Teaching is a highly rewarding career with great holidays. It allows you to combine academic and personal interests: you can teach Maths in the morning, coach cricket in the afternoon and lead children around the art galleries of Europe in the holidays. There is a high demand for qualified, motivated and enthusiastic teachers the world over.
How to qualify?
There are two routes to qualifying as a teacher in South Africa.
1. Bachelor of Education (B.Ed)
Most universities offer this 4 year degree. A Bachelors pass, or Matric exemption, is required and the minimum APS score varies at different universities, but is not usually less than 26. In addition, most universities require a minimum level 4 pass (50-59%) for the language of instruction. Some universities also require a minimum of a level 5 pass (60-69%) in the school subjects that you plan on teaching.
You choose one teaching phase to specialize in, namely:
• Foundation phase: Grades R-3
• Intermediate phase: Grades 4-6
• Senior phase: Grades 7-9
• Further Education and Training (FET) phase: Grades 10-12
During each year of the degree, time is spent doing Teaching Practice in local schools.
2. Bachelors degree + Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
The PGCE is a one year post-graduate university qualification that can be studied after completion of most 3-4 year bachelor degrees, including: B.A, B.Com, B.Sc, B.Tech, B.SocSci and B.Mus.
Different universities have slightly different entrance requirements for the PGCE, depending on which school phase you intend teaching, but generally the following apply:
• Foundation phase: need to have studied Psychology and / or Education in your bachelors degree.
• Intermediate phase: need to have passed two “school” subjects at first-year level.
• Senior phase: need to have passed two “school” subjects at second-year level.
• FET phase: need to have one “school” subject as a major (third-year level), plus a second “school” subject at first- or second-year level.
On completion of the B.Ed or PGCE, all teachers have to register with SACE (the South African Council of Educators), before they may teach in a South African school. SACE is a professional teaching authority which is recognized by many international teaching organizations.
How to pay for my studies?
The Funza Lushaka bursary is an excellent bursary provided by the Department of Education. It covers most tuition and living costs for the duration of your studies. On completion of your education qualifications, you have to teach one year for every year that you have held the bursary (plus you get a full teacher’s salary while you’re teaching back your bursary). Follow this link for more information about the bursary and the teaching profession.
Teachers are not the highest paid professionals in South Africa, but the government is working on improving the situation. Starting salaries are +/- R12,500 per month in government schools and range to about R20,000 per month for experienced teachers. Heads of Department and Principals get significantly more. Private schools tend to pay their teachers better.
Teachers are in demand in many parts of the world. High school Science and Maths teachers are particularly scarce. In addition, South Africa has a shortage of teachers of African Languages and English, as well as Foundation phase teachers.
Funding Your Studies
The sad reality is that you have to pay for tertiary education and it is very expensive Luckily there are many options out there, read our article “Funding Your Studies” to find out all the info regarding bursaries, student loans and government grants.