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. Below, we take a look at the Sydney school system and its opportunities in detail.

Government Sponsored Programs:

The Teach Aussie program in New South Wales (NSW) is for qualified teachers with working holiday visas. They are placed in “casual teaching” positions in NSW public schools, including Sydney. Casual.Direct matches up a teacher's qualifications with vacancies in public schools in their chosen area.

Private Language Academies/Schools:

Within the NSW school system, in addition to public schools there are Catholic schools, Grammar schools, and Selective schools at the high school level. Job websites for educators have information on all available job positions, including Seek, Jobseeker, and My Career. Teachers.on.net also has vacancies posted specifically by the Catholic Education Office of Sydney.

International Schools:

There are a number of international schools in the Sydney schools district - including St. Paul's, an Interdenominational Christian school, and Redlands, on Sydney's North Shore. You can apply directly to each school.

Public Schools:

The best way to try for a job in a Sydney school is to meet the requirements listed in this guide, and then apply directly. There are 932 schools in the four administrative areas of Sydney, which is part of the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities.

As for teaching programs, there is one, albeit only for a specific group. CITEL, the Colorado International Teachers' Exchange League, allows educators from the U.S. State of Colorado to participate in an exchange program with educators from throughout Australia, including NSW. Eligibility and application information is available on Colorado Teacher Exchange.

The NSW government also has a program called Beyond the Bridge, which places teacher education students at NSW universities into schools in western and south western Sydney. It's another specific requirement, but if you are eligible, it can be a good way to get into the system.

Private Schools:

While you can advertise locally as a private tutor, it's best to apply with an organization like Tutoring for Excellence. They have a high demand for tutors in the Sydney area, particularly in the suburbs, and you'll find a job easier and not have to worry about working off the books.

When and Where to Look for Jobs:

Australia Teachers is an online placement service that lets you search teaching jobs by employer and location. Positions include K-12 and post secondary schools. You need to already be a registered teacher in NSW.

The Association for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ATESOL) is a NSWbased organization that conducts expert professional development programs for ESL, EFL and EAL/D teachers in NSW. They are a great resource for training, accreditation, and job opportunities. The Association for The Teaching of English (ACTATE) is another resource for job opportunities recommended by the Australian government.

As far as networking goes, the William Light Institute offers a Teach in Australia Programme that teaches teachers (with at least 45 days of teaching experience) about the Australian education system with a view towards working in it upon completion of the program. You work with Australian teachers in Australian schools, which gives you an edge when it comes time to be hired.

Private Schools Guide has an area for job seekers where you can post your resume and have private message exchanges with employers. The site is organized by location, with Sydney schools having its own category.


Each state in Australia has its own specific registration and accreditation requirements; Sydney is located in New South Wales (NSW). All info should be double-checked with the Australian Embassy in your country. In NSW there are two different application routes for employment as a teacher: The “Graduate Recruitment Program” for applicants who are currently completing their final two semesters of teacher training in a NSW or ACT tertiary institution, at La Trobe University, Wodonga Campus VIC, or at Griffith University; and “Qualified Teachers” for applicants with appropriate qualifications (either trained within Australia or overseas) who do not meet the requirements for the Graduate Recruitment Program. You can log in and apply directly.

As far as qualifying to teach in Australia, you can go through the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) which is an “assessing authority under the Migration Regulations 1994 for the purposes of skilled migration to Australia as a pre-primary, primary or secondary school teacher.” This is also known as Teaching Australia's Comparability Education Assessment.

For teaching English to speakers of other languages, you need to go through the Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS) to be accredited. You also need a bachelor degree or higher, and/or at least five years of relevant experience.

Salary & Cost of Living:

At a yearly salary of US$60,960, your monthly take-home is about $5,080. Tutors earn hourly wages, ranging from $30-110 depending on subject and service type. Teachers are responsible for finding their own housing, although there are many in-house networks and other resources such as Craigslist to find housing. As for how much you can expect to spend, a one-bedroom outside the city center costs about $1,600 a month, with utilities running about $225; monthly transportation costs about $110; a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant is about $80.

Classroom & Work Culture:

The school year is divided into four terms that start in late January and ends before Christmas. So, from Term 4 to Term 1 of the following year there is a five-week break; the other terms have two-week holidays. The school day is from 9am – 3:30pm, Monday through Friday.

  • Student/Teacher Relations: There is no great difference between student-teacher relations in Australia and other English-language countries like the US and UK.
  • Dress Code: Teachers should dress corporate-casual, leaning towards conservative (no short skirts for women, no jeans for men).
  • Greetings: Students call their teachers and administrators by their salutation and last name (that is, Mr Smith or Ms Jones); there is no physical greeting necessary.
Contributed by David Wright


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