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Salary Range
€31k - €56k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Prepares lessons and teaches teenagers in a secondary school or college classroom.


  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

In Summary - Teacher - Post Primary

Career Sectors

Teacher - Post Primarys typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Post Primary Education
Education & Teaching

Videos & Interviews

Paul Meany, School Principal

Paul completed his Leaving Cert in Marian College, Dublin, before going on to do a Degree in Botany and Maths in UCD. He decided to pursue his interest in Teaching and did his Higher Diploma in Education back in Marian College. Years later he applied for, and was successful in becoming Principal at that school.

Paul Galvan, Resource Teacher

Paul Galvan is a Resource Teacher working in the Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He decided to study for a B.A Honours in Geography and French following his Leaving Cert, as these were subject that he had a great interest in.  He was then eligible to study for the H. Dip in Education, which he carried out in NUI Maynooth .

Mary Joyce, Secondary School Teacher

Mary Joyce is a Secondary School Teacher of Geography and PE and works in Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge, Co Kildare.  She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Geography from the University of Limerick and also qualified as a Fitness Instructor under the NCEF.

Videos on the Web

Further Information

The Work - Teacher - Post Primary

Teachers are required to deliver the curriculum that is agreed at national level by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.  
In addition to their classroom teaching, teachers also work with colleagues to plan and deliver programmes such as the Transition Year; to implement the school's pastoral care or student welfare system; to support school development and planning activities and to take part in curriculum innovation. Teachers are also required to communicate regularly with parents on students' educational progress.  
All teachers in schools are required to co-operate to implement policies for school discipline, anti-bullying and identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect. They must also keep up to date with new developments in the subject area, new resources and methods.  
The work of teachers is challenging and requires teachers to be versatile and flexible. Teachers identify and support students who have learning difficulties or who are otherwise disadvantaged. Each student is different and requires support and encouragement from their teachers to fulfil their potential.  
The work can be very rewarding and teachers are providing a valuable service to the community, which can be demanding and pressurised at times but equally rewarding at others.  
Schools put in place various programmes and activities to promote the personal and social development of young people. Increasingly, schools work with a range of external agencies such as employers, local partnership and anti-poverty networks, health boards, etc, to ensure that the school is responding to students' needs and the needs of the local community. Many second level schools now provide adult education programmes for the local community including post-leaving certificate courses.  
It is possible for second level teachers to branch into more specialised areas such as career guidance, remedial teaching, etc.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students' varying needs and interests.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Enforce all administration policies and rules governing students.
  • Assign and grade class work and homework.
  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests - Teacher - Post Primary

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.


The second level teacher requires a wide range of skills to meet the challenges that they are presented with on a daily basis. In addition to having a solid understanding of their subject and a mastery of core teaching skills, teachers are required to be resourceful, flexible, able to cope with an emergency, deal with conflict in a constructive manner, communicate effectively and be able to motivate students and enable them to develop self esteem.  
Each school is a community and requires people with leadership skills to ensure its effective functioning. Teachers also have to both like and understand young people. Teaching can be very stressful but also rewarding.

Entry Requirements - Teacher - Post Primary

To become a recognised, second level teacher in Ireland, you must hold a primary degree in a relevant subject area, and/or a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PDE or PGD, previously called H.dip).

Post-primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is provided through programmes that are either concurrent (undergraduate) or consecutive (postgraduate).

Undergraduate Route

The concurrent (undergraduate) route to a post-primary teaching qualification is offered for a range of programmes (e.g. with practical, laboratory and workshop elements). Students study a 4 or 5 year teacher training programme, which combines the study of education with the study of an academic specialist area and includes school placement.

For the most part, these programmes are in the sciences, technological education, physical education, art and design, music, mathematics, religious education and home economics. For example,  P.E. (UL), Religion (Mater Dei/DCU), Home Economics (St. Angela's), Art (NCAD), Science, Engineering Technology and wood/building technology.

Depending on the subject specialism taken, the final degree awarded may be a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science (Education), a Bachelor of Technology (Education) or a Bachelor of Education.

Some higher education institutions offer a ‘hybrid model’ whereby students can exit the programme with a subject specialist degree after three or four years but are not qualified teachers until they have completed all five years. 

Students apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) and selection is based on the CAO points system.

Consecutive Route

The most common route to becoming a post-primary teacher is a Bachelor's Degree, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. If you go this route, your degree must comprise three years full-time study or equivalent, and enable you to teach at least one curriculum subject to Leaving Cert level. 

E.g.  P.E Teacher - by doing a degree, followed by the Graduate Diploma in Physical Education (P.E.) - UL takes students from a range of backgrounds such as, the BSc. in Health & Leisure Studies at IT Tralee.

Note*: Since September 2014, postgraduate programmes of ITE accredited by the Teaching Council have been extended to two years full time study, or 120 ECTS credits and is now termed the Professional Master of Education 

For consecutive programmes, application is made through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC), a central application system for NUI colleges and Dublin City University. For other institutions, applications are made directly to individual institutions. 

The teaching profession is monitored by the Teaching Council, who determine the suitability of qualifications to teach subjects in the second level curriculum. 

The Teaching Council website provides details of the individual subject requirements (subject criteria) for all post-primary curricular subjects (i.e. English, Maths, Art, Languages etc). The Teaching Council website also provides a list of degrees deemed to meet the requirements for named curricular subjects. 

A list of institutions in Ireland who are providers of post-primary ITE programmes is available here.


Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)

NQTs need to go through a one-year induction programme after they have qualified. Full details are available from the Association of Teachers' Education Centres in Ireland (ATECI) (See here).

NQTs also need to register their qualifications with The Teaching Council. 

All new teachers will also need to be Garda vetted, as they are responsible for children.

Droichead - Pilot Scheme for NQTs

Droichead is a post-qualification of continuous professional development (CPD) for NQTs. where the NQT works alongside a fully qualified colleague. The Scheme allows for a more experienced professional to mentor the NQT to ensure they satisfy certain criteria. An NQT may complete Droichead instead of the standard probationary period - NOTE this is still a pilot scheme. Details of application process and questions relating to Droichead are available here .

Post Qualification Employment (PQE)

PQE is a standard condition for all newly qualified second level teachers. 300 hours teaching experience must be completed at a recognised post-primary school or Centre for Education, and verified by the institution principal. At least two-thirds (200 hours) of the hours must be spent teaching a post-primary curricular subject to a class of students within their regular timetable. The other 100 hours may be carried out teaching non-timetable related activities. Newly qualified post-primary teachers have 3 years from the date of registration to complete the PQE.

Last Updated: November, 2016

Pay & Salary - Teacher - Post Primary

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €31k - €56k

New teachers currently start on a salary of €30,702. From September 2016, this will increase by €796 to a total of €31,498 and again in September 2017 by €796 to €32,294.

Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2016

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Teacher - Post Primary

This occupation has been identified as a Job in Demand by the most recent National Skills Bulletin.

It is proving difficult to source qualified teachers for certain key subjects (e.g. foreign languages, science). Changes in government policy in relation to the introduction of other subjects (such as career guidance) will require the sourcing of teachers with the required specific skills. Demand for secondary teachers is expected to continue in the medium term due to demographic factors.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Teacher - Post Primary

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