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:

To teach:

• 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.



Teachers are not the highest paid professionals in South Africa, but the government is working on improving the situation. Starting salaries are +/- R15,500 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.

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.



89 thoughts on “Teaching”

  1. Hey, i am currently doing my PGCE, so i would like to know if its possible for me register with SACE and also start working as ateacher even though i am still studyng

    1. Hi Andile, yes you can register with SACE during your PGCE year and get a SACE number and also teach if the school allows you.

  2. Hi Sanri Mostert-I have a 3 year Diploma-Administration-Law(still RSA Technikon-UNISA endorsed)Unisa has said that I need to do 4 to 5 additional teaching subjects(5 modules)then I can be allowed to do my PGCE.Once I have finished then I will have 5 years of tertiary studies-but let us leave it at 4-3yrs Dip and 1 year PGCE.Then I qualify to teach.Will I then be able to do my BEd-Hons?According to UNISA yes-What is your take.Also considering I am 48 and am in my final career choice to retirement.(Not to late?)

    1. Hi! 🙂 You can definitely do your bed hons. I myself have just finished my PGCE. I would do BED-hons if you have a passion for academia and writing and doing research because you will write a thesis in a topic you feel passionate about. I personally love PGCE and think all teachers should be doing it like that! Hope that helps?

    1. Hi Mogau! Because you have a degree you qualify for PGCE. It then depends what subjects you want to teach.
      If its for example english and sepedi, for senior phase (grade 7-9) you will need the subjects at university in either 1st year level (unisa) or second year level (University of pretoria). For FET phase( grade 10-12) you will need the subjects at university in either 2nd year (unisa) or third year level (Univeristy of pretoria)

  3. I have a business management college diploma, will I be able to study for a PGCE and qualify as a teacher or will I need to go back and study for a BEd?

    1. Hi lerato! unfortunately as far as we know you need a degree to study PGCE. But you could contact UNISA directly and ask.

  4. Hi I’m Dorothy, have a BA degree with Vista University,Majoring with English,Public Administration and Politacal Science. I currently obtained my diploma in road transport with Uviversity of Johannesburg and next next 2017 I’m finalizing my remaining six practical modules to obtain my honors degree in social work with Unisa. I’m now fallen in love with teaching. Do I quality to register PGCE. Please help I’m 41 years.

    1. Hi Dorothy! If you already have an honors degree you would qualify. Just contact Unisa personally to find out the details.

  5. Pearl,hello I have ECD level 2 and am still studying for diploma in grade r,is it possible to get a job with this qualification while am still studying, it been 8months on practicals,naw,.tnx

  6. I passed my matric verry well but my problem is that the Id number that is on my matric certificate is wrong becouse when i wrote matric i wasnt have the id so i just use any number so that i can write.and i try to go to the department of education to change that id but they told me that I have to write matric again because its my fault they won’t change my certificate

  7. hi. i only have matric and office administration certificate. i want to study for teaching at unisa . foundation phrase but i dont know if its possible please help.

  8. Hi Sanri,,i have a three years teaching diploma from Lesotho college of education,it was evaluated with SAQA and has NQF level 6,so can i be able to study PGCE or ACE at any university?

    1. Hi Fumane! I am not sure about teaching diplomas and PGCE but I would contact a PGCE office directly at a university like UNISA or University of pretoria and they will give you accurate info!

  9. hi there .my is Simphiwe ,I would like to know if I can become a business study teacher with PGCE even if my matric certificate doesn’t have a business study subject .thanks

    1. Hi SImphiwe! You will need a business related degree (like Bcom Business management) to study Business studies PGCE

  10. I am currently studying ITC at Capricorn TVET college, I want to know if is possible that I can study bachelor of education with my NCV certificate?

    1. Hi Khomotso! I am sure you can! Contact the university directly where you wish to study and I am sure they will assist you

  11. Hi There! I would like to become an visual art teacher and history/ social sciences teacher for intermediate phase or senior phase. How do I go about it? Do I take B.E.d or can I just study Visual Arts? Can one take a Visual Arts elective?

    Thank you, Nakita

    1. Hi Nakita! You have 2 options… Go do BED directly or do a degree in Visual arts and take history as an elective. ( all subjects you want to teach need to be taken up to second year level). Then after obtaining your degree in Visual arts do a PGCE year. I would really recommend getting a degree then doing PGCE. Just make sure what the requirements are for your subjects for PGCE even before starting your degree!

  12. Hi my name Tebello, I have a BSc degree in Physics and Computer Science from North west university. I would like to ask if is it possible to work as a teacher while busy studying for PGCE in UNISA?

    1. Hi Tebello! It is possible to work as a teacher and do PGCE through Unisa! Just send your CV out to as many schools as possible!

      1. Hi Sanri! so am i gonna earn the starting amount of R12,500 even if i dont have Bed dgree, because i only have Bsc degree.

  13. Hi I have a Diploma in Graphic design and I passed my matric with a Bachelors degree pass , and I would love to be a teacher but I don’t want to get my PGCE yet, I want to start with the foundation first then later on in my life when I have matured enough I would then love to get my PGCE is that possible????

  14. Please have a look at my result.I want to apply for foundation phase.my English is 49%,isixhosa 59%, accounting is 79%, business studies & entrepreneurship 69%, business economics 49%, economics 39%.please advice if I can qualify or not.
    Regards Tamie

  15. Hi I passed my Matric with the following symbols Accounting B, Business Economics A, Economics C, Mathematics E all these on standard grade and 2 Languages Zulu HG C and english HG F and then I continue to FET College where I studied Financial Management and obtained N6 certificate,i couldn’t make it to complete my deploma as it became so difficult to me to find the company to do my practicals with,now I decided to change to teaching so my question is would I be able to study teaching cos I want to teach commercial subjects

    Regards Buselaphi Nhlangothi

    1. HI Buselaphi! Yes you can study BED through a university! Just submit your marks and apply and hopefully you will get in!

