Secondary school teacher

In addition to teaching individual subjects, the role of secondary school teachers is to train students in disciplined and independent work methods and critical thinking, as well as preparing them for further studies, jobs in the business world and active participation in a democratic society. Secondary school teacher is a legally protected job title.

Secondary school teachers specialize in teaching certain subjects. The work involves extensive collaboration with students, other teachers and staff of schools and related institutions and some collaboration with parents of students up to the age of 18.

Main tasks

• planning study periods and preparing lessons
• preparing study materials
• submitting material in the form of lectures, discussions, group work and practical exercises
• reviewing and grading assignments, theses and exams
• managing assessment and exams
• assisting students in their studies
• keeping up to date in their field of specialization
• tracking students’ attendance
• participating in school development and the shaping of school work

Competence requirements

Secondary school teachers receive a work permit from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and must have completed a master’s degree at university level. Working as a secondary school teacher, it is important to have good interpersonal skills and to have ambition and interest in education and school work. It is important to realize the importance of factors such as equality in education and the role of teachers as role models for students. It is necessary to have good computer skills and to keep up with innovations regarding the job.


There are several legal ways to become a secondary school teacher:

A master’s degree from a university, in a recognized field of study
• A degree equivalent to a master’s degree
• A master’s degree in a trade that is applicable for teaching at the secondary level and a minimum of 60 credits in educational studies and pedagogy
• A validated final exam in an art, technology or trade subject that is applicable for teaching at the secondary level The study program completed must correspond to 270–300 credits, of which a minimum of 60 must be in educational studies and pedagogy.

Different study programs for validation as a secondary school teacher are taught at the School of Education at the University of Iceland, the Faculty of Education at the University of Akureyri and the Art Teaching Faculty of the Academy of the Arts.

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