What can I do with a degree in Secondary Teacher Education?

Science teaching_Chrystie Woods

Secondary teaching is a rewarding career that provides a chance to inspire others through subjects you are passionate about. As a prior degree is required, this qualification allows the immersion in subjects of expertise, interest and passion. This qualification prepares graduates to teach in any New Zealand secondary or area school, or with young people (generally years 7-13; ages 11-18) and meets the New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC) graduating teacher standards. Graduates may also gain teaching positions in many overseas countries. At UC this qualification is made up of four core components:

  • Professional Studies, which focuses on teaching and learning competencies and techniques when working with adolescents.
  • Education Studies, which involves the application of educational theory to secondary school teaching.
  • Curriculum Studies, which develops knowledge and skills around the curriculum of particular subjects within the secondary school context.
  • Teaching Practice, which involves the practical aspect of teaching at a secondary level, in a supervised and supported context.

Through their Secondary Education degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferable to a range of careers. These skills include:

  • An understanding of human development across the lifespan
  • Knowledge of teaching and learning processes
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Problem solving skills
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Planning and organisation
  • Oral and written communication.

Opportunities to apply your learning in schools are available in this major, through community engagement, work-integrated learning (on placement) and international study tours. These experiences deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge, and employability.

  • Secondary Teacher Education graduates gain teaching and management positions in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • There are also international teaching opportunities, for example in the UK and Australia, or in international schools around the world.
  • As well as opportunities in the education sector, teaching skills of leadership, communication, coordination, responsibility and organisation are prized in many professions such as management, policy, publishing, community work, politics and business.
  • The contacts and experiences from teaching placements can often provide a good springboard into the working world.

Graduates of UC’s Secondary Teacher Education programmes will be eligible for provisional registration. This enables you to apply for secondary teaching positions in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Graduates can teach anything from drama to French, physical education to statistics. There may be opportunities to get involved in school committees, extra-curricular student activities and take on leadership opportunities. See some examples of graduate jobs below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Secondary school teacher

  • Prepares and delivers instructional activities and lessons in specialised subjects
  • Observes and evaluates performance in order to provide feedback
  • Develops and marks tests and assessments

Kaiwhakaako Māori | Māori-medium teacher

  • Provides Māori medium education by developing te reo and tikanga
  • Collaborates with whānau and iwi
  • Prepares class plans, and sets and marks assessments

Special education / early intervention teacher

  • Teaches young people with diverse learning needs
  • Evaluates special needs, working with whānau and teachers to develop learning plans
  • Recommends and coordinates support services, treatment and therapy

Guide / leader / mentor | kaiārahi

  • Supports people to practise biculturalism
  • Identifies opportunities and reviews processes to achieve organisational Māori aspirations
  • Connects with contributors, leaders and knowledge guardians

Private tutor

  • Develops a student’s subject understanding
  • Maintains knowledge of the curriculum
  • Prepares students for assignments or tests

Education advisor

  • Works with teachers to develop teaching programmes to increase student achievement
  • Designs and creates teaching resource materials
  • Assists with school implementation of new education priorities and policies

School counsellor

  • Helps a student to share their feelings and experiences
  • Listens to and reflects upon their issues
  • Raises self-awareness and understanding

Educational publisher

  • Develops educational materials for use in classrooms, eg workbooks, videos or apps
  • Writes assessment questions
  • Ensures an efficient material distribution system

Secondary school dean

  • Assists in the management of students who may be struggling academically
  • Monitors attendance and attends to truancy
  • Supports teaching staff

Vice / deputy principal

  • Promotes the school’s values, plans and policies
  • Develops initiatives that allow for optimum learning and teaching
  • Provides leadership and fosters relationships

Boarding manager

  • Ensures the house is managed efficiently
  • Looks after the physical, cultural, social, intellectual and emotional needs of students
  • Helps students settle into the environment

Operations manager

  • Improves ongoing business effectiveness
  • Ensures health and safety adhered to
  • Builds an engaged and skilled team
  • Manages day-to-day operations and budgets

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Offers freelance or consultancy services

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies and organisations relevant to their area of interest. These groups can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in the same community.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Secondary Teacher Education subject page