  16. Hey guys have I’m Manqoba Mathe, I just want to know whether I qualify or not for teaching course. My mathic results are: lsizulu 53%, English 41%, life orientation 73%, life sciences 48%, Agricultural sciences 35% and Mathematics 30%

  17. Hie,I want to be a teacher but I have passed abet, with lifeoretation its 60% human social studies its 59% mathsliterace 70% ancillary health care 80% English 40% venda69%

  18. I want to teach Biology, but I have math lit, is their a way I can still teach biology?, because I have biology as a subject.

  19. Guys i have a Diploma in ABET, did not quality to study B. Ed. I thought i would be credited to study this after completing this Diploma.

    Will i this be credited or maybe not?

  20. I am doing a diploma in auditing its ma second year BT I would love to convert it to a tearching field,would I be recognised after completion ma qualification?

  21. Hi there…I have a degree in Human Movement Sciences and currently finishing off my MBA…would I need to study the full degree or just the certificate option? PGCE?

  22. I am 51 yrs would love to do a teaching course. I have O levels and a diploma in acounting worked in the accounting field for over 30yrs. Would I be considered.

  23. Hi. I have a 2 year diploma in fine arts and creative writing. I am currently employed as a part time art teacher at a small primary private school. I was working at 2 different schools in 2015 and currently only at one school; part time. What must I go study , to become a proper Art Teacher? And what does all my hours as a Art Teacher help me to become a professional faster? Hope it makes sense….

  24. I have a 2 year Diploma in Media Studies and Journalism from Rosebank College but I did not pass my matric with exemption so I now want to study teaching with UP.Do I qualify for a PGCE or I should do BEd and will I have to upgrade my matric results first?

    1. HI Hilda! Unfortunately you need a degree to study PGCE. BEd is also a degree so you will have to have a matric pass with bachelors exemption in order to study a BEd degree 🙂

    2. Hi. I would like to know if I do a diploma in Grade R does that allow me to teach in Grade R my problem is I passed my matric with a diploma endorsement but would like to persure a career in teaching.

  25. May I have an assistant cause I passed with a diploma and I would like to study next year,wishing to teach languages. Can i?

    1. Hi Kenaleone, unfortunately you can then only study towards a diploma. Try find some colleges to do bridge over courses to study towards a degree in teaching.

  26. I would like to know if it is possibile to study teaching if you have studied NATED programs. I have N4 but would love to do teaching. As a electrical teacher. Thank you

  27. When UNISA take for new applications for registration in Teaching course, cause my reason is surely I want to see myself in this field of Education. Please help me to know the dates.

    1. Unisa’s apllications for the second semester closed at the end of May. The application dates for 2017 usually opens around August, but official dates have not been put up on their website. So follow the UNISA applications page on their website! Good luck!

  28. Hi,my opinion was to study teaching at northwest university distance learning next year 2017, I send all my applications for a course which is Foundation Phase Grade R-3,so they respond ne that my application is unsuccessful, my first language is Sepedi, so they can’t allow me,and I need to study next with my whole heart, so please help me with any registered tertiary the write one,i need to see myself studying.

    1. Hi Dipuo! We are sorry to hear that. You can try contacting Unisa and they will surely help you out with your problem!

    2. Hi dipou if u still willing to study at Northwestuniversity contact me at 0714614417 I am a student for distance learning and doing my diploma.

    1. Unfortunately Meginah, to be able to be a teacher you need a Degree in teaching, thus do you need a Bachelors Pass to study the teaching degree.

  29. I have a question out there for anyone who can answer me.i hold a 3 years Diploma in visual arts and 3 years Degree in Motion pictures. am currently a full time school teacher teaching grade 7-12.
    I just started in April 2016 and am in my second month. How long will it take for me to registered by SACE. 1-6 month or a year because I want to be considered a registered teacher.

  30. Enter your comment here… I want to be a teacher at one of intersen schools i have passed my matric with following symbols. Maths lit 50%,English54%,accounting,38%,Business studies48%,vernecular65%,Tourism70% and Life orientation79%. So i would like to know wether i qualify or not to be a teacher plz help guys yours regards Mr M. Thunzi

    1. Hi Mr Thunzi! As far as we can see your marks are good enough to apply for teaching. We would recommend you start contacting universities and colleges of your choice to apply and speak directly to them!

  31. i wanna study teaching next year…and i didnt know how i will pay for ma studies…but now i know that i can get a bursary or student loan.

  32. Hi, my name is Lucky Nhlanhla Tshabalala I passed my matric with a B. I’ll like to study teaching, so will I be able to study for the senior phase even though my maths lit ain’t good?

  33. These teaching course is highly recommended at university only? That is my question. If you done from FET not recommended?

    1. No sorry Michelle, you have to have passed Matric to be able to study towards being a Teacher for any phase.

    1. Hi Ali! You can google the PGCE program. It’s a teaching certificate that takes a year to get. Hope this helps.
      The university of Pretoria and Unisa do offer this certificate.

  34. Shalom. I’m 44 years off age. I’m interested to start studying for a teacher but I don’t have the funds. If you know of any oragnization that would be prepared to help, please let me know.

  35. Ah! That is too little a money ! To teach these kids. Lots of work and some school have extra limited resources.. That should be put into consideration by the state

    1. Enter your comment here…hey everyone I’m Sheila my number is 0837630877 I would like to know if you can study teaching at unisa with technical matric? please help

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