My daughter is fluent in Spanish. How can she get a second-level teaching job?

Teaching Council has revised subject requirements for would-be teachers

There is a shortage of Spanish teachers in the Irish education system. Photograph: iStock

There is a shortage of Spanish teachers in the Irish education system. Photograph: iStock


My daughter is finishing her degree and thinking of becoming a second-level teacher. To maximise her chances of getting a job, she says she should have two subjects when she qualifies. She’s fluent in Spanish, but her degree is in Latin. What advice do you have for her?

The first thing your daughter needs to do is ensure she gets a place on a two-year professional masters in education (PME) programme. If she secures a place, she will be assessed by the Teaching Council that she meets the criteria for registration in at least one curricular subject.

Under the council’s regulations, in order to be eligible to register as a post-primary teacher, you must secure a teaching qualification in at least one curricular subject which has been accredited by the council.

If there is any shortfall in her Latin degree credits, as they relate to the registration requirements, she will be advised and will have the two years of her PME to secure those additional credits. Upon completion of her two-year PME, she must register with the Teaching Council.

Unfortunately, only a tiny number of students study Latin in our second-level schools, so her chances of being offered a teaching post with just that subject will be quite small. On the other hand, there is a shortage of Spanish teachers. If she were to meet the criteria (including 60 credits of study and certain specific content areas, either prior to securing a PME place, or as soon as possible thereafter), she would be much more likely to secure a job offer following completion of the PME.

Spanish, along with 36 other subjects, is listed in the council’s “curricular subject requirements (Post-primary)”. In meeting the requirements for any one subject, a person is confirming that they have met the standards to teach it to the highest level at post-primary.

The council recently launched revised subject requirements and, with two exceptions (politics & society and computer science), these will take effect for all new applications for registration from January 1st, 2023.

I would recommend your daughter look at these requirements to make sure that any Spanish programme she undertakes meets the eligibility requirements for registration.

If your daughter is applying for registration prior to January 1st, 2023, the current set of subject requirements including in Spanish will apply.

The Department of Education is supporting registered teachers in upskilling in Spanish, through a part-time two-year higher diploma in Spanish for teaching in UCC. Unfortunately, funding for this course is open only to those who already hold the PME or other recognised teaching qualification.