Careers in education

Career opportunities in education including teaching pathways and scholarships, early childhood education, and graduate and traineeship programs.

RATE logo

Teachers have the biggest in-school impact on positive student learning outcomes. Local Aboriginal teachers have an ongoing commitment to their communities, and are highly valued leaders because of their deep knowledge of local languages and context.

A new Remote Aboriginal Teacher Education (RATE) program is supporting aspiring teachers in Northern Territory communities to study teaching while living and working on Country.

A 2021 RATE pilot has commenced in Galiwin’ku, Yuendumu, Milingimbi and Angurugu with aspiring teachers from these sites commencing units from the Undergraduate Certificate Remote Educators course.

Fundamental components of the 2021 RATE pilot are being tailored to meet site specific needs, and include:

  • ongoing engagement with local communities,
  • negotiated site plans with schools and ongoing systemic support, and
  • aspiring teachers engaging in study pathways that are based on career aspirations and preferred ways of learning.

2021 RATE pilot sites have been determined based on each having the following attributes:

  • cohorts of aspiring teachers who are ready to enter tertiary education,
  • relevant community support in place, and
  • school support and structures in place.

Tailored course material for 2021 pilot participants is being delivered by Charles Darwin University and the Batchelor Institute including workshops in each 2021 pilot site.

Learnings from implementation of the 2021 RATE pilot, and continued consultation with stakeholders, will inform stage 2 of the pilot. This will contribute to the evidence-base for refining a long-term sustainable model that meets the needs of communities into the future.

For further information about the 2021 RATE pilot, please email or visit the department’s website.

Inform and respond graphic

Alternative support for Aboriginal educators is also available through the following programs:

Assistant Teacher Project

What: To support enrolment and study in education-related VET qualifications

Who for: Aboriginal Assistant Teachers and classroom support staff in remote NT settings

Contact: assistant-teach.det@education.

Aboriginal Teacher Education Scholarship

What: To support study in teacher education courses (at Bachelor or Masters level)

Who for: Aspiring teachers in urban and remote NT settings


Every staff member working in a school must hold a current working with children clearance, also called an Ochre Card, or have a current exemption in place.

Staff members that need a clearance include:

  • relief teachers, in addition to being registered through the Teacher Recruitment System (TRS) - managers must verify the currency of an Ochre Card and TRS registration before engaging a relief teacher
  • any worker who may, during the ordinary course of their work or duties, have access to student information or student records, whether in electronic form or hard copy - this includes any worker providing information technology services, at a departmental site or otherwise.

Other workers

If it is not readily apparent whether a worker may perform child-related work, and the worker does not fall within one of the above categories, the manager must determine the need for an Ochre Card taking into account the following:

  • if the worker will have any form of physical contact with children
  • if the worker will have any form of verbal contact with children, either face to face or by other means
  • if the worker will have any form of written communication with children.

Situations must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, always ensuring the wellbeing of children is the paramount consideration.

Application fees

The Department of Education will pay the application fee for the issue or renewal of an Ochre Card for workers directly employed by the department in schools.

School representative bodies

School representative bodies are expected to adopt the same standards and requirements for the engagement of their own employees and contractors, as set out in the working with children clearance policy.

Principal requirements

Principals need to ensure the school’s Ochre Card register is up to date, and every staff member holds a current Ochre Card or has a current exemption in place.

Read more about the working with children clearance policy.

Teacher exchanges give Northern Territory (NT) teachers the opportunity to exchange with teachers from other school systems in Australia and overseas.

Teacher exchange operates within agreements between cooperating education authorities in:

  • the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland)
  • Canada (British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, including the Northern Territories)
  • USA (Colorado)
  • New Zealand
  • the Australian States of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.


Each exchange teacher must:

  • meet the selection criteria
  • be a qualified, permanent, current employee of the NT Department of Education 
  • have a minimum five years of teaching experience (three years in the NT), preferably consecutive full-time teaching in the last five years, although part-time service and with some leave will not exclude an applicant
  • be in good health (for visa requirements)
  • be a permanent Australian resident or citizen
  • be aware that a police clearance will be undertaken by the overseas or interstate authority
  • provide suitable accommodation for the exchange.

More information

Please contact International Services at for more information.

The teacher responsibilities guide clarifies the role of teachers working in schools.

Teacher responsibilities guide PDF (1.1 MB)

The guide aims to help teachers meet the needs of students, work with parents or caregivers and other staff, and liaise with the public.

It also provides clear statements of expectations for teachers in a Northern Territory Government school.

This page has information on employment programs for young people, graduates and trainees about work integrated scholarships, and vacation employment within the Department of Education.

