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'I didn't get my first preference and am enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts but I really want to be a secondary school teacher. What do I do?'

Ask Jo

‘I didn’t get my first preference and am enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts but I really want to be a secondary school teacher. What do I do?’ 

Anne, 18, Melbourne

The most important thing to tell you is that there are different ways to qualify as a secondary teacher.

The first option is to complete a bachelor degree followed by a one- or two-year postgraduate teacher education program. The other option is to complete a four-year undergraduate teacher education degree – this is a double degree program where you study two degrees at the same time, for example, a Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts. 

The great news for you is that you have options. You could complete your Bachelor of Arts and then complete a postgraduate education program or you could look at transferring to a double degree program. Either way, your studies this year are not a waste! You are lucky that you asked this question now and didn’t wait to the end of your degree. 

When you work as a secondary teacher you need to teach specific subjects, which are known as your ‘teaching methods’. This means you can plan your studies around the subjects you want to teach. A very important document for you to look at is the Victorian Institute of Teaching’s Specialist Area Guidelines, which describes the specific subjects you need to take to teach each method.

Given that you live in Victoria, you should also look at the Department of Education’s How to Get Qualified. If you are thinking of studying interstate then go to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership website and this will point you in the right direction.

Make sure you also have a look at the course options available online. Career FAQs offers a range of online education courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching qualifications. 

Jo Messer

Jo Messer is a Career Development Specialist who has many years of experience in supporting and guiding students and graduates of some of Australia’s most respected universities, as well as mature-aged clients, across all facets of their career. She is a Professional Member of CDAA and an active member of NAGCAS. Whether you have a specific question about how to achieve your career goal or something more general, Jo is available to provide you with up-to-date advice.

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