you get into a postgraduate secondary teaching degree?

Your undergraduate (or any postgraduate) degree/s must contain a major in the first subject you intend to teach and a minor in any additional subjects you would like to teach.

A major is defined as six sequential semester-long units of undergraduate study. At least four of these units must be at level 2 (year 2) or above.

A minor is defined as four semester long units of undergraduate study. At least two of these units must be at level 2 (year 2) or above.

Your prospective university will assess to what extent the studies in your undergraduate degree meet the BOSTES content requirements for teaching particular secondary school subjects. BOSTES does not provide this assessment.

You should note that some secondary school subjects have very specific requirements. For example, to be a science teacher you need to have studied chemistry or physics at university level, and to be a PDHPE teacher you need to have studied both practical sports and contemporary adolescent health issues at university level.

Review the BOSTES requirements for teaching (PDF 125KB)

What accredited teaching degrees are available in NSW?

BOSTES supports the education of quality teachers by accrediting teaching degrees offered by universities and higher education institutions in  NSW. You can download a list of accredited teaching degrees in NSW.

Accredited teaching degrees in NSW

Which degree should I choose?

Spend some time researching which university or higher education provider, and which degree’s course structure best suits your personal needs. For example, some universities may be better set up to support distance education students and this may be an important consideration for you. Read tips for choosing a teaching degree.

If you are considering studying interstate, check that the teaching degree you are seeking to enrol in is accredited by that state’s teacher registration body. See teaching interstate