Authority to Teach

The Board may, under certain circumstances, and only if satisfied it is appropriate to do so, authorise an employer to employ an unregistered person as a teacher. In this context: 

  • an employer is an individual school; and
  • an unregistered teacher is a person who does not hold the prescribed qualifications for registration, however may have other specific knowledge, skills and experience relevant to teaching. 

The intent of issuing employers with an Authority to Teach to enable unregistered persons to be employed as teachers is to allow for employers to recruit people to teach in hard-to-fill or specialised teaching roles. A person who is employed under and Authority to teach is usually referred to as being “employed under authorisation” or “the authorised person”.

The Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory (the Board) may grant an authorisation to an employer to employ or engage an unregistered person to work as a teacher for a specific period, not exceeding one calendar year.

Anyone employed under an authorisation is subject to the provisions of the Act unless explicitly exempted in the Act. The Board must be satisfied that the person is competent and fit and proper before an authorisation is granted.

People employed as support staff (including, for example, teachers’ aides, teachers’ assistants, student teachers and unpaid volunteers) are not employed under authorisation.

The Board's policy outlines the legislative requirements, categories of authorisation that may be sought, the considerations that the Board makes when considering applications for an Authority to teach and the circumstances where repeated authorisations may be sought and administered.

Eligibility Criteria

An application for authorisation may not be made by an employer in relation to an unregistered person who is, at the time of application:

  • disqualified from registration by the Board;
  • disqualified from teaching under an authorisation by the Board;
  • suspended from registration; or
  • suspended from an authorisation.

Categories of Authorisation


Category One - Applicants who do not hold the prescribed qualification

Applicants in this category are experienced teachers and generally will have completed at least three years of tertiary education including at least one year of approved initial teacher education.

Category Two - Applicants who have specialist knowledge and skills

This category relates to people who have specific knowledge and skills required for a particular teaching position, most commonly music and language.

Category Three - Teach for Australia associates

This category relates to people who are enrolled in the Teach for Australia program and to employers seeking authorisation to employ an Associate as an unregistered person in the Northern Territory.

Category Four - Pre-service Teachers

This category relates to students who are in their fourth year of study or completing a postgraduate initial teacher education course at Charles Darwin University or Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

Category Five - Vocational Education Training (VET) Trainers

This category relates to VET Trainers who are delivering certificate courses in a school. 


Applications for authorisation are made to the Board by an employer, not by the unregistered person wishing to work as a teacher. An employer may apply to the Board for authorisation to employ an unregistered person as a teacher for a specified period of time not exceeding a calendar year. An authorisation is valid only for the employer who has been granted the authority. Where an unregistered person is to be employed under authorisation at more than one school, an application must be submitted by each employer.

To be accepted by the Board, an application for authorisation to employ an unregistered person must:

  • Be made in the approved form - Form C
  • Include all required information
  • Be accompanied by the prescribed documents
  • Be accompanied by the prescribed fee

The approved form for an application for an authorisation to employ an unregistered person is Form C. An Information guide on completing Form C can be found here. Form C is in two parts: Part A is submitted by the employer and Part B by the prospective employee. It is the responsibility of both parties to ensure all the relevant sections of the form are complete.

For the purposes of authorisation, the Board considers the Principal of the school to be the employer, regardless of human resource arrangements in any given educational sector. All responsibility to the Board in relation to authorisation to employ an unregistered person to teach lies with the Principal. Part A of Form C is to be completed by the prospective employer (i.e. the Principal).

In Part B, the person for whom the authorisation is being sought must provide the Board with the following information:

  • Personal Details
  • Qualifications
  • Professional experience and currency of practice 
  • Competence to teach
  • Evidence of professional development (if applicable)
  • English language proficiency
  • Criminal history check
  • Declarations
  • Permission to release information
  • Statutory declaration
  • Australian citizenship / residency / work visa requirements

The Board considers each application for an authorisation to employ an unregistered person in accordance with its policy.

Repeat Applications

If the Board grants an authorisation in relation to a calendar year, there is no right of renewal of the authorisation for a subsequent year. An employer may make a new application for the same authorised person if required. Refer to the Board's policy for more information about repeat applications for authorisation.

In accordance with the Professional Development Framework, all authorised persons are required to complete at least 20 hours of relevant professional development activities within a calendar year period. All applicants applying for a repeat authorisation, must provide evidence that they have met the conditions outlined in the Framework through the submission of a Professional Development Log

Employer Notification Obligations

The Board will consider requests from an employer to vary an existing authorisation within the same calendar year, for example if an authorisation is granted for a single school term and the employer wishes to extend the authorisation for the remainder of the calendar year, the employer may apply to the Board to do so. There is no fee associated with this request. Any request for variation to an authorisation must be made through the completion of Authorisation Variation: Employer Notification Form, and be received by the Board without undue delay, and prior to the authorisation period expiring. 

If, for any reason, the person to whom the authorisation has been granted resigns or otherwise ceases working for the employer, a Surrender of Authorisation Form must be received by the Board from the employer without undue delay.

An employer must notify the Board within 28 days if any of the following events occur:

  • the employer dismisses the authorised person
  • the authorised person resigns, or otherwise ceases working for the employer, in circumstances that call into question the person's competence or fitness to teach
  • the employer starts assessing, or requests another person to start assessing, the authorised person in relation to serious misconduct or fitness to teach

It is an offence if the employer fails to notify the Board of any of the above. 

Application fees

For an Initial Application for Authorisation, the new application fee applies. This fee covers the authorised person for the whole calendar year.

For a Repeat Application for Authorisation where the authorisation is to be on the same terms as the preceding calendar year a reduced fee applies. The "same terms" means the same school, teaching position, subject/s, levels and supervision arrangements as the preceding year.

For a Repeat Application for Authorisation where the authorisation is to be on different terms as the preceding calendar year, the new application fee applies. "Different terms’" means a different school, teaching position, subject/s, levels or supervision arrangements as the previous authorisation.

A repeat authorisation must be in relation to the same person for whom an authorisation was in effect during the immediate preceding calendar year (i.e. there is no break in the continuity of service).

For a request to vary an existing authorisation where the variation occurs within same calendar year as the authorisation was granted, no fees apply.

Please refer to the Fees page for more information on the applicable costs.

If you need assistance in completing an application for an authorisation to employ an unregistered person, please contact the Office of the Board.


Authority to Employ an Unregistered Person in the Northern Territory