Career in Focus: Teacher

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What does it take to become a Teacher? Here at, we break down the skills and qualifications you need to take on a career in this area. 

There have been significant changes in the whole area of teaching over recent years, following the establishment of the Teaching Council ( Currently, the initial teacher education programmes for primary and post-primary teaching are carried out via a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Primary Teaching

If you’re seeking to train to become a primary teacher, you can avail of training through five colleges which offer teacher education through a four year undergraduate degree programme which leads to a Bachelor of Education Degree. There are also two year conversion courses available which can lead to teaching as a career path once you already hold an Level 8 degree. A full list of the Institutions that offer this training can be found via the Teaching Council website. A private course provider, Hibernia College, offers a MPE, Professional Master of Education in Primary Education, a programme which is accredited by the Department of Education and Skills. This programme can be attractive to those seeking to transition into teaching while working as it’s done via blended learning, both online and on site, and is a more workable alternative if you’re balancing the training with work.

Post-Primary Teaching

In order to become a post-primary teacher, you must have a suitable Level 8 undergraduate degree and also hold the Professional Masters of Education (PME).

The most common route to qualify for post-primary education is the consecutive route, which means you a suitable Level 8 degree and a separate teacher education qualification.  A suitable degree is defined by the Teaching Council as an “award from a state-recognised university or similar third-level college, which enables the holder to teach at least one curricular subject to the highest level within the post-primary schools curriculum.”  For most subjects, this means to Leaving Certificate Higher Level.

If you undertake a consecutive teaching degree after your initial Level 8 programme, you do not have to hold the PME as the training will have been incorporated during the four-year Bachelor of Education Degree.

Training Courses Available

In terms of where to search for teaching programmes at both Primary and Post-Level, another good resource is the state course website, Qualifax ( Any queries regarding qualification or what your own particular route may need to be to enter this popular sector should be directed to the Teaching Council.

If you apply for Teaching Council teacher registration and have fulfilled some, but not all, or the requirements, you may be granted conditional registration. This is defined in the regulations as: “Conditional Registration is granted when an applicant for registration has not fulfilled all of the Council’s registration requirements.  If Conditional Registration is granted, the Council will inform the teacher of the conditions imposed, the measures required to meet them, and the timeframe within which they must be met. Conditions will be recorded on the Register and on the teacher’s Conditional Registration letter.”

A Clean Record

Applicants for teacher registration will also be subject to Garda Vetting. In terms of the personalities and skills most suited to the sector, someone with an interest in people and conveying information in a structured and understandable manner will find it particularly appealing. Interpersonal skills, with people of different age groups, is also key as teaching can be a very demanding role which can push your soft skills to the maximum. However, it is also a rewarding and enriching career choice, in which continuous professional development and the opportunities to expand your skills are always on offer.


On 13th November, the government has announced a plan to have one oral Irish examination for students seeking to gain entry to postgraduate programmes for primary teaching run by DCU, Maynooth University, Marino Institute of Education and Mary Immaculate College (the four State-funded providers of primary teacher training).

Until now, to apply under the post-graduate entry route to initial teacher education for primary teaching (the Primary Professional Master of Education qualification) in these providers, candidates, who have already satisfied the Minimum Entry Requirements in Irish, English and Maths, have had to do three separate Irish oral examinations. Each oral examination would have taken place on the same day as an interview at the institution concerned. A fail in the Irish oral examination would result in the interview result being discounted, adding considerably to the stress on candidates.

From 2019, there will be one Irish oral examination for all candidates, which will take place before they apply to their preferred institution(s).

Find out more online here.


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