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Online EEVblog

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Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« on: March 03, 2020, 09:52:30 am »
I've been pointing out for decades the uselessness of Engineers Australia (formally Institute of Engineers Australia) and how hardly anyone in the electronics industry bother to join.
Well, my brother in law Dr Phil (the patent attorney) decided to try and join for regular member status as a Professional Engineer, and oh boy, the fun!  :popcorn:

He has a done 3 year undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Technology (Optoelectronics)) which was accredited at the time as being at the Engineering Technologist level, which is what all 3 year engineers degrees are accredited as, fair enough.
But he has also done a 4th year Honours degree qualification at with both a research & thesis component, and won the JC Ward prize for Excellence in Third Year Physics (achieving the maximum possible GPA of 4.00). So very the equivalent of any straight 4 years engineering degree.
Then he completed a Ph.D (Physics Research) in a globally recognised field of engineering (laser/optical engineering).
Then of course he has many years experience as a patent attorney specifically in the field of assessing the feasibility of engineering designs.

So what does Engineers Australia award him with? The 3 year Engineering Technologist level membership!  :palm:
Even on appeal he lost the case to get just regular Professional Engineer status that any 4 year degree schmuck can get.

It'd be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 09:54:02 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2020, 10:35:20 am »
So what does Engineers Australia award him with? The 3 year Engineering Technologist level membership!  :palm:

Sounds like a government organisation. Oh I could tell you some stories!

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 10:42:27 am »
I'm not going to comment on the organisations or individuals involved, since they are outside my knowledge. I will make a few general points based on what I have glimpsed elsewhere.

Above all, all people and organisations are imperfect; how imperfections are addressed is a key consideration.

Most organisations have memberships that are based on "standard" career paths, but with escape routes for those that have followed a non-conventional path. IMHO it is reasonable that the non-conventional path should have more hurdles, since their "unfamiliar" achievements cannot be as easily assessed and understood. Familiarity does breed trust, whether or not it is justified.

Engineering organisations tend to have two components to their membership requirements: academic and practical in industry. IMNSHO both are necessary. If either part isn't directly relevant to the membership, that should have to be a problem that has to be overcome. But there should be a route by which it can be overcome, by visibly directly relevant experience. Invisible experience or experience validated by people not "known" to be "trustworthy" has to be of little value in this respect.

I've seen somebody denied IEE (now IET) membership because they moved out of hands-on engineering and into engineering management too soon. On balance I think that was right.

I've also seen somebody with an astounding theoretical understanding of an eclectic set of topics, coupled with a strong ability to put that theoretical knowledge into practice. Since they had never had the opportunity to go to university, they weren't able to satisfy that part of the membership requirements. Very regrettable, but understandable. Fortunately the people they were working with were very appreciative of their skills, so the consequences were minimal.

Summary: it ain't easy to correctly assess and include/exclude the outliers.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 10:45:37 am by tggzzz »
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Online EEVblog

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 12:07:19 pm »
Engineering organisations tend to have two components to their membership requirements: academic and practical in industry. IMNSHO both are necessary. If either part isn't directly relevant to the membership, that should have to be a problem that has to be overcome.

Sure, but in the case of any standard 4 year EE degree already recognised by Engineers Australia, they automatically get Graduate level membership at the Professional Engineer level, which is actually above the 3 year level Phil was offer with his 4 years degree, PhD, and work experience. And then, IIRC, you just need a few years work experience doing almost anything before you virtually automatically get Professional Level status if you have that accredited course.
This is different to Chartered Engineer which is harder. 
 

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 12:15:54 pm »
Summary: it ain't easy to correctly assess and include/exclude the outliers.

Not hard to asses the "outlier" in this case. The degree and PhD are from Macquarie University here in Sydney, not exactly Zagazig university (yes, that's real BTW) they know nothing about.
Trivial to see that was in the end a 4 year degree program with both thesis and research, and then you throw in a (practical) PhD in laser optics and it all becomes quite comical that someone at that level is assessed as being on the same level as someone with a 3 year technology diploma.

They have "accredited" courses for a reason, it's so if you did that course you get automatically in at that level. And this is why they have assessments for those that didn't do an accredited course, but in this case they have assessed it and come to this ridiculous conclusion.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 12:20:09 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline angrybird

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 12:29:52 pm »
Quite frankly, if there is not a practical (application with experience) aspect to this requirement, then it doesn't sound legitamate, and maybe your brother in law should wear this as a badge of honor!  He could go to the next meetup event with a t-shirt that reads "I went to engineering school for 4 years + got a PhD and all they gave me was this technologist badge"  :-DD
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Offline philaburns

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2020, 05:30:12 am »
Hi All - the "not an Engineer" here.  I think I will get one of those T-shirts and wear it along to a few EA events for kicks ;-)

After I had a blast at their initial "you didn't do pure engineering" assessment response, I got back a terse "your qualifications are more appropriate to a career Scientist than to a Professional Engineer"! 

Perhaps someone could try to explain this difference to me bc their attempt to do so sucks, i.e. "an unpredicted outcome means failure for an engineer whereas it is not necessarily so for a scientist".  They have also said that designing a further study plan to demonstrate Prof Eng. competency, given my "high qualifications would be no easy task".   

In response, I have asked them directly what does a 4 yr engineering student receive that a 3yr Eng. Tech. plus honours student doesn't.   I will post their reply if they bother to do so, but would also welcome any reasonable attempt by this community at describing the differences here....
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 05:38:32 am »
Similar bullshit in China. When a company (not all, but quite a few) hires a person, they look at his first degree. They don't care where did you have your PhD or MS as long as it is not a completely unfamiliar name, instead they look more into where did you get your BS degree.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 07:46:54 am »
This sort of crap doesn't just happen to  EEs.

Back in the day, the requirement for technical jobs above a certain level in Commercial TV broadcasting was the "Television Operator's Certificate of Proficiency."(Don't let the word "operator's" mislead you, it was a technical exam at quite a high level)
The normal way to obtain this was to roll up on one of a few days a year & do the exam.
The "Broadcast Operator's Certificate of Proficiency" was one of the recognised prerequisites for this exam.

I worked in the PMG/Telecom Aust, who at that time, operated all the TV & Broadcast transmitters for the ABC.
In govt organisations we didn't have to possess either of those certificates, as we had internal qualifications which were regarded as equal.
If we left & went to the Private sector,  we needed to get the BOCP & TVOCP, though.


When I left & went to the Private Sector, the Boss wanted me to get the TVOCP.

One problem, the licensing authority had passed it all over to TAFE, who proceeded as usual, to make a total "balls" of it!

It was now a 4 year night school course (if they decided to run units in any one year) so, instead of one
exam that anyone who knew the material could pass, you had to have passes for all subjects over that course, or exemptions.
The BOCP was listed as an exemption for some of the subjects
Luckily I had a BOCP, which, I had obtained, "just in case", during my last few years with Telecom Aust.
"All good" said TAFE.

Many years before, I had done some of the other subjects, but allowing for the advance in technology, elected to do them again.
Eventually, after many "fits & starts", having completed all the  subjects, or so I thought, I applied for my certificate.
The bloke handling it was off sick for months, & when he finally got back, told me I would have to do two more years re-learning stuff they had told me the BOCP exemption covered.

I told them to stick it "where the sun don't shine"!

By that time, the TV industry had lost interest in the TVOCP, as TAFE had done such a poor job.
It eventually just "faded away"---- I never saw any official announcement, it suddenly wasn't there!
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 08:44:40 am by vk6zgo »
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2020, 08:33:55 am »
Perhaps someone could try to explain this difference to me bc their attempt to do so sucks, i.e. "an unpredicted outcome means failure for an engineer whereas it is not necessarily so for a scientist".  They have also said that designing a further study plan to demonstrate Prof Eng. competency, given my "high qualifications would be no easy task".   

 :-DD

Quote
In response, I have asked them directly what does a 4 yr engineering student receive that a 3yr Eng. Tech. plus honours student doesn't.   I will post their reply if they bother to do so, but would also welcome any reasonable attempt by this community at describing the differences here....

That would need a side-by-side comparison of actual classes taken, preferably in comparison to other Macquarie uni classes in certified EE degrees.
I don't understand how one can go onto a PhD in engineering physics if you don't have a suitable 4 year degree to begin with  :-// You certainly can't do such a PhD with only a 3 year qualification which they say yours is effectively equivalent to.
 

Online ebastler

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2020, 09:26:20 am »
But he has also done a 4th year Honours degree qualification at with both a research & thesis component [...]
Then he completed a Ph.D (Physics Research) [...]

Maybe they argue that physics is not engineering? Being a physicist myself, I kind of agree. <prejudice> Physicists can do everything, but nothing quite right. Engineers know how to apply what they learned, in a defined field, properly, by the book. </prejudice>

Quote
Then of course he has many years experience as a patent attorney specifically in the field of assessing the feasibility of engineering designs.

Now that would be a first. Since when have patent attorneys (or examiners) been concerned with technical feasibility? In my experience, drafting a patent application is mainly about describing a concept in the most general terms you can get away with, while making sure that your terminology is consistent.
 
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2020, 09:37:35 am »
Similar bullshit in China. When a company (not all, but quite a few) hires a person, they look at his first degree. They don't care where did you have your PhD or MS as long as it is not a completely unfamiliar name, instead they look more into where did you get your BS degree.

The subject matter of a first degree should be general and enable someone to know how to learn (and continue learning) what the need for any specific job.

The subject matter in a PhD should be very detailed, specific and is unlikely to be directly relevant to any given job.

Hence it is unsurprising that a PhD is of less interest to companies. Indeed, while working in an industrial R&D lab, we came to the conclusion that there are many invalid reasons for doing a PhD (e.g. money, career advancement, status), and only one valid reason: because you want to.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2020, 09:51:08 am »
The subject matter of a first degree should be general and enable someone to know how to learn (and continue learning) what the need for any specific job.

The subject matter in a PhD should be very detailed, specific and is unlikely to be directly relevant to any given job.

Hence it is unsurprising that a PhD is of less interest to companies. Indeed, while working in an industrial R&D lab, we came to the conclusion that there are many invalid reasons for doing a PhD (e.g. money, career advancement, status), and only one valid reason: because you want to.

I think I didn't say it clearly. I meant in China they care and favor people with higher degrees, but they don't care where you get it from that much than where you get a BS degree.

I think it's mainly for telling hardworking students from others. Chinese bosses don't really like smart students, they like compliant and hardworking ones, and college entrance test exactly models that quality.
 

Offline johankj

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2020, 11:50:57 am »
I just want to share my frustration with the Australian government and Engineers Australia, I hope I'm not hijacking this thread.

Backstory: So, me, my wife and son, though it would be nice for us to temporarily relocate to Australia from Norway for a year or so. We have close friends in NSW, and visited NSW for a wedding there last year and we absolutely loved Australia! I'm an engineer, and my skillset/education is in demand due to shortage and on the Australian immigration office eligible skilled occupation list. For that and other reasons, I should qualify to apply for a 489 - Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) - State or Territory nominated. (I think, it's a bit of a convoluted system)

So for that reason, I'm required to have my degree and my work experience assessed by Engineers Australia. Engineers Australia call this process a Migration skills assessment. (And here I though that that was what a university diploma was for).

One problem is, I have two degrees: One Bachelor of engineering (from a UK university - a Washington/Sydney/Dublin accord country) and one Master of Science (From a Norwegian university - a non-accord country). The fee for the accord one is 428 AUD, but the non-accord one is a whooping 795 AUD! So I asked Engineers Australia, under which system should I ask them to assess me? All I got was a bullshit pretyped response to read their documents and their website (like I didn't already!). They're happy to take my money thought!

Now that I'm reading this post, I'm getting more apprehensive. I need to be assessed to the level of an engineer to quality for a visa. My BEng is a three-year degree (are there even 4-year bachelor degrees in Europe?). In Norway at least, there is no distinction between a BEng and a bachelor, and they are all 3-year degrees. Further concern: I failed two subjects in my BEng (due to illness in my final year, but the uni let me pass because of overall performance), and I have an MSc instead of an MEng (Norway doesn't really distinguish between those two either). And if I want to appeal Engineers Australia's' decision, that's an additional 540 AUD!

And then I have to pay Engineers Australia 360 AUD to evaluating my work experience (Relevant Skilled Employment Assessment). And, since I've held a number of different positions, that outcome might not be in my favor either.

And on top of that, I have to get my English language skills assessed for another 500 AUD.

Only then (and by invitation from a regional government) can I apply for a visa. (Did I mention that the visa fee is 4'045 AUD?  :o )

Sorry for bending everyone's ear  :-[ The whole thing just seems like money-grabbing bullshit, instead of quid-pro-quo arrangement.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2020, 10:14:09 pm »
Sorry for bending everyone's ear  :-[ The whole thing just seems like money-grabbing bullshit, instead of quid-pro-quo arrangement.
Yes, it is a money grab for the "authorised" bodies who confirm your skills/experience and radically different to the previous skilled worker visa process. But at the same time Australia is currently flooded with foreign engineers (and trades) pushing advertised wages down. Employers advