Education and Training

The education sector in Australia is made up of a diverse range of institutions, including higher education/tertiary; schools; vocational education and training (VET) colleges; private and industry-based education and training organisations; and adult community education (ACE). People working in the sector often move over from other industries and vice versa.

The work

The main occupation pathways in the education industry are primary and secondary school teachers, education aides and/or special education teachers and university lecturers and tutors. In 2009 there were 790,400 people employed in the education sector, with an additional 101,000 new jobs projected in the five years to 2014. Employment growth in the industry is influenced by a range of factors, such as the number of school-age children in the population, school retention rates and government policy.

A skills shortage is inevitable in the coming decade, as 30.3 per cent of workers in 2009 are aged 45–54 years. The likely result of increased retirement rates is a strong demand for new teaching graduates, particularly in degree areas where there are already shortages, such as science and mathematics. There is a range of government initiatives at both the federal and state level to attract science and mathematics graduates into teaching, such as awards, scholarships and HECS assistance.

The shift to a knowledge-based economy is creating surging demand for adult education and training. With ‘lifelong learning’ now a common mantra, much growth is expected to occur in online learning.

  • School teaching: Bachelor degree in education from a tertiary institution or a relevant bachelor degree and a diploma of teaching
  • Special education: Teaching degree specialising in special education, or a one-year postgraduate qualification
  • VET or ACE: Formal teacher training and work experience in a given industry
  • Higher education/Tertiary: High level of academic performance at undergraduate level, postgraduate degree qualifications and capability of in depth research

(This profile also appears in GCA’s annual Graduate Opportunities directory. GCA would like to thank the NSW Dept of Education and Training for assisting with this profile. For more information, visit; all figures courtesy of

What you need

  • Variety of general skills/aptitudes with specific competencies required for particular sectors
  • Creativity, energy, flexibility and patience
  • Organisational and administrative skills
  • A good understanding of your subject areas
  • Sound interpersonal and communication skills

Graduate salary ranges for selected relevant occupations are as follows:

  • Teachers: Early childhood (pre-primary): $38,000–$48,000
  • Primary school: $46,000–$50,000
  • Secondary school: $46,000–$50,500
  • Special education: $46,000–$52,000
  • Education advisor/reviewer: $44,800–$59,000

(Figures taken from from the Australian Graduate Survey 2008, GCA. Ranges refer to the middle 50 per cent of salaries for bachelor degree graduates with permanent residency, in full-time employment in Australia October 2007 to April 2008.)

Industry at a glance

  • 790,400 employed in sector, 2009
  • 26% employment growth, 2000–09
  • Positive outlook (101,000 projected new jobs, 2010–14)