Schools How to become a casual relief teacher in Victoria

Thinking about becoming a casual relief teacher (CRT)? Great choice! Get ready to join the best workforce in the state – with the best union in Australia (in our humble opinion).

The Australian Education Union has negotiated for CRTs employed directly by public schools to get much higher pay rates than those in the Award.

Here’s our guide to becoming a CRT in Victoria.


What are casual relief teachers?

Casual relief teachers (CRTs) – sometimes referred to as substitute teachers – are qualified teachers who work in schools on a casual, relief or emergency basis.

School councils can employ CRTs for periods of up to 30 consecutive working days for a range of reasons, including:

  • to replace a teacher absent on leave
  • to replace a teacher undertaking other duties or professional development
  • to undertake a specific task or activity that requires a registered teacher.

Find out more here.


What do CRTs get paid?

The Australian Education Union has negotiated for casual relief teachers employed directly by public schools to get much higher rates of pay than the minimum Award rates for casual teachers.

If hired through an agency, a CRT rates are governed by an Award.

The union-negotiated rate for CRTs employed directly by a public school (through a school council and not through an agency) is shown in the table below.

The union rate is $90 per day higher than the minimum Award rate, and approximately $30 a day higher than the typical agency rate (as at January 2024).

As a CRT, you must be employed for a minimum of three hours at a time. Relief teachers in Victoria also have a maximum daily rate, which equates to 6 hours of work.

Pay rates for casual relief teachers in Victoria 2024–2025

Date Hourly rate Daily rate
1/1/2024 $68.88 $413.28
1/7/2024 $69.57 $417.41
1/1/2025 $70.26 $421.58
1/7/2025 $70.97 $425.80

Source: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/hrweb/employcond/Pages/salaries.aspx


Step 1: Gain your teaching qualifications

For those interested in relief teaching in Melbourne and Victoria, you require the same training and qualifications as any other classroom teacher.

This is either a four-year Bachelor of Education, or some combination of a double degree or bachelor’s degree followed by postgraduate study that is an approved initial teacher education course (ITE).

Here is a full list of ITE-approved courses.


Step 2: Join your union

The Australian Education Union (AEU) represents 185,000 staff working in public education across Australia.

When you join the AEU, you become part of a vibrant, diverse community of fellow educators.

Our aim is to support you to be the best teacher you can be. The AEU offers high-quality professional development opportunities, expert advice, discounted shopping, and loads of other member benefits.

Membership is entirely free for anyone training to be a teacher, so join now!


Step 3: Register as a teacher

All teachers in Victoria must obtain registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching before they can begin teaching.

CRTs don’t have their own category for registration, and can apply for either provisional or full registration, depending on experience. Here is an overview of each category:

Provisional Registration
Provisional registration is generally for recent graduates and those re-entering the industry after an extended break.

It covers those who can demonstrate their teaching qualifications, but have not taught for 80 days in the past five years and who can’t demonstrate proficiency in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

Full Registration
Full registration is for teachers who can demonstrate their teaching qualifications, and have taught for a minimum of 80 days in the past five years, and have met the APST at the proficient level.

More info on registration requirements for teachers in Victoria.


Step 4: Find work

Once you have gained your accreditation to work as a casual relief teacher in Victoria, you’re ready to look for work. There are two main ways to find a job:

Reach out to schools directly
The best guarantee of receiving the full rate of pay available for CRTs is to be employed directly by the school.

Feel free to give schools a call or drop in with your CV. You can also use apps such as ClassCover or CanUWork to find and book work, and set up job alerts, and the responsibility for employment remains with schools.

Use an agency
CRTs can also use an agency to find work, though the agency will usually only pay the Award rate and also take a percentage of your daily rate as a finder’s fee.

If you do opt to sign up with an agency, read your contract carefully as many agencies seek to lock you in to using their services. This might stop you accepting any direct offers from a school, including an extended employment contract.


Step 5: Maintain your professional development

All casual relief teachers in Victoria with full registration must complete at least 20 hours of professional development each year to maintain their registration. This can include seminars, conferences, workshops, and online learning, and must be in line with the APST.

Learn more about professional development requirements.

The AEU provides free professional learning opportunities as a benefit of union membership. AEU training and events are open to all CRT members, along with CRT-specific professional learning opportunities.

The union has negotiated for additional funding from the department to provide PD free of charge to CRTs. In the most recent negotiations, union members won an increase of $1 million per year! Head to CRTPD to see these free training options.


Things to remember when applying for jobs

Contact info: Make sure you contact information is always clear and current.

Your availability: Make sure schools can easily see your availability.

Your work history: List any previous relevant work experience. If you’re new to teaching, include in-school prac placements or any work experience related to the role. Have you been a babysitter, a coach, or a tutor? It’s all worth a mention!

Qualifications and PD: Include any relevant qualifications and training courses you have completed.


Join our CRT network!

As a casual teacher, it’s so important to have good networks when you need support or advice.

The AEU has a strong and active network of CRT members who stay connected through the union.

We also have a reciprocal relationship with the Independent Education Union, so you will still be covered if working across the public and private systems.

Join our CRT Facebook group.


Other useful links

More on the AEU’s advocacy for CRTs.

Free CRT training webinars for AEU members.

See all of our CRT-related stories.

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