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Occupation Details

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Teacher - Secondary Level

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€31k > 56
Secondary School Teacher
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€31 - 56
Related Information:
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.
Shortage Indicator

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

Occupational Category

Secondary Teachers

Also included in this category:

Secondary school teachers; deputy head teachers (secondary school).

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 15%
Aged over 55: 14%
Male / Female: 28 / 72%
Non-Nationals: 3%
With Third Level: 99%
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At a Glance... header image

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

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:3

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.

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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 .

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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.
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Go..Art Teacher - from: icould [UK] Video

The Work header image

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.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


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.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Training and Teaching Others: Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Coaching and Developing Others: Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Scheduling Work and Activities: Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


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.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


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.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


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.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


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.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.


Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

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 Routesheader image

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

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Teacher, second level - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Department of Education and Skills
Address: Marlborough St, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 889 6400
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish National Teachers Organisation
Address: 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 804 7700 / LoCall 1850 708708
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland
Address: ASTI House, Winetavern Street, Dublin 8
Tel: (01) 604 0160
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland
Address: ASTI House, Winetavern Street, Dublin 8
Tel: (01) 604 0160
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Vocational Education Association
Address: McCann House, 99 Marlborough Rd, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 496 6033
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: The Teaching Council
Address: Block A, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth Co. Kildare
Tel: (01) 651 7900
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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