G’day! In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s how they say ‘hello’ in Brisbane, Australia. As a bustling, urban metropolis on the coast of Queensland, Brisbane isn't necessarily your typical teach abroad destination -- but that doesn't mean it's not full of opportunities! So if you’ve already got your bags packed and are ready to head to the land down under, read on to find out all the details you need to teach down under in Brisbane.

Private Language Schools:

Some private companies offer teaching contracts through their companies. Armed with TEFL degree, you should be able to get a job at the growing number of language training centers, which caters to exchange students and new immigrants. You will most likely be teaching teens and adults. Starting salary is about $16 USD an hour for someone starting out and up to $30 per hour for highly experienced individuals.

Teaching Exchange Programs:

Especially if you want to teach in Australia not as an ESL teacher, but another subject, Australia has programs for American teachers to participate in a one year professional exchange. These programs help with setting up visas and setting up in a new countries. Types of school varies, depending on availability. There are different types of programs, and a popular place to look for them is through universities. Some programs, like The Colorado International Teacher’s Exchange, have restrictions, such as full-time employment as a teacher, administrator or specialist for at least 5 years.

There are also government sponsored programs, like NSW government program, where teachers can do a teaching exchange, as long as you are a current full time teacher with a Bachelor’s degree.

Private Schools:

Brisbane has a few private schools, some religiously affiliated. There are many recruitment agencies that can help you apply for these jobs if you prefer not to go through the application process yourself. Two that have pretty good reputations are Smart Teachers and Protocol Education.

When and Where to Look For Jobs:

Normally, the best time to look for jobs is from September to October, when administrators are looking to cover for positions for the next school year (which starts in January). Checking out the Queensland state education website will help you find openings for public schools. You will need to fill out an application and prove you are registered with the state.

Private schools and language centers aren’t as regulated so they vary in their application processes. You can look through the local Sunday papers, where they post job ads. Many have opted to go through recruitment agencies to help them narrow down candidates. If you choose to sign on with a recruitment agency, they typically don’t charge you any fees, and will ask that you come in to a in-person interview with them first.


Teaching in Brisbane is quite competitive, as many people want to stay in the city, so close to the Gold Coast. Because of this, many schools require that teachers have at least a Bachelor’s degree, some sort of teaching degree, and at least a few years of experience. Public schools and private schools tend to be stricter about this, including teacher exchanges.

If you are a teaching in a private language center, sometimes all you need is a TEFL certificate plus a Bachelor’s degree. Check with the places you are applying to confirm what kind of qualifications you specifically need.

Salary & Cost of Living:

According to payscale, the average salary of an ESL teacher in Australia can range from $30,339 to $74,855 per year. Tutors earn hourly wages, ranging from $30-110 depending on subject and service type. Cost of living is pretty comparable to cities in the US, with public transportation ranging from $100-$200 per month, and rent up to $2000 a house. Keep in mind that rent is quoted per week, do see how much that adds up to per month.

Classroom and Work Culture:

A typical school day starts around 8:30 to 3:30 pm. Their holidays are a bit different, because in the southern hemisphere, June is the winter holidays, and December to January is their summer holidays.

Most aspects of teaching in Brisbane are fairly similar to schools in the US, with the exception of uniforms. Most, if not all school require their students to wear uniforms, even in public school.

As with student teacher relationships, the teacher is still considered the authority and students need to respect that. Students might call teachers by the first name, but most teachers prefer having their students referring to them by their last name.

Teacher dress code is also similar to ones in the US. Whatever is considered acceptable in the US is also considered acceptable in Australia. Men should wear nice trousers with a polo or a button down shirt. Women should avoid wearing skirts that hit above the knee. Double check with the school you will work for to inquire about their specific dress codes.

Contributed by Sarah Li Cain


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