Primary School Teacher

Primary School Teacher

Primary School Teachers educate students aged 5-12 years through classroom lessons and educational programs covering a variety of subjects.

Not only are Primary School Teachers responsible for teaching students literacy and numeracy skills, they are also instrumental to the children’s social, emotional and physical growth. The average salary of a Primary School Teacher is $66,994 per annum.

Salary range
Average salary $66,994
salary range
Source: SEEK
Projected job growth
11% by 2020
Employment by region
The top three regions for employment as a Primary School Teacher are:
NSW 33.6%
VIC 24.5%
QLD 20.3%

A day in the life of a Primary School Teache

Key skills required

The top skills for a Primary School Teacher are:
  • Enjoy working with children
  • Creativity
  • Organisational skills
  • Patient in dealing with children of differing abilities
  • Able to communicate simply and clearly
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours
Career pathway planner
Starting out
Starting out

Get qualified to work as a Primary School Teacher with a degree from Swinburne Online.

This online course enables you to work as a teacher Australia wide and features practical work placements so you graduate job-ready, with the right skills.

  • Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Moving up in the industry
Moving up in the industry

Already have an undergraduate bachelor degree under your belt?

Whether you’re looking to move out of the office into the classroom or you're working towards a role as an educational leader, a postgraduate program will provide you with an advanced knowledge of learning theories and practices.

  • Master of Teaching (Primary)

Primary School Teacher job description

What does a Primary School Teacher do?

Primary School Teachers educate children between the ages of 5 and 12 under a prescribed curriculum to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills and foster social, physical and emotional growth. Subject areas within their curriculum include mathematics, English, science, technology, humanities and social science, arts, health and physical education.

As a Primary School Teacher, you’ll use a variety of effective techniques and technologies to engage students with the learning process according to their age, level of ability and individual needs. You will also encourage the intellectual and emotional growth of children including reasoning and problem solving skills, creativity and self-expression.

Primary School Teachers work collaboratively with leadership, specialist and support staff including the school Principal, Special Education Teachers, Guidance Officers, Teacher Librarians and Teacher Aides. If required, Primary School Teachers may also interact with other professionals such as Social Welfare Officers or Disability Officers to assist students who have special needs.

A day in the life of a Primary School Teacher

Daily tasks for a Primary School Teacher

Primary School Teachers perform a range of tasks on a daily basis, which may include:

  • Preparing daily and long-term lesson plans according to curriculum guidelines.
  • Teaching a full range of subject areas.
  • Developing children’s interests, abilities and coordination using a variety of creative activities including art, sport and music.
  • Maintaining productive working habits and discipline in the classroom.
  • Supervising students throughout the day, both in the classroom and outside during breaks.
  • Attending staff meetings and training and development sessions.
  • Assessing and evaluating students’ educational progress and abilities.
  • Setting and conducting testing.
  • Discussing students’ progress with parents and guardians, administrators and other professionals as necessary.
  • Organising, attending and supervising school activities such as excursions, school concerts, camps and sporting events.

To learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need as a Primary School Teacher, read our tips on how to become a Primary School Teacher.

Working hours of a Primary School Teacher

In addition to working regular school hours, Primary School Teachers may also be required to work extended hours in order to plan lessons, attend staff meetings or events, and mark students’ school work. A Primary School Teacher may carry out these tasks in the morning before the school day commences, after teaching hours in the afternoon or evening, on weekends, or a combination of these hours.

Primary School Teachers are not required to work during school holiday periods, in additional to their regular annual leave.

What is the difference between a Primary School Teacher and an Early Childhood Educator?

Primary School Teachers are eligible to teach children between the ages of 5 and 12, or in Year 1 to Years 6 or 7, depending on the state’s school structure. Along with developing students’ literacy and numeracy skills, Primary School Teachers assist with building problem solving and social skills.

Early Childhood Educators (or Early Childhood Teachers) are qualified to develop and implement educational programs for children between the ages of 4 and 8 (or children in Kindergarten or Prep through to Year 3). Early Childhood Educators help young students to develop social skills, creativity and coordination, and an interest in learning. 

Both Primary School Teachers and Early Childhood Educators are required to hold a tertiary teaching qualification. 

How to become a Primary School Teacher

If making a positive impact on a child’s life is a personal passion of yours, a career as a Primary School Teacher may be just what you’re looking for to achieve your dreams. If you want to make your mark as a Primary School Teacher, you’ll need some requisite skills, qualifications and attributes in order to work in the education industry.

A Primary School Teacher is responsible for teaching a range of subjects to children as part of daily lesson plans, including English, science, mathematics and art. Your role as a Primary School Teacher will also involve assessing and evaluating your students’ progress, providing regular updates to parents and administrators, and looking after the development of the children’s interests, abilities and coordination. Read more about the job description of a Primary School Teacher.

What technical and professional skills do I need to become a Primary School Teacher?

To work as a Primary School Teacher in Australia, you will be required to have a Bachelor degree in Primary Education, or a postgraduate degree in Primary Education. A Bachelor degree will provide you with a sound knowledge and understanding of how to engage students, how to best work on their development and the vital role education plays in helping them to mature. 