Early career programs

The department currently supports early careers participants in four early careers programs. 

The early careers programs aim to recruit and retain high quality young people and provide safe and healthy work environments.

These programs offer young people the opportunity to begin their career with the Northern Territory Public Sector in an environment that continues their professional development and training within a supervised workplace.

Graduate development program

The department’s graduate development program is aimed at providing graduates with a good understanding of the operational and strategic environments of the department. 

The program is structured to comprise three rotations, each spanning four months, to allow graduates to gain experience and develop a broad knowledge in a number of areas across the department.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous traineeship program

The traineeship program offers a head start in a chosen career for Territorians, with paid work and structured training leading to a nationally recognised qualification. 

The knowledge and skills obtained during a traineeship provide a pathway from school to work, the basis for further education and training, or opportunities for existing workers to gain a qualification.

Vacation employment program

The vacation employment program provides students undertaking full-time degree studies at an Australian university with the opportunity to gain valuable learning opportunities in the public service. 

The department provides paid fixed-term employment with the opportunity to gain a range of skills through work placements during university semester breaks.

Work integrated learning scholarship

The work integrated learning scholarship is administered under an agreement between the Department of Education and Charles Darwin University. 

The program is aimed at high-performing students enrolled at the university in commerce, accounting, economics and law disciplines. 

The scholarship provides financial assistance to recipients as well as a 12-week work placement during semesters of study in their undergraduate qualification.


To find out more call (08) 8999 5986 or email

Go to the Northern Territory Government's Careers website for details of other opportunities at the Department of Education.

The Department of Education is committed to improving recruitment, retention and career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people.

To support this commitment and increase Indigenous employment, the department are implementing a special measures plan effective from 1 June 2016.

Special measures gives priority consideration to Indigenous people when applying for a position in the Department of Education. It also allows for certain categories of positions to be designated for Indigenous applicants.

Special measures will apply to all positions within the department with the exception of Teacher Recruitment System bulk recruitment for classroom teachers and the Northern Territory Public Service Graduate program. The department will look to extend special measures to these job categories in 2017.

Procedure for applying special measures

  1. Position is advertised and job description clearly indicates that special measures will be applied.
  2. Applicant indicates their Indigeneity and/or desire to be considered for special measures in their application and/or on e-Recruit in the ‘Workplace Diversity’ section.
  3. The selection panel assesses the ability of the special measures applicant(s) to meet the essential selection criteria and be suitable to perform the duties at a level commensurate with that of the position, and makes a recommendation to the relevant HR delegate. If there is more than on special measures applicant the selection decision will be based on merit.
  4. If the selection panel does not find an Indigenous applicant suitable, they must apply to the Public Sector Appeals & Grievance Review at OCPE for approval to be able to assess other applicants.

Frequently Asked Questions PDF (159.1 KB)

As a teacher in the Territory you will support young Territorians to reach their potential and help build brighter futures.

We need exceptional teachers to join us in making a difference who are:

  • committed to providing students with a high quality education
  • professional and driven, with the enthusiasm to make a difference
  • passionate about community engagement.

You will have the opportunity to live and work in a unique environment.

Go to Teaching in the Territory website for more information about living and working in the Northern Territory.

The Early Years Rewarding Careers campaign, an initiative of the Northern Territory Government, aims to showcase the professional opportunities available in early childhood education and care and provides a roadmap that will help you navigate career options available in the Northern Territory.

  • If you’re a secondary or tertiary student, looking for work or already in the early childhood education and care workforce, the Early Years Rewarding Careers Guide is a go-to resource. Essential Guide download PDF (1.6 MB)
  • The Essential Guide features inspiring Northern Territory early childhood professionals and highlights their career experiences and learning pathways. Meet our Growing Stars download PDF (862.6 KB)
  • The Essential Guide also contains information about courses, entry requirements and vocational education training pathways for early childhood education and care career qualifications. Vet Qualification Information download PDF (549.1 KB)
  • The Early Years Rewarding Careers Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students program is open to students in Year 11 and is aimed at meeting the increasing need for high quality early childhood educators in the NT. Vet Flyer PDF (223.6 KB) and Application Download PDF (815.7 KB)
  • Early childhood education and care is a growing, dynamic sector with opportunities to enter and expand your career in all kinds of stimulating and professionally rewarding ways.
  • The Early Years Rewarding Careers campaign ensures that the Northern Territory is developing high quality educators who develop and support children, giving them the best possible start in life.

Contact Details

Early Childhood Education and Care
T: 08 8901 1350
M: GPO Box 4821, Darwin NT 0801

Early Childhood Educator

Last updated: 25 June 2015

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!