Principal and continuing, in-service teacher training in Austria reflects the different types of primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, as well as the relative vocational, technical, and academic emphases which they pursue. In addition, teacher-education training includes preparation of preprimary educators and noninstructional educational staff. Admission to teachereducation programs requires the Reifeprüfung, or its equivalent, and special aptitude tests in some cases.
Preprimary teachers are prepared in Kindergarten Teacher-Training Colleges. The three-year course of study ends with a teaching certification.
Teachers in primary, lower secondary, special-needs schools, and the pre-vocational year are trained in Teacher Training Colleges. The teacher-training colleges are also centers for educational research and hence prepare non-instructional educational staff. Student teaching is supervised in schools that are affiliated with the colleges. Vocational teachers at the secondary and postsecondary level combine a high degree of pedagogical, subject-specific, and vocational expertise in their field. They are prepared in Vocational Teacher-Training Colleges.
Teachers in academic secondary schools are university-trained. The minimum course of study is nine semesters, which includes practice teaching. Candidates are required to earn a second diploma in a subject area and to complete a probationary teaching period. The qualifications for university teaching staff vary considerably, but generally require a minimum qualification of a first degree (Diplom) for instructors. Advancement to the rank of professor requires an earned doctorate and requires a further, advanced documentation of significant scholarly, scientific, or creative accomplishment (Habilitation). Candidates for professorships are called berufen by the university.
Austria recognizes tenure. Austrian teachers are civil servants. Salary and benefits issues are therefore negotiated between the government and the trade union that represents most teachers, the Public Service Union. In 1999 the average monthly salary for teachers was less than one percent higher than the average for civil servants in general. The salary for university teachers was approximately 30 percent above the average for civil servants, and the salary for school administrative staff was almost 80 percent higher. The Austrian Research Information Service (AURIS) offers comprehensive access to educational research.
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