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Teaching English in Australia

The Job Market

Once you have your CELTA qualification, you are ready to put all that hard work into practise and start earning! Australia is the ideal place to put your new skills into practise and pursue your teaching career, with its booming TESOL industry and relaxed culture making settling in easy.

Whether you’re looking for part time work, so you can take your time exploring the rugged Outback, go surfing or visit Kangaroo Island; or you want to work more hours so you can save money while enjoying the many local attractions, multicultural Australia offers many job opportunities to teach English.

Types of Job

In Australia there are a variety of teaching opportunities which cater for different lifestyles, expertise and interests. These include casual, temporary, permanent and contract-based positions. Casual (relief) teachers can be called on a daily basis to fill in positions as required by employers and is ideal for people who want to work while they travel.

Short-term contracts range from one week to a full academic year. Most permanent teaching jobs are full time. Australia’s TESOL industry is divided into the Private and Public State sectors, with employment opportunities in both.

i. The Private sector

Teachers are employed to deliver ELICOS programs in nearly 200 language schools, which are designed for students who come from overseas to study English. There are also employment opportunities in many of the hundreds of religious and non-affiliated multicultural private schools, community centers and as personal tutors in students’ own homes.

ii. The State sector

This consists of courses run for Australian residents from non-English speaking backgrounds. A large proportion of students are from Asian, South American and European backgrounds. Positions are available in multicultural state-run schools, which usually operate for 4 or 5 days a week from 9am to 3pm and many offer evening classes.

iii. Universities and Colleges

Universities and colleges employ experienced and qualified TESOL teachers. Most colleges don’t offer contracts and the majority of recruits are relief workers who are offered more permanent positions after about 2 years. The shortage of permanent jobs means that casual teachers are high in demand and the pay is much better.

If you don’t want to give up your teaching position in your home country, but would still like to work overseas, then one year teaching exchange positions are an option through some colleges, universities and Study Abroad companies. For example, the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program runs through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Also, the Colorado International Teachers’ Exchange League and Commonwealth Teacher Exchange Programme facilitate exchanging of teachers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK. Applicants must have 5 years of teaching experience and work full time as primary or secondary teachers, school executives or specialist educators such as librarians.

How Likely Is It I’m Going To Get a Job?

The chances of getting a job in Australia are very high, in smaller schools in rural Australia and coastal towns to much larger schools in major cities. The recruitment of TESOL teachers has risen very rapidly over the past 5 years and with the increased emphasis on learning English by migrant communities in recent times, the trend is expected to continue for many more years. This means that your prospects of finding work in Australia are at an all time high, especially if you have a CELTA or other TEFL qualification. The top regions for employment are in major cities, like Sydney and Melbourne and particularly in the state of New South Wales followed by Victoria and then Queensland.

Qualifications Required

Each state and territory in Australia governs its own education system, with its own requirements for public school positions. Employers differ from place to place on their qualification requirements so you will need to check each one individually. Higher education institutions require a university or college teaching qualification (BEd or PGCE) as well as a TESOL certification such as a CELTA. The higher your qualifications the better your chances of being recruited. Applicants usually also have to undergo a criminal record check.

Finding A Job

The academic year in Australia begins in late January, so it is best to look out for vacancies in September or October, although many teaching positions are available throughout the year. You can apply for jobs directly or register with an education recruitment agency. Many vacancies are also found in newspapers. The Department of Education and Training government websites for each of the 6 Australian states and 2 territories contain useful information and job vacancies in public schools.

Government websites:

Other helpful websites include:

Education recruitment agencies:

Pre-travel Arrangements

Visa Requirements

If you want to stay in Australia for the duration of the course only, you can obtain a Student visa. It is usually issued for one month longer than the course.

If you want to stay on in Australia and work after your CELTA course, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa if you are aged between 18 and 30, have no dependent children and have at least 6 months until your passport needs renewing. You can do casual or temporary work for up to 6 months per employer and you can stay for 12 months from the date that you first enter Australia. You can extend your visa for another year if you do 6-8 hours daily of specified work in certain areas for 3 months. Travellers from the US are not eligible for the Working Holiday Visa and must apply for the Australian Work and Holiday 462 Visa instead.

You can apply for a Skilled Nominated 190 visa, a skilled Regional Nominated 489 visa or a number of employer sponsored visa options if you have a firm offer of employment. TESOL is listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL).

The Australian Subclass 457 Work Visa allows Australian and overseas employers to sponsor an immigrant worker to enter Australia for up to 4 years to engage in skilled work. The visa holder's family members can also gain entry to Australia, and may work and/or study during their stay.

More information is available on the Department of Immigration and Border protection website (http://www.border.gov.au)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

A valid health cover policy is a not a requirement for entry to Australia on the Working Holiday Visa, but it is a requirement for the Student visa.

Read more here. (https://www.oshcallianzassistance.com.au/default.aspx)


Wages depend on the state or territory you work in, the position itself and your amount of teaching experience. Casual teachers can earn $220-$290 daily with 3-4 years of teaching experience or $95-$120 daily with less experience. The average working week for a full time ESOL teacher is around 38 hours and salaries range from $25 to $45 an hour, with a starting annual salary of $33,000-$45,000 to a senior salary of $55,000-70,000.


For those staying in Australia after the course to teach, a variety of accommodation options are available. The cheapest are shared rental, homestay without services, hostels and guesthouses. More expensive options are homestays with meals and extras like cleaning included and rented apartments.

The Official Study in Australia Guideline (http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au) gives accommodation costs as $70-$700 per week.

Average weekly costs are:

  • Hostels and Guesthouses $90-$150 per week
  • Shared Rental (usually with 4 weeks deposit and 4 weeks rent payable in advance) $85-$215
  • Homestay (a single room and meals, living with a family) $235-$325
  • Rental $165-$440

Living Costs

Although the cost of living is fairly high, teachers generally earn more than enough to cover their living expenses and you can expect to save comfortably, whether towards your dream house or your next trip overseas! A single person can expect to spend an annual $19,830 on living expenses. Typical figures of weekly expenditure are:

  • Groceries and eating out $80-$280
  • Gas and electricity $35-$140
  • Phone and internet $20-$55
  • Public transport (buses, trains, trams) $15-$55
  • Car (after purchase) $150-$260
  • Entertainment $80-$150

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