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Stylised illustration of a teacher teaching two students about science.

There are two options to choose from.

  1. The first option is to complete an undergraduate ITE programme. This generally takes four years.
  2. The second option is to complete a postgraduate degree, called the Professional Master of Education (PME). This takes two years. You can apply for the PME during the final year of your Level 8 undergraduate degree, or when you’ve completed it. Your Level 8 degree should relate to a curricular subject area*.

On completion of your undergraduate ITE programme or the PME, you will be eligible to register as a post-primary teacher with the Teaching Council.

Note: There is no requirement for competence in the Irish language, unless you wish to become a post-primary teacher of Irish, or work in an Irish-medium school.

The graphic below shows the two most common pathways which lead to registration with the Teaching Council.

*Prior to entry to the PME (post-primary) you must have satisfied the requirements for at least one curricular subject as outlined in the Curricular Subject Requirements.

Common pathways to post-primary teaching.

Leaving Certificate (or equivalent)

Two options available for initial teacher education

  • Option 1: Undergraduate ITE programme (which has been accredited by the Teaching Council) (4 years)
  • Level 8 Undergraduate Degree in a curricular subject* followed by Professional Master of Education (PME) (2 years)

Registration with the Teaching Council

Qualified post-primary teacher ready for employment

Points to consider

  1. Most applications for undergraduate ITE programmes are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO). You must check the application process with the university/college.
  2. As with all CAO courses, you need to meet all the entry requirements set by the university/college in your year of entry. This might mean attaining a certain number of points in your Leaving Certificate. Or for mature students, you may have to attend an interview. Before applying, make sure to check the full list of entry requirements, as they may vary between the third-level institutions.
  3. If you choose to complete an undergraduate ITE programme, your course will combine one or more approved curricular subjects with teacher education studies, enabling you to teach at least one subject to Leaving Certificate higher level after you graduate.
  4. If you choose to complete the PME, you must meet the requirements to teach at least one subject to Leaving Certificate higher level. It is advisable to check that the undergraduate degree you choose meets the Teaching Council Curricular Subject Requirements for the subject(s) you wish to teach.
  5. When choosing a subject(s) to teach, keep in mind that some subjects are more in demand than others. These subjects include modern foreign languages, gaeilge, mathematics, home economics, and science subjects. This will be important when it comes to applying for teaching jobs.
  6. If you study post-primary teaching outside of Ireland and gain the status of a ʻfully qualified teacherʼ, you can apply to register as a teacher in Ireland under the EU Directive 2005/36/EC. Your qualifications will be assessed to ensure they are of comparable standard to those achieved by graduates of ITE programmes in Ireland. Should significant differences be found between your qualification and the qualification achieved by graduates of accredited programmes in Ireland, conditions may be applied to your registration. This ensures that everyone teaching in Ireland has met the same minimum standards of initial teacher education.

Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) is a funding programme designed to support and provide increased access to ITE for certain categories of people. More information can be found at

A number of universities and colleges provide courses to support access to initial teacher education for persons from groups which traditionally have been under-represented in teaching. For more information, visit the Department of Education’s Teaching Transforms webpage.

Where can I find further information?

The Department of Education’s Teaching Transforms webpage is an excellent source of information.

The Teaching Council and Department of Education staff regularly attend career fairs in colleges and universities. Keep an eye on social pages for updates on events @teachingcouncil / @Education_Ire