Professional Experience is the essential link between theory and practice to help you step into the classroom with confidence.
Where can I complete my Professional Experience?
Most pre-service teachers will be allocated a placement within 90 minutes travel time from their home address.
Locations depend on what you're studying and which sites have offered placements.
Unless there are special circumstances, each of your placements will be in a different location.
Regional and remote
Regional, rural and remote Queensland
Regional, rural and remote placements can be a valuable opportunity to experience a different school setting.
There is financial and accommodation assistance available at some locations to help you undertake this experience.
If you're interested in a regional, rural or remote placement, get in contact with the Professional Experience team as soon as you enrol in the professional experience unit or check InPlace for currently available opportunities.
States and territories other than Queensland
Pre-service teachers need to be aware that interstate placements are very competitive and can take some time to organise.
If you're hoping to secure an interstate placement, please speak to the Professional Experience team.
More information about placements outside Queensland can be found below.
Occasionally overseas institutions invite QUT students to apply for Professional Experience opportunities. Students can also organise their own international placements, however please speak to the Professional Experience team first.
More information about international placements is available from HiQ.
Before you start your placement
There are a few things you need to have organised well before placement starts. If you don't, you may have to withdraw from the subject which could delay you completing your degree.
To undertake professional experience, you must have a GPA of 4.0 or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, the professional experience team will need to decide if you can enrol in the unit.
Before your final professional experience, you must have passed LANTITE. We recommend that BEd students take this test after their first year, and MTeach students take it after their first semester.
Make sure your contact details and address are up to date. We will use your current residential address to assist in finding an appropriate placement.
In Queensland, anyone working with children under 18 years old must undergo a criminal history check and posses a Blue Card. These are issued by the Queensland Government Blue Card Services and are valid for 3 years.
Before you start your placement, you MUST have your Blue Card, AND have your Blue Card registered with QUT Student Services.
You must apply for a Blue Card at least 10 weeks before placement starts.
If you haven't applied for a new Blue Card or renewal 10 weeks before placements begin, we will not source a placement for you.
If your placement is in another state or country, you will also need to undergo a Working With Children Check with the relevant authority and register this with HiQ.
Do any of these situations apply to you? Could they affect your ability to participate fully in your placement? If so, please read more about making a disclosure on HiQ.
- a disability, injury, health condition (permanent, temporary, episodic or fluctuating)
- religious or cultural considerations
- difficult personal circumstances
You are expected to recognise and let us know of any potential conflicts of interest, such as:
- A spouse, partner, family member or close friend is employed at the site
- Your own children, or children of family members are enrolled at the site
- You are already employed at the site in any capacity, including teachers aide, OSHC worker, music / drama / sports tuition
You will not normally be placed at a site where you have identified a potential conflict of interest.
Report any potential conflicts of interest to the Professional Experience team. Failing to report may jeopardise your placement.
Before you start your placement, you need to be familiar with your rights, responsibilities and safety. Please read the following:
Prior to starting your placement you need to start planning your goals and objectives for the placement. You will need to provide these goals, along with your contact details, to your Site Coordinator, Supervising Teacher and University Partner as soon as you have been allocated a placement site.
Pre-service teachers must have a Professional Practice Folder for each Professional Experience placement they undertake. This must be a physical folder which must be made available to their Site Coordinator, Supervising Teacher and University Partner as requested. The pre-service teacher must keep this folder up to date on a daily basis.
Finding a placement
In most circumstances, a placement will be found for you. If you wish to complete your professional experience anywhere outside Southeast Queensland, please contact the Professional Experience team as soon as possible.
All placements within Greater Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are organised by the Professional Experience team. Please don't contact a school or site yourself, unless we have asked you to.
Unless other arrangements have been made, you will be allocated a placement according your home address.
Approximately 2 weeks before your placement begins, you'll be notified of your placement and site contact details via InPlace.
We will do our best to find you a placement within a reasonable travelling time, however, please be aware that placements are limited, and you may be required to travel up to 90 minutes each way from your home address.
Regional, rural and remote placements are those outside of the Brisbane metro area, Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.
