Thinking about switching lanes and changing careers to teaching? Teaching is a rewarding profession that allows you to directly influence future generations. If you’ve felt unfulfilled in your current career and enjoy working with young people, a career change to teaching may be a good fit for you. And, in 2022, Australia needs more teachers.
Although new teachers are joining the workforce every year, the demand for teachers is still greater than supply, especially in rural and growing metropolitan areas. While the outlook for teachers is bright and transitioning might seem like a no-brainer, you need to prepare to make sure:
- Teaching is right for you
- The transition goes smoothly
- You can thrive in your teaching career
Regardless of your previous career, follow these six tips to successfully change careers to teaching.
Do your Research to See if Teaching is Right for You
Because a change in careers to teaching will require a considerable investment of time and potentially money, you’ll want to make sure that teaching is right for you. To get you started on your research phase, here are some pros and cons of life as an educator to consider.
Some pros of teaching include:
- Getting to see young people learn and grow
- Connection to the community
- Variety in your work
- Good starting pay
- School holiday periods off (generally)
Possible cons of teaching include:
- Heavy workloads
- Managing difficult parent relationships
- Increasing administrative duties
- Pay that doesn’t necessarily grow in line with experience
To help you make the best decision, take a minute to consider the points above and weigh how important each one is to you. It’s also a good idea to consider what support and skills you have that will help you manage the difficult aspects of teaching. Imagine how teaching will satisfy your career goals, but also how it fits in with your desired lifestyle.
While doing your due diligence is a great place to start when determining whether teaching is for you, it’s a good idea to seek out hands-on experience. You can do this by looking for roles as a:
- Teacher’s Aid / SLSO
Gaining more relevant experience will not only help you decide whether you want to become a teacher but will also build work experience you can include on your teacher CV.
Decide Which Type of Teacher You Want to Be
Once you’ve committed to becoming a teacher, it’s time to narrow down what kind of teacher you’d like to be. Your chosen teacher type determines the requirements you need to meet.
For instance, working as a teacher will require a bachelor’s degree in Education. Depending on your previous studies and work experience, there are fast-tracked pathways to becoming a teacher. Follow the links below to see the options by state:
In addition to the grade levels you want to teach, you should decide on a subject or specialty you’d like to teach based on your interests and existing skills if you are planning on teaching at secondary school. Also, consider that demand for some teacher types is greater than for others. Some of the most in-demand teacher types include:
- Maths teachers
- Science teachers
- Technological and applied science teachers
- Special education teachers
- School counsellors
Earn your teaching qualification
Earning your teaching qualification can take a minimum of two years. Make sure that you can afford living expenses and tuition while you study. Subsidize your career change by:
- Working while you study through programs that offer part-time, flexible, or online study
Complete your other teaching requirements
Once you’ve completed your teaching degree, you have to pass a few more hurdles before getting started in the classroom.
Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students
To ensure that teachers have basic language and maths skills, all teachers are required to pass the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students in the top 30 percent. Exam takers are eligible to sit the exam up to three times. Check your university’s guidelines for what year of study you must sit the test.
Your teacher registration, first granted provisionally, demonstrates that you’ve completed your training and are eligible for employment. After a certain period of teaching days and successful meeting of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Proficient Career Stage, teachers can transition to full registration. Teacher registration fees must be paid annually, and your teacher registration needs to be renewed every five years, with the valid time period of your registration varying by state.
Working with Children Check
To begin work, teachers need to pass a working with children check, which includes a National Police Criminal History check. Check state-specific guidelines for the identification, online form, and fee amount needed to complete the check. Your Working with Children Card (WWCC) is valid for five years.
Apply to teaching positions
Once you have decided which area of education you want to work in and completed the requirements, it’s time to find your dream teaching role. There’s lots of ways to start the job hunt, often differing state-by-state. If you’re looking to keep your options open, one of the best ways to start your search is to create a free Teacher Profile on ClassCover.
On ClassCover you can search and apply for full-time, part-time, and contract roles near you using the ClassCover Jobs platform. And if it’s taking you some time to find the perfect role, you can use the platform to be booked for casual work as a relief teacher in the meantime.
Write a great cover letter and resume
When you apply for teaching roles, you’re going to want to write a cover letter and resume that not only explains why you’re transitioning into teaching but also demonstrates how your developed skills and previous experience make you a desirable candidate.
For example, in your cover letter, you might discuss how your previous career in food technology gave you hands-on experience and makes you well-suited to teaching Technological and Applied Sciences. Or explain how working as a businessperson in your last career will make you comfortable communicating in parent-teacher conferences.
In your resume, you should highlight your transferable skills in both the work experience and skills sections. Transferable skills that apply most for teachers include:
- communication skills
- time management skills
- leadership skills
- writing skills
- problem solving skills
Don’t forget to mention any volunteer work or describe the placements you did during your master’s study that are directly related to teaching.
As a career changer, it’s also common to describe your education in more detail on your resume. You can list the relevant courses and the grades (if good) that you received.
Continue to get support after you land your teaching position
While adjusting to teaching can be challenging for anyone, you may experience unique problems as a career changer. Professionals transitioning into teaching have reported problems like:
- Not knowing what skills from your old profession to use
- People assuming you don’t need support because you’re older or were successful in your last career
- Finding teaching isn’t what you expected
Many schools will provide new teachers — whether career changers or not — a “clinical specialist” or mentor who can give you advice. If your school doesn’t offer this benefit, you can look for informal mentors in other teachers and, if possible, other career-change teachers.
So, there you have it. Like every industry, teaching can be challenging at times and can take some getting used to particularly for those transitioning from other industries. What you will find is that life as a teacher brings an almost unmatched potential for satisfaction and the knowledge that you are helping shape the future generation. Need more info? Check out our resources for teachers on the ClassCover blog.
Claim your free Teacher Profile on ClassCover and kick off your career in education.