A postgraduate degree such as the Master of Teaching (Primary) is a good option if you already have a Bachelor qualification in another discipline and you’re looking for a career change into teaching.

Both courses will offer opportunities to work closely with teachers on work placements so you can gain the relevant work experience needed. Work placements give you an opportunity to be exposed to a classroom environment, as well as get a better understanding of a teacher’s day-to-day activities and lesson planning. All students need to have a Working with Children Check before completing any placements. 

Do I need to be registered to work as a Primary School Teacher?

Once you have your teaching qualifications, the next step is securing your teaching registration, which is an important milestone in any teacher’s career.

Dr Sheena O’Hare, Director of Teacher Education Programs at Swinburne Online, recommends speaking to your local teaching authority about what’s involved.

“Students who successfully finish their degree must apply for registration through their state teaching authority in order to be able to teach,” adds Dr O'Hare.  

Each state and territory has their own Teacher Registration Authority and once an application form has been processed, you will be called in for an interview.

Can Primary School Teachers work in childcare?

To work in childcare, you must have a minimum of a Certificate III in early childhood education, such as the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113). This means that, as a Primary School Teacher with a Bachelor degree or higher, you should meet the requirements to work in childcare.

If you are looking to start work in early childhood education in settings such as pre-schools, occasional day care and family day care centres, a Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education are worth considering as starting points.

While you won’t be able to work in a primary school with a Certificate III or Diploma, these courses can help you get an understanding of the childcare industry and find out what suits you before you move on to teaching in primary schools.

Should I become a Primary School Teacher?

There are certain skills and traits that will help you succeed as a Primary School Teacher, including:

  • A friendly and approachable manner
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Exceptional organisational skills
  • Leadership and motivational skills
  • A caring and supportive nature

Not sure whether you have what it takes to become a Primary School Teacher? Find out more about the ideal qualities you’ll need to have to become a Primary School Teacher.  

Should I become a Primary School Teacher?

In order to work as a Primary School Teacher, there are certain qualifications that you will need. But equally important are the soft skills that you possess, which will help you take your teaching career from good to great.

If you’re patient, empathetic and enjoy spending time with young children you’re off to a good start. But you’ll also need strong leadership skills, a firm yet friendly manner and exceptional organisational skills. Your role will not only include teaching children a range of subjects, but helping them to develop their interests, abilities and coordination. Read more about the job description of a Primary School Teacher.

What are the strengths & qualities of a Primary School Teacher?

A great Primary School Teacher should exhibit the following soft skills:

  • A love of learning
  • Passion for the subjects and activities you teach
  • A sense of creativity and imagination
  • Patience and tolerance
  • A calm and nurturing nature

“You need good time management skills to be a Primary School Teacher, as well as skills in English and maths,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Julia Nguyen. “Passion and patience are also a must.”

What age group should I teach?

When thinking about becoming a teacher, you need to consider the ages of the students you’d most like to teach. Depending on the age of your students, the course that you’ll need to study and the traits that you’ll need to have can vary.

An Early Childhood Teacher looks after children aged three to eight and is similar to a Primary School Teacher who looks after children aged five to 12. Both roles require patience, imagination and the ability to create a warm atmosphere to encourage learning. To work in childcare, you must have a minimum of a Certificate III in early childhood education.

To work as a Primary School Teacher in Australia, you will need either a Bachelor degree in Primary Education or a postgraduate degree such as the Master of Teaching (Primary) to register as a teacher. Find out more about how to become a Primary School Teacher.

Junior Secondary Teachers work with children from Years 7 to 9 and are expected to deliver an innovative curriculum, master working with children going through adolescence and create a trusting and engaging environment in which to learn.

Senior Secondary Teachers look after teenagers aged 15 to 18 years and should have strong problem-solving skills, excellent planning and organisation skills and an ability to instil respect and positivity in the classroom.

What are the best employment locations for Primary School Teachers?

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Employment, Primary School Teacher job openings are continuing to grow across most regions in Australia.

Out of all the states and territories, New South Wales and Victoria have the highest percentage share of employment at 31% and 26% respectively, according to the ABS Labour Force Survey. The ACT and Northern Territory have the smallest percentage, with 2% and 1% respectively.

Why choose Primary School Teaching?

The reasons why people choose a career in Primary School Teaching can be varied, but most cite a strong show a passion for teaching and helping children.

“Most people are inspired to become a Primary School Teacher because of the possibility of shaping the future generation through education,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Julia Nguyen.

People usually attracted to the role are those who have a family themselves or have childcare experience and are keen to focus their career on early learning and development. It is a job that offers both full-time and part-time employment, so the benefits for working mothers is that their work schedule will generally fit in around their children’s own school hours.

Working as a Primary School Teacher is not limited to a standard classroom format. In fact, many people go on to specialise in teaching kids with learning difficulties or special needs. Other opportunities can also lead to leadership roles, such as a Head of Department or Primary School Principal.