External students living in regional, rural and remote settings will be placed within reasonable proximity to their residential address as listed with QUT, and these will not be considered regional, rural and remote placements and do not require an application form; for example an external student lives in Cairns and is placed in Cairns.
You can undertake your pre-service placement in a regional, rural and remote setting if you have the following:
- A GPA of 4+
- Satisfactory Final Reports from previous professional studies units
- Ability to financially support yourself for travel, accommodation and living expenses
- A flexible attitude and can demonstrate a willingness to adjust to different experiences
- Flexibility with teaching area requirements in some settings
Regional, rural and remote placements cannot be undertaken by internal students on their first Professional Experience Placement.
How to apply
Opportunities to complete your placement in remote locations will be listed on InPlace, however you can also complete the form below and we'll try to find a placement for you.
To apply, please submit an application form as soon as you enrol in the Professional Experience unit.
Accommodation and travel costs
You are responsible for organising all accommodation and travel, along with any associated costs. Regional, rural and remote sites sometimes provide accommodation for free or at a nominal cost. (The Professional Experience team will confirm any availability prior to the placement being confirmed.) If you have family or friends who can offer accommodation in regional, rural and remote settings, please include this on your application form.
Grants, bursaries and incentives
Beyond the Range - Professional Experience Grants
This grant from Teach Queensland is available for high achieving pre-service teachers. For more information visit teach.qld.gov.au
QUT Alumni Rural and Remote Bursary
This bursary assist with travel and accommodation costs associated with rural and remote placements. Successful applicants will be required to work wth QUT to promote the opportunities and experiences available in rural and remote settings.
- QUT Alumni Rural and Remote Bursary Criteria (PDF file, 21.8 KB)
- QUT Alumni Rural and Remote Bursary Application form (PDF file, 59.0 KB)
Rural Practicum Incentives
The Isolated Children's Parents' Association of Queensland offers incentives to pre-service teachers completing rural placements. A list of these incentives can be found at qld.icpa.com.au however please check with the Professional Experience team first before making contact.
Interstate placements are any placement outside of Queensland, including:
- External students living in a state/territory other than Queensland and completing professional experience in that state/territory
- Students who reside in Queensland but wish to undertake professional experience in another state/territory
How to apply
To apply, please submit an application form as soon as you enrol in the Professional Experience unit.
Your application must be received at least 6 weeks before the PEx begins.
You must also apply for the relevant Working with Children Check for that state or territory. Make sure you apply at least 8 weeks before placement is due to start, and send confirmation that you've obtained this to the PEx team at least 2 weeks before placement is due to start.
Find out more about interstate Working With Children Checks:
You can undertake an international Professional Experience if you meet the following criteria:
- Minimum GPA of 5.0 or above
- The majority (at least 51%) of your supervised Professional Experience must be undertaken in an Australian setting
- Satisfactory results for all previous Professional Experiences
- You have a current blue card
- You have the capacity to pay for all your expenses, such as travel, accommodation, living expenses and extra insurance if necessary
- This is not your first or final placement as a QUT student
You will need to source the placement yourself through direct contact with schools, and in conjunction with the PEx team.
The school must:
- Teach in the English language
- Not be declared as a risk destination - check the Smart Traveller website
- Provide a registered teacher as your supervisor
You will need to organise, if applicable:
- Blue Card and equivalent for your destination
- International student card
- International insurance
- Travel vaccinations
- Airport taxes
How to apply
You will need to complete an application form, however as a first step, contact the PEx team.
While you're on placement
Find out what will be expected of you before you begin your placement.
Professional Experience is a full-time commitment. You are required to attend the site for a full 'school/work' day, or the same duration as your supervising teacher. This may be 45 minutes before school starts for the day, and 45 minutes after school finishes. Check with your placement site what hours they expect you to start and finish.
Hours cannot be varied because of work arrangements, childcare or other responsibilities. You will need to make other arrangements for work and personal commitments during your placement.
To meet the requirements of teacher registration, you must complete all days of professional experience.
If for any reason, you can't make it to your placement, you must:
- Notify the principal or site coordinator and the supervising teacher by 8am (or another time specified by the school)
- Supply a medical certificate if you're absent for more than one day
- Negotiate make up days with the supervising teacher and/or site coordinator
- Inform the Professional Experience team and university partner of any days missed and the arrangements made for make up days
If you are absent for more than five days, you will be withdrawn from your placement.
Pupil free days
If a pupil free day falls within your placement period, you will either need to attend (and take part in the programs that are running that day) or arrange an alternative make-up day.
If a public holiday falls within your placement period, you will need to arrange an alternative make-up day.
As soon as you receive your placement allocation, you are to make contact with your university partner and site coordinator and provide them your Goal Setting Sheet with your contact details.
Communication with QUT
Your assigned university partner is your first point of contact. Their details can be found on InPlace.
If you experience any problem, contact your university partner as soon as possible. If you can't get in contact with your university partner, contact the Professional Experience team.
Communication with your placement site
Discuss with your site coordinator or supervising teacher the best way to make contact outside of working hours.
Your standard of dress and grooming should be professional. Many sites allow smart casual dress, however check with your placement site. Some sites will have strict dress codes and rules for:
- visible tattoos
- body piercings
- jeans and t-shirts
- types of footwear
- hair style and/or colour
Be aware that every site has the right to accept or reject a placement based on that site's personal presentation and dress standards.
Each placement requires interim and final reports to be completed.
These reports must be completed by the supervising teacher, however it is your responsibility to ensure that they are completed and submitted via Blackboard. If you have multiple supervising teachers during your placement, they must all collaborate to complete and sign one interim and final report.
There are separate reports for those undertaking a Primary Specialisation.
The progression tables specify how much teaching and other professional activities you should be undertaking while on placement. Both you and your supervising teacher need to be familiar with your progression table in order to plan your placement.
Your placement site will have a Workplace Health and Safety Policy and a Risk Management Policy. Please familiarise yourself with these. You may be asked to sign to show that you understand these policies. Some sites may require you to attend training.
You have a responsibility to report all hazards, incidents, near misses, injuries and illnesses while on Professional Experience. You must inform your Supervising Teacher, University Partner and the Professional Experience Office, and then report it via QUT's online incident reporting system, the HSE Hub.
If you encounter any form of discrimination, talk to your supervising teacher (if appropriate), then with the site coordinator if the practice does not stop. You must also contact your university partner.
You can also contact QUT Equity Officers on (07) 3138 2699. They will talk through your options with you.
Duty of care
Your supervising teacher has a legal responsibility for the physical and intellectual wellbeing of their students at all times. However, should harm come to any student through your negligence or poor judgment, you (and your supervising teacher) could be held responsible, especially if such harm could have been reasonably foreseen.
If your supervising teacher isn't with you and the class, you must know where they are and be able to call on them.
If you're working with potentially hazardous materials (even a sharp pencil in a student's mouth is a potential hazard), you need to take particular care. Always exercise professional judgement.
Schools and centres deal with confidential information about students and their families. You are expected to maintain this confidentiality at all times. It is a serious breach if confidentiality is broken.
If a student tells you personal information about experiencing sexual assault, neglect or abuse, you may have legal obligations to report it.
Your site will have a policy and procedure which you must follow. Report to your site coordinator that a student has made a disclosure to you (but not the student's name or details the students shared with you).
Abuse of confidentiality and/or criticism of site personnel in a defamatory way could result in a civil court action taken against you by a person who believes they have been defamed.
Your site will have procedures for disciplining students, which you must follow. Corporal punishment is illegal in Queensland schools.
Relationships with students
Teachers have a significant duty of care for all students. Relationships established with students must be based on respect and trust, placing the best interests of the student first.
It is NEVER appropriate for you to engage in a personal relationship with a student even after the Professional Experience has been completed. This would be a significant abuse of the trust placed in the site community (including pre-service teachers) by a student's family. Legislation has been passed to comprehensively protect students from sexual abuse and other inappropriate conduct by those working with children.
Code of conduct
Teachers working in educational settings are bound by the relevant code of conduct which shapes and guides the standards of practice required of teachers. The Queensland College of Teachers determines that individuals working in Queensland schools are fit and suitable to teach. Any serious legal infringement may result in failure to be registered with the Queensland College of Teachers and therefore not able to teach in Queensland schools.
If you choose not to continue
If you decide not to complete your placement, you need to do the following:
- Immediately inform the Professional Experience team, your school site coordinator, your university partner and your unit coordinator
- If you are withdrawing from the unit, you will need to withdraw via QUT Virtual. Depending on dates of withdrawal there will likely be academic and/or financial penalties.
- Contact Student Support for course progression advice at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your placement site chooses not to continue
Sites can choose to discontinue a placement for a variety of reasons, some of which may not be related to a pre-service teacher's conduct. QUT's response will depend on the circumstances around the site's decision. If the circumstances are entirely out of your control, QUT will try to find a new placement. It's likely however that the placement will need to be repeated in full. Due to the limited number of placements available, it is also possible that another placement may not be able to be found until the following semester in which the unit is offered.
Sites can also choose to discontinue the placement if you breach the QUT Student Code of Conduct, or if the site considers on reasonable grounds that your conduct is inappropriate or unsuitable. If this happens, the site coordinator will contact QUT and you will be instructed not to attend. In most cases the pre-service teacher will receive a failing grade for the unit. Other disciplinary actions may also be taken in accordance with university rules.
Professional Experience is a very busy time and you may need to juggle many professional and personal demands while completing your placement. Below are a number of support services available to you.
Each pre-service teacher undertaking Professional Experience is allocated a university partner. Their role is to support you (and your supervising teacher) while you are on placement. Your university partner is familiar with the day to day classroom challenges that you may encounter. It is your responsibility to make contact with them and to take advantage of their support. You will find their contact details on InPlace.
The University's Counselling Service provides a professional, confidential and free counselling service to pre-service teachers. Professional Experience can become a stressful time for a number of reasons. Making those times less stressful is a major goal of the counselling staff at QUT.
If you have a disability/medical condition, you can discuss your situation with a Disability Officer to find out what additional support or arrangements can be provided.
Equity Services are dedicated to promoting equal opportunities and support for all students.
QUT Medical Centre provides quality health and medical services, information and advice to all students.
If you are experiencing financial hardship during Professional Experience, you may be able to access some financial assistance.
Pre-service teachers on QUT approved course related placements (both domestic and overseas) are covered (subject to certain limitations) under QUT's insurance coverage.
If you have an accident at the site, or on a site-related activity away from the site, you are required to report it to the school/centre administration immediately and log it on QUT’s HSE HUB. Once you log your incident on the HSE HUB, you will receive an incident number. You must report your incident and provide the incident number to the Professional Experience Manager and your University Partner.
Pre-service teachers who are participating in work experience or professional trips of their own volition need to organise their own insurance. You are also advised to discuss the site's insurance cover prior to undertaking voluntary work experience.
If any more details are required they are available on request from email@example.com.
Obtaining Permission to Teach is a process that is initiated by an employing authority or school when they have met the requirements to apply as set by the Queensland College of Teachers. Although at any time a request can be made for someone (a QUT Faculty of Education student) to obtain permission to teach, the Faculty of Education does not support these applications. With the QUT Faculty of Education course structure as it is, students are expected to complete their final Professional Experience placement and unit followed by their QTPA and often other academic units before they have met all the course requirements for graduation which would be directly in conflict with a student working as a teacher on Permission to Teach.
Support for students on professional experience
Grant-Smith, Deanna, Gillett-Swan, Jenna, & Chapman, Renee (2017) WIL Wellbeing: Exploring the Impacts of Unpaid Practicum on Student Wellbeing. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Perth, WA.
Grant-Smith, Deanna, de Zwaan, Laura, Chapman, Renee, & Gillett-Swan, Jenna (2018) ‘It’s the worst, but real experience is invaluable’: Pre-service teacher perspectives of the costs and benefits of professional experience. In Heck, Deborah & Ambrosetti, Angelina (Eds.) Teacher education in and for uncertain times. Springer, Singapore, pp. 15-33.