What Subjects are Needed to Become a Teacher in South Africa

On this page, we explore what Grade 10 High School subject marks/results are needed or required to study Teaching in South African Universities and Colleges (in order to become a Teacher)? We also look at what APS Score points (entry requirements for admission) are required for Teaching Degree and Diploma courses. You should know that every learning institution, internationally or locally, will have its own set of requirements for Teaching studies.


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Here’s a table summarizing key subjects and areas of study that are important for prospective teachers in South Africa, along with their significance:

Language ProficiencyEssential for communication and understanding culture. Usually includes English and another South African language.
MathematicsCritical for logical reasoning and problem-solving skills, useful in various administrative and planning tasks.
Life OrientationCovers career guidance, health, social and personal development. Equips teachers to guide students through life challenges.
Subject SpecializationNecessary to specialize depending on the teaching subject and age group, like Life Sciences for a science teacher.
Computer Applications Technology (CAT)Knowledge in using basic software and digital tools is increasingly important in modern education settings.
Social Sciences and HumanitiesHelps in developing a well-rounded world perspective, fostering empathy and engagement in diverse topics.

This table provides a concise overview of the key subjects that are crucial in the training and development of future teachers in South Africa.

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List of grade 10 -12 subjects required to study Teaching courses

Choosing to become a teacher is a meaningful decision, filled with the promise of shaping young minds and the future of a nation. In South Africa, the road to becoming a teacher is laid out through specific educational paths and subject requirements. Below we explore the crucial academic subjects required under the South African CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements) curriculum that form the foundation for aspiring teachers.

The subjects needed to become a teacher in South Africa are multifaceted, reflecting the breadth of knowledge required in the profession. Proficiency in at least two languages, usually including English, is essential, providing the basis for effective communication and cultural understanding. A solid foundation in Mathematics develops logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Life Orientation is critical as it covers a wide array of topics, from career guidance to personal development. Aspiring teachers should also have specialization in a specific subject or subjects depending on their teaching interests. Familiarity with Computer Applications Technology (CAT) is increasingly beneficial given the integration of digital tools in education. Additionally, grounding in Social Sciences and Humanities, like History, Geography, and Art, provides a broader perspective of the world, fostering empathy and engagement. These subjects provide a strong foundation for further educational training needed to become a teacher, such as a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE):

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1. Language Proficiency

Proficiency in at least two languages is essential for prospective teachers in South Africa. This usually includes English, as the medium of instruction in many South African schools, and another official South African language. Language studies develop communication skills, an understanding of culture, and the ability to convey knowledge effectively.

2. Mathematics

Mathematics is a critical subject as it forms the backbone of logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Even if you don’t plan to teach maths specifically, having a good understanding of mathematical concepts can contribute to the various administrative and planning tasks involved in teaching.

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3. Life Orientation

Life Orientation, a unique feature of the South African curriculum, covers a broad range of topics, including career guidance, health, social development, personal development, and physical education. A strong background in this subject equips future teachers with the skills to guide students through various life stages and challenges.

4. Subject Specialization

Depending on the age group and the subject you wish to teach, you will need to specialize in a specific subject(s) during your tertiary education. For example, if you aspire to be a science teacher, a strong background in Life Sciences and Physical Sciences is necessary. Similarly, a future languages teacher would need to excel in the chosen language(s).

5. Computer Applications Technology (CAT)

With the increasing integration of technology in education, having a good grasp of Computer Applications Technology (CAT) can be beneficial. This includes understanding how to use basic software applications and digital tools that are increasingly common in the classroom.

6. Social Sciences and Humanities

Subjects like History, Geography, and Art help to develop a well-rounded perspective of the world, fostering understanding, empathy, and the ability to engage students in diverse topics.

The academic subjects form only a part of the teacher’s education journey in South Africa. Prospective teachers must complete a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree or a postgraduate certificate in Education (PGCE) after completing a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject area. These qualifications focus on pedagogical skills, curriculum development, educational psychology, and teaching methodology, providing future teachers with the necessary tools to succeed in the classroom.

Becoming a teacher in South Africa requires a strong foundation in a broad range of academic subjects, coupled with a specialized tertiary education focused on pedagogy and teaching techniques. Through this combination, aspiring teachers can prepare themselves for the rewarding task of guiding the next generation’s educational journey.

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What Teaching Career is all about

A teacher’s main job is to give learners the knowledge and tools to succeed both in school and in real life. And while what you teach and who you teach it to can greatly impact what a day in the life of teaching looks like, there are a few things all teachers do

Teaching in South Africa is a very critical career choice that requires passion, commitment, tolerance, perseverance, character and the dedication to make a difference in the lives of a diverse group of younger and older children. This profession will provide you with an opportunity to nurture and mould young and growing minds and to develop a variety of vital lifelong skills in children that will be very useful in South Africa and beyond. For those who are teachers at heart, contributing to the academic and social development of children is a fulfilling experience that you should embrace. 

What is the APS Score marks/results points for Teaching

The Admission Point Score (APS) is a system used by South African universities to determine the eligibility of applicants for undergraduate programs. The APS score required for teaching programs at different universities may vary depending on the institution and the level of competition. However, here are APS Score points needed for Teaching at various Sa Universities:

  1. University of Cape Town: The APS score required for the Bachelor of Education (BEd) program at UCT is 30.
  2. University of Pretoria: The APS score required for the BEd program at UP is 26.
  3. University of the Witwatersrand: The APS score required for the BEd program at Wits is 30.
  4. University of KwaZulu-Natal: The APS score required for the BEd program at UKZN is 24.
  5. Stellenbosch University: The APS score required for the BEd program at Stellenbosch is 28.

It’s important to note that the APS score required for admission to a teaching program may be influenced by various factors, including the number of applicants, the availability of places, and the specific requirements of the program. Therefore, it’s best to consult the university website or contact the Admissions Office for the most up-to-date information on admission requirements.

Correct Subject Choice is Important

When it comes to subject choices, every learner should ensure that their subject choice (from Grade 10 already) will lead them in pursuing the careers they want.

The subject choice at the end of Grade 9, or Grade 10 according to The Department of Education, could determine the field of study learners can follow once they complete school. In other words, if learners do not select the correct combination of subjects, they could find themselves unable to enter into certain higher or further education programmes. So when making this important subject choice, learners should consider their options for when they complete school and select accordingly.

How much do Teachers Earn in South Africa in 2023

How much do Teachers Earn in South Africa
How much do Teachers Earn in South Africa in 2021 per City. Source: Indeed

How much does it cost to study Teaching?

Although every learning institution will have its own fees structure and costing, studying Teaching courses can range from R15 000 to R60 000 per annum. It is always advisable for learners to contact the institution they want to learn at in order to confirm the study fees amounts for the year.

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Where to Study Teaching in South Africa?

Many South African Universities and Colleges offer a variety of teaching courses to choose from. The most popular Institutions in teaching field are the following:

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