Transitioning to teaching mid-career

Considering a career change to teaching? This fact sheet will cover all the questions you might have as you contemplate your move into this exciting profession.


Teaching is a rewarding career and a profession that people enter at all different stages of their lives.

In order to become a teacher in Australia, the first thing you need to do is to undertake an accredited initial teacher education (ITE) program.

Below are some questions you may ask as you begin to explore the fulfilling pathway into teaching.

“Teaching was something I had always wanted to do. I enjoyed mentoring and relationship building in my previous work, and so I wanted to build on these skills and work and learn from a range of colleagues.”

–Current Secondary Teacher, 2023


“I was enthusiastic to work with young people and embark on an active, purposeful and meaningful career along with colleagues who aligned with my passion for education and change making.”

–Current Pre-Service Primary Teacher, 2023

Be sure that you have the passion and drive for teaching – it is a multifaceted and challenging job.
Pre-Service Primary Teacher, 2023

What age group of students do I want to work with?

Before choosing your course, it is important to think about what age of students you are interested in teaching.

Most initial teacher education courses specialise in either Early Childhood (birth to 5 years old), Primary (5–12 years old) or Secondary (11–18 years old). Some institutions offer combined programs that allow you to teach across multiple age ranges.

Why not take a look at these AITSL video resources to get a feel for each of different classroom settings:

Early Childhood – Embracing food, culture, and community

Primary – Creating Routines

Secondary – In the Classroom: Differentiation

It is a great career choice that allows you to have a lasting impact on your community. Go in with the mindset that teaching will be a regular 38-hour work week that happens to have 25 hours of contact with kids. This will set you up for a realistic expectation.
Early Childhood and Primary Teacher, 2023

What study or program do I need to complete to become a teacher?

There are a range of qualifications and programs that can make you eligible to register as a teacher. These are known as initial teacher education (ITE) programs. Two of the most common qualifications are:

  1. A 4-year teaching degree, often called a Bachelor of Education.
  2. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you can complete a Master of Teaching, sometimes referred to as an MTeach. A full-time Master of Teaching usually takes 2 years, but there are some accelerated courses.

For more information, see out Navigating initial teacher education (ITE) programs and providers page.

If you have come from another career, be prepared to no longer be an expert, at least for the first couple of years. But know that your skills, knowledge and experience will be helpful in ways you can’t yet imagine.
Secondary Teacher, 2023
Teaching is a multi-disciplinary career, drawing from the disciplines of education theory, socio-cultural theory, psychology, cognitive theory, childhood development, linguistics and philosophy.
Pre-Service Primary Teacher, 2023

Remuneration negotiations will depend on your jurisdiction and your schooling context (public, independent or Catholic school).

What are the possibilities for career progression in teaching?

As you progress in your career, in some jurisdictions and schooling sectors, you can go through the process to become an accredited Highly Accomplished or Lead teacher (HALT). Once accredited, you may be eligible for specific remuneration benefits. You can learn more about which jurisdictions and sectors you can be accredited in on our HALT accreditation page.

Leadership roles including Head of Department, Assistant Principal and Principal usually provide extra remuneration.