Navigating the process of teacher registration can feel like it’s more complicated than it needs to be, especially for those new to Australia or teachers who are moving between states. (If you haven't already, check out our guide to registering as a teacher in Australia).
What is mutual recognition?
While you can register in more than one state, for the majority of teachers, having multiple current registrations wouldn’t be necessary and most will find that they will only require one current registration at any point in time. They may look to gain a new registration only if they were to move interstate or to New Zealand. This is where the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 can prove useful for teachers who may be considering working in a new state or territory.
Mutual recognition allows teachers who already hold registration in a state or territory in Australia or New Zealand to be eligible for recognition of their registration in other states and territories. For example, if you hold full registration with the Queensland College of Teachers, you are eligible to gain full registration with the Victorian Institute of Teachers. The mutual recognition process offers a shorter and easier registration process for teachers, which can be useful if you’ve just accepted a role in another state. The process also means that teachers don’t necessarily need to hold multiple registrations, as mutual recognition can be a much faster process.
Mutual recognition in New South Wales
The only exception to the Mutual Recognition Act is New South Wales. Owing to the fact that New South Wales “accredits” teachers rather than registers teachers, there is no provision for mutual recognition with the rest of Australia or New Zealand. Teachers seeking to work in NSW or who seek to work outside NSW with their accreditation must go through the full registration process that new graduates go through. If you hold full registration from outside New South Wales, you can have this recognised after you’ve completed the full application process with NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority). For more information about applying to teach in NSW from interstate, see the information provided below.
While the other states and territories of Australia and New Zealand offer mutual recognition, it is important to consult the governing body of each jurisdiction to find out the exact requirements for mutual recognition. Below are some places to start gathering information in each jurisdiction and each governing body has dedicated support staff to help you navigate which application process is correct for your personal circumstances.
Why may you register in more than one state?
Registering in more than one state can come in handy for those working in areas that straddle state borders – Albury-Wodonga on the border of NSW and Victoria, and Coolangatta-Tweed Heads on the Queensland/NSW border spring to mind. Teachers working in these areas find it useful to hold both states’ teaching licenses, allowing them to work in any school within these areas. For other teachers, holding multiple teaching registrations – while possible – can be expensive, particularly with multiple annual fees to keep all registrations current and yearly registration fees vary from state to state.
Teachers seeking to hold multiple current registrations will be looking at paying an application fee for each registration as well as the annual fee for each of these which can cost possibly hundreds of dollars or more. The exception for this is Victoria and New South Wales - for those who are an accredited teacher in NSW and wish to work in Victoria, the Victorian Institute of Teaching will waiver their annual registration fees while the teacher maintains accreditation in NSW. This is a reciprocal agreement that allows teachers who live near the NSW-Victorian border to be able to work in both states and only pay one annual fee.
Mutual recognition state by state
Australian Capital Territory
For comprehensive information about all aspects of registering to teach in the ACT, consult the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, where you can gain information on what type of registration is right for you. Don’t forget that teachers in the ACT will also need to hold a Working with Vulnerable People Card in addition to their teaching registration.
New South Wales
NESA – Interstate Teachers provides teachers with important information when applying for NESA accreditation. There is particularly useful information for Queensland and WA teachers.
Form B – Application for NT Teacher Registration under Mutual Recognition outlines the process for teachers from all states, territories and New Zealand except teachers coming from NSW. Teachers from NSW will need to use Form A. Don’t forget that teachers in the NT will also need to hold an Ochre Card before commencing your registration application.
The Queensland College of Teachers offers a fact sheet on Mutual Recognition as well as online forms and information found on applying for Mutual Recognition. NSW teachers should contact the QCT directly for more information.
Application for Registration under Mutual Recognition covers both information and the application forms required for this type of registration. Teachers from NSW should contact the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia directly.
Applying for Teacher Registration under Mutual Recognition outlines the process for teachers, as well as information for teachers from NSW. Teachers in Tasmania will also need to hold a registration to work with vulnerable people, in addition to their teaching registration. Applications for registration can be made via TRB Online.
Complete the Application to VIT under Mutual Recognition form (excludes NSW teachers) and teachers who wish to be registered in both NSW and Victoria can apply for a Waiver of Fees.
The WA Teacher Registration Board has information about the process and the application form can be downloaded here. Teachers in WA will also need a Working with Children Check.
Information can be found at NZ Education Council – Overseas Teachers.