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Careers in teaching and education

Graduate careers in teaching and education: getting a job, applications, working life and salaries.

How to get a job in teaching and education

In Ireland, teaching posts are advertised most frequently in the Independent (Thursday/Sunday editions). VEC websites carry advertisements for their schools. Direct application to schools can be an important means of securing an appointment.

In Northern Ireland, vacancies are advertised in the local press – The Belfast Telegraph (Tuesday/Friday), The Irish News (Thursday) and the News Letter (Thursday).

An online regional database, the Northern Ireland Substitute Teacher Register, consists of qualified teachers who provide substitute (supply) cover for schools throughout Northern Ireland. Registration is free.

The application process

Usually positions are advertised in the national press and CVs are sent directly to schools. It is usual to include the details of your referees for teaching applications.

When to apply

Traditionally, new teaching posts are most numerous around August but positions may become available at all times of the year. It is advisable to start applying before you finish your teaching qualification. In the Republic of Ireland you will need to register with The Teaching Council before you can take up a job.

Qualifications and skills necessary to work in teaching and education

To take up a career in education, you should enjoy communicating and have a genuine interest in helping people to develop their potential at a range of different levels. Other important qualities include creativity, organisational skills, flexibility, the ability to work in a team and, depending on the area you work in, an enthusiasm for and in-depth knowledge of a specific subject. If you are passionate about a particular subject, teaching could be an excellent choice for you.

Entry requirements vary according to the specific area of education and country worked in, but most roles require some kind of specialist training. The majority of teachers in schools need a recognised basic teaching qualification, which can be taken at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Entry requirements in the Republic of Ireland

As of September 2014 the Professional Masters in Education (PME), a two-year full time course, replacing the one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDE), is required for posts in secondary-level schools. There are a number of restrictions to note; your primary degree must be recognised by the teaching council for the purposes of registration as a secondary school teacher. The list of degrees acceptable is listed on the Teaching Council website
. The Bachelor of Education degree, or alternatively the Graduate Diploma in Education, is required for posts in primary-level schools.

Entry requirements in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland it is compulsory for all who graduated after 1973 to have a teacher training qualification in order to gain a permanent teaching post in primary or secondary schools. The options are secondary school PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and primary school PGCE. A teaching qualification is not mandatory for appointment to posts in further education. However, new entrants to full-time permanent teaching or associate lecturer posts in further education who do not already possess a Bachelor of Education Degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education will need to pass the Postgraduate Certificate in Further and Higher Education PGC (FHE) awarded by the University of Ulster. Application forms are available from University of Ulster, Coleraine.

Opportunities for professional development

There are numerous options for professional development. These include research opportunities, special needs training, programme co-ordinator posts and technical training options to name a few. Some professional development can be carried out within the employer institution, while more involve study in various colleges and training centres.

Salaries

Starting salaries differ widely between different areas of education, but prospects for promotion in all fields are good. According to the The Department of Education and Skills Pay Scale (2011), the starting salary for primary and post-primary teachers in Ireland, appointed to their position after 2011 is €27,814. In Northern Ireland the starting salary is £21,102. Lecturers in third-level education begin somewhere between €36,230 and €51,104 or £22,362 to £32,421 in Northern Ireland.

Adult education is such a varied field that it is difficult to sum up career paths and salary details. To give some examples, in Ireland the starting salary for an adult literacy organiser or community education facilitator would be €37,327 and for an adult education organiser €42,027. Educational psychologists can earn between €36,026 and €39,899 or £29,000 to £42,000 depending upon experience.

Post-primary teachers can obtain additional income by becoming involved in supervision of state examinations as well as working as examiners for practical and oral examinations each year. However, with the Junior Cert soon to be phased out and replaced with a school based model of assessment, the opportunity to earn additional income by supervising the Junior Cert examinations will no longer exist.

Working life

As well as classroom time, a school teacher is also expected to spend additional time outside of the standard working day for preparing teaching materials and marking assignments submitted by pupils, as well as attendance at parent-teacher meetings.

Working with children can be challenging and yet extremely rewarding. School teaching is extremely intensive requiring constant concentration as well as immense creativity and energy. Teachers will often become involved in extra-curricular activities such as school trips, various sporting activities, school concerts and musicals.

Further information

Department of Education and Science
Click on ‘Education Personnel' for useful information for teachers.

Department of Education (Northern Ireland): Teachers section

The Teaching Council

General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland