Top Shows

Just The Job


Job Sheet: Secondary School teacher

Just The Job on TV2

Job title
Secondary School teacher

Job description

Secondary school teachers teach one or more curriculum subject areas to students of about 13 to 18 years of age at a secondary school.
They may teach several subjects in one area (such as social sciences teachers) or teach only one subject in that area (for example, history).

Secondary school teachers may do some or all of the following:

- plan, prepare and present  teaching programmes
- set and mark assignments and tests
- assess students' work for internally assessed components of qualifications
- keep records and write reports on students
- attend departmental and staff meetings 
- meet with parents, wh?nau or caregivers, individually or at parents' evenings
- participate in or organise extra-curricular activities such as sport, camp or drama
- keep up to date with curriculum changes and assessment methods.

Qualifications required

Entry Requirements

To enter a teacher training programme you will need a tertiary entrance qualification.  Entry requirements may vary so check with your training provider.

To become a registered Secondary School teacher you need to have one of the following:

- a specialist subject degree - which includes two subjects, a major and a minor, in the school subjects you want to teach in - followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary).   
- or a combined specialist subject degree and secondary teaching qualification.

This takes 4 years to complete.

Training on the job

Teachers must undertake relevant ongoing professional development and maintain professional practice. This can be done through internal or external courses, workshops and seminars. To find out more, visit the New Zealand Teachers Council website

Once qualified, teachers must apply for teacher registration from the New Zealand Teachers Council. After two years of support and guidance as a teacher they can apply for and gain full teachers registration. To find out more, visit the New Zealand Teachers Council website

Training costs

Training costs vary, however it will cost approximately $4,500 per year to complete:

- a specialist subject degree followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) or a combined specialist subject degree and secondary teaching qualification.
Location of job

Secondary school teachers can work throughout New Zealand as well as world wide.

Career path

Experience and training can help you progress in this job. There are many career paths available and you can move into different educational roles such as head teacher, dean, principal, professional support-development, etc.

Salary range

Salary depends on qualifications, setting and geographic location.

Other careers this profession could lead to

University lecturer
Teacher of Community classes
Can work for a Government agency (e.g. curriculum development or policy work)
Can work for a training organisation associated with secondary school education
Can up skill and work in other teaching sectors (e.g. special education)
Advisory roles such as education review officer

How to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry

- A relevant degree qualification
- Counseling experience
- Tutoring or coaching work, work with people with disabilities, work as a youth group leader, work as a teacher aide

Places to source information about this job

Talking to current and recent student teachers, experienced teachers or principals can be a great help in making a decision on whether teaching is for you. You could also contact your nearest teacher education provider. You can then discuss what it's like to be in the classroom and they may be able to arrange for you to spend some time observing a class in action.

Visit the TeachNZ website - 
Ministry of Education website and the New Zealand Teachers Council website

Other relevant points

TeachNZ offers scholarships for secondary subject areas where there are teacher shortages. Visit for more information.