28 July, 2023 | Posted by Jenny Smith

What Leaving Cert Points Do You Need to Become a Teacher | Pathways to Teaching with Portobello

What Leaving Cert Points Do You Need to Become a Teacher | Pathways to Teaching with Portobello

Becoming a teacher in Ireland after completing the Leaving Certificate involves several steps.

The Department of Education's Teacher Education Section oversees teacher education policy and practice for primary schools and post-primary schools.

The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for teaching and regulates the teaching profession in Ireland.

The Teaching Council produces a code of professional conduct for teachers, which covers standards of teaching, knowledge, skill and competence.

Primary School Teachers

Primary school teachers must be qualified to teach the range of primary school subjects to children aged 4 to 12 years. While points for Primary Teaching varies from year to year, in 2022, a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) at an Irish university required a minimum of 506 points.

Irish language requirements: Primary school teachers must be able to teach the Irish language and the range of primary school subjects through Irish.

Post-primary School Teachers

Post-primary teachers are normally required to teach at least one subject which they have studied to degree level.

Qualifications are usually achieved by gaining a primary degree from a recognised third-level institution with at least one subject from the post-primary schools’ curriculum for the Leaving Certificate Programme such as a BA (Hons) Physical Education to later become a PE Teacher.

Undergraduate courses like this at Portobello Institute don't require CAO points as application is done directly to the college, but in other educational institutions, an arts degree can range from 350 points and upwards depending on where you want to study.

Post-primary teachers do not need to have a qualification in the Irish language unless they are employed by a Gaeltacht school or a school where Irish is the medium of instruction.

The primary degree is usually followed by a postgraduate qualification in education such as the Professional Masters in Education (PME).

There are many ways to follow your passion and fulfil your potential as a teacher which we will outline in this article.

1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Education:

One way to become a qualified teacher in Ireland is to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Education. This is typically a four-year undergraduate program that provides you with the necessary skills, knowledge, and teaching methodologies. The points for these courses vary and depend on demand year by year. There are several universities and teacher training colleges in Ireland that offer accredited education programs. If you already have a degree or have started a degree that doesn't include Education, you can add these credits later with further studies through a PGCEi and other Post-graduate qualifications like a Master's in Education. You can also do a bachelor's degree in the subject of your choice such as a BA (Hons) in Physical Education and add the PGCEI, a Graduate Diploma in Physical Education or an MSc later to gain your teaching credentials as a PE Teacher.

2. Choose Your Teaching Subject(s):

During your education degree, you'll have the opportunity to specialise in specific teaching subjects. Depending on your interests and the level of teaching you aspire to, you can focus on primary education or a particular subject for secondary education (e.g., English, Mathematics, History, Science, Physical Education etc.).

3. Complete Teaching Practice:

As part of your education degree, you will undertake teaching practice in schools. This practical experience is essential to develop your teaching skills and classroom management techniques. It also gives you valuable exposure to real-life teaching situations.

4. Attain Recognised Teaching Qualifications:

Upon successful completion of your Bachelor's degree in Education, you will obtain recognised teaching qualifications, which are necessary to work as a teacher in Ireland.

5. Register with the Teaching Council:

To legally teach in Ireland, you must register with the Teaching Council. The Teaching Council is the professional body for teaching in Ireland and is responsible for ensuring the quality of education and professional standards of teachers.

6. Apply for Teaching Positions:

With your education degree and Teaching Council registration, you can start applying for teaching positions in primary or secondary schools, depending on your specialisation. Many teaching vacancies are advertised on education-related websites and the websites of individual schools.

7. Attend Job Interviews and Secure a Position:

As you apply for teaching positions, you will likely be called for interviews. Prepare well for these interviews, highlighting your qualifications, teaching experience, and enthusiasm for educating students. Once successful, you will be offered a teaching position in a school.

8. Induction and Probation:

Newly qualified teachers in Ireland go through a probationary period where they receive additional support and mentoring to further develop their teaching skills. This probationary period typically lasts for two years.

9. Continuous Professional Development:

Teaching is a profession that requires continuous learning and professional development. Throughout your career, you'll be encouraged to engage in further studies and attend workshops to enhance your teaching abilities and stay up-to-date with the latest educational practices.

Keep in mind that the specific requirements and procedures might vary slightly based on the subject and level of teaching you wish to pursue. It's always a good idea to check with the Teaching Council and relevant educational institutions for the most up-to-date information.

Pathways to Teaching with Portobello Institute

Portobello Institute offers a number of pathways to teaching with our Postgraduate Certificate in Education International.

Once you have obtained your BA (Hons) degree in the subject of your choice such as Physical Education or Early Childhood Studies you can then progress on your pathway to teaching with the PGCEi.

This is a postgraduate certificate, internationally recognised as an advanced level of study and qualification for those wishing to enhance their practice and advance to more senior positions in teaching and educational management, in education organisations and international schools.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (International) commonly known as a PGCEi, is an academic qualification, with a philosophy informed by the Teaching Council of Ireland and the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, UK).

Portobello Institute’s PGCEi gives you the opportunity to attain a level 9 postgraduate qualification through a flexible mode of delivery designed to fit learning around your busy working and home life.

This PGCEi programme aims to:

  • Develop informed, knowledgeable, outstanding teachers and related professionals, espousing creativity and research-informed teaching through deliberate practice.
  • Develop students’ critical reflection and reflexivity within the field of education and schooling, through analysis, synthesis and evaluation of evidence, theory and practice.
  • Enable students to access, assess and effectively apply educational research, advanced scholarship and new insights from the discipline of education (and other related disciplines) in the classroom/learning environment.
  • Develop an understanding of the factors that influence effective, inclusive curriculum design and pedagogy and impact on pupils/learners.
  • Provide opportunities for students to achieve their full academic potential at Level 9, through study encouraging self-motivation, self-awareness and application of initiative.
  • Encourage professional accountability informed by an understanding of evidence-based practice.

Entry to this postgraduate certificate is by direct application to Portobello Institute.

There are entry criteria available to students with differing qualifications however students must hold a relevant honours degree (at least 2:2) and it is preferable you work in an educational environment.

Watch our webinar below which explains Portobello Institute's pathway to PE Teaching.


If you are interested in any of our sports courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert sports advisor Jason Lester, email jason.lester@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0029. 

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