Are you a teacher who is looking for an adventure in one of the most beautiful and spectacular travel destinations in the world? Don't have the financial means to go on vacation to the fascinatingly exotic corners of the planet? Teaching in Australia can be the ultimate solution for the adventurous spirit inside of you! Combine work and play to get the ultimate experience of a lifetime: teach and get paid while living abroad in Australia.
If you’re looking for a mild, Mediterranean-esque climate, an affordable yet cosmopolitan city, and want to experience some of the world’s most livable cities, consider heading down to Adelaide, in Southern Australia. With a host of both indoor and outdoor jobs that can be combined with a relaxing lifestyle, Adelaide is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a short stint or long-term residence as a teacher.
American citizens are eligible to apply for a subclass 462 visa, allowing for up to 12 months of paid work in Australia (see our guide on working visa holidays guide on working visa holidays for more details).
If you’re looking for a higher paying job, and have the proper qualifications, you may want to consider teaching in Adelaide! It’s not the easiest job to land as the majority of positions are given to residents with teaching lessons, but there are certainly positions where you can get paid to teach!
Rated as the world’s most livable city, Melbourne is an ideal destination for travelers who want to experience more than just the typical vacation in Australia by teaching abroad there.
The most common jobs for travelers working in Australia are hospitality ones (bars, restaurants, cafes etc.), but if you’re looking for a higher paying job, enjoy working with kids and teens, and have the proper qualifications, you may want to consider teaching in Melbourne!
Whether you’re looking to work on a working holiday visa (available to travelers aged 18 - 31), a teacher exchange, or you’ve scored a work visa in Australia and are looking to stick around and never go home, there are plenty of opportunities to teach in Melbourne. It’s not the easiest job to land, but not impossible either.
Perth is a remote gem on the southwest coast of Australia nestled in the largest state in Australia: Western Australia. The indigenous people native to this region call it Allunga, or “sun-drenched place.” As the capital of Western Australia, Perth is, in fact, the sunniest capital city in the world enjoying on average eight hours of sun each and every day.
Generally travelers from overseas find farm jobs in rural areas such as the Margaret River Wine Region where they harvest grapes and other fruit or driving haul pack trucks in the mining regions, but there are also plenty of jobs in the city of Perth. And the good news is that teachers are in demand and the industry is expected to grow in the coming years.
While many people consider teaching abroad as a career move, not everyone thinks about doing so in an English-speaking country – and even fewer have a major city on their list. But Sydney, Australia has a wide range of opportunities for foreign teachers to join their community of educators, providing New South Wales students with a wide range of influences during the course of their primary and secondary education.
It is common for teachers from the United States and other countries to go to Australia on a one year teaching exchange. Some exchange programs are offered through colleges, universities, private gap year or study abroad companies, while others are state or government- run programs. Once in Australia, foreign teachers can teach at either public or private schools depending on the program you chose, your preference, and the availability of teaching jobs.
Government-sponsored programs (in the U.S.)
The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program is run through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This program offers a one-to-one exchange of teachers from primary and secondary schools between the United States and countries abroad. Participants must hold (at minimum) a Bachelor's degree and be a current full-time teacher. More information on the program can be found on their website.
Universities and Private Language Academies
Some teaching exchange programs are offered through universities or private companies. The Colorado International Teachers' Exchange League offers the opportunity to exchange with a teacher or educator in Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. This program is available to full-time employed elementary and secondary teachers, school executives, and specialist educators (librarians, school counselors, etc.) with at least 5 years of experience.
Another way to find a teaching job in Australia is by going directly to the source. Australian education requirements differ by state so check out each state's education website for job postings. This is also a great way to search for jobs if you want to be more selective where in the country you want to teach. See "When and Where to Look for Jobs" (the section below) for links to each state's education website!
For teachers who may prefer to work at private schools, Australia has hundreds of private schools both religiously affiliated and non-denominational. For information and job listings on private schools in Australia, check out this website.
Where and When to Look for Jobs:
Typically the best time to look for jobs in Australia is in September or October. Australian schools begin in January so be sure to begin looking a few months before the school year is scheduled to start. The best place to look for public school teaching jobs in Australia is on each individual state's education website. Australia is a big country, so you might want to choose a location first!
There are 6 states and 2 territories in Australia. Links to each state's education website can be found at:
- New South Whales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
Most jobs in Australia will require that you have some teaching experience before hiring you. Depending on where and what you want to teach, you may also need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) certification. English is the official language in Australia but like in the United States, some schools may have ESL (English as a Second Language) students, so check with the school or program you wish to teach with for more specific qualifications. Courses and more information about TEFL/TESOL certifications can be found at TEFL Online.
Salary & Cost of Living:
The yearly salary for a first year teacher is around $57,500 USD. This comes out to about $4,700 a month. Principals, deputy principals, and heads of faculties can get up to $150,000. Utilities and food will be about the same in Australia as they are in the United States. Your biggest cost will be airfare and traveling while you are abroad, so remember to factor that into your budget. Airfare to Australia can cost you over $2000 per person!
When looking at apartments, prices are often listed per week so make sure to double check this before assuming that you are getting a good deal on housing. Also, note that many apartments may ask that you pay in advance (usually about 2 weeks before moving in).
Teachers may find the following websites useful when looking for housing in Australia:
Classroom & Work Culture:
Nearly all students in Australia have to wear school uniforms regardless of whether they are in public or private school. Also, it is not uncommon for high school students to call the teacher by his/her first name, but ultimately the teacher can decide what he or she would like to be called. The hours students spend in school are typically the same in the U.S. and Australia: around 8:45am until 3:00pm.
- Student-teacher relations: Students are expected to respect their teachers in Australia just as they would be in America. Ultimately, the teacher is the authority in the classroom and students should respect that you are their teacher, not their friend.
- Dress code: Typically, anything you would wear to teach in the U.S. is also acceptable to wear in Australia. Women should refrain from wearing skirts of dresses that go above the top of the knee. Men should wear nice slacks with button-down shirt or polo. Be sure to check with the school where you intend to work for specific dress code requirements.
- Greetings: There are no specific greetings for when you meet the students. It is typically polite to greet school administrators with a handshake when meeting them for the first time.
More Helpful Links:
- Australia Department of Education website
- Helpful Tips before Traveling Abroad
- Australian Government Visa and Immigration Information
Relocating to a different country can be scary and stressful but in the end, it will likely be an immensely rewarding experience. Some teachers enjoy their experience so much that they end up moving to Australia! Teaching in Australia, you may find that you will quickly fall in love with the land of beaches, kangaroos, and koala bears.