Considering a career in teaching?

Second-level teaching is a dynamic, challenging and rewarding job. Read on to find out how to get started in your teaching career 

Qualification and training

To become a second-level teacher, you must hold a suitable primary degree and a suitable teacher education qualification.

Your degree must be adequate to enable you to teach at least one curriculum subject to Leaving Certificate level and must comprise three years full-time study or the equivalent. The Teaching Council website provides a complete listing of all degree programmes which meet the qualification requirements for second-level teaching - check it out to make sure your undergraduate degree meets the requirements.

Suitable teacher education qualifications must comprise at least one year of full-time study or the equivalent. The most common teacher-training qualification is the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (previously the Higher Diploma in Education).

There are also four-year teacher training programmes which combine the study of education with the study of an academic specialist area. For the most part, these programmes are in the sciences, technological education, physical education, art and design, music, mathematics, religious education and home economics.

Have a look on to find the best course for you and consult the individual course websites to find out how to apply.

Before you undertake any course of study, you should check with the Teaching Council to make sure it is suitable and that your prior qualifications will be recognised for teaching.

New title for PGDE

The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, following discussions with the Irish universities, has announced that the PGDE will now be renamed as the Professional Diploma in Education – PDE. This qualification will be placed at Level 8 of the National Qualifications Framework. The Teaching Council has clarified that the change of title and designation as a Level 8 qualification will have no bearing on the Council’s professional accreditation of such programmes for the purposes of registration with the Council.  NFQ placement relates to academic accreditation only.


Teacher registration

Once you are qualified, if you intend to take up a teaching position, you must register with the Teaching Council. The Teaching Council will determine the suitability of your qualifications to teach subjects in the second level curriculum. Full information is provided on the Council’s website.

Getting a teaching job

The number of teaching appointments in a school is linked to the number of students attending the school. Currently for every 19 students, the school is allocated one teaching position. Schools can also apply for confessionary teaching hours, depending on their individual needs.

Publicly funded teaching posts are advertised on The recruitment of teachers is a matter for the school’s Board of Management or, in the case of vocational schools, the Vocational Education Committee (VEC).

Unfortunately, most newly qualified teachers do not initially find permanent or full-time jobs. Instead many are employed on a non-permanent or part-time basis – commonly they will cover temporarily for teachers on leave or teach a number of hours each week. Click here to find out more about the different contracts on offer.

Teachers’ salary

Teachers are paid based on a common basic incremental salary scale. A range of allowances may also be payable. For example, you may also receive an allowance for your degree and your PDE qualifications. Click here for more information on salary scales and pay.


All students follow the prescribed curriculum at junior and senior cycle. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is the statutory agency responsible for developing curriculum. The NCCA website provides important information on ongoing changes in the subject content, learning aims, assessment for learning and teaching guidelines. Have a look on the website to keep yourself informed of changes in the learning culture in schools.

Click here for an ASTI information leaflet on becoming a second-level teacher.

For more, see the teaching section of the ASTI website.

Detailed information on the suitability of current or future qualifications for teaching is available from the Teaching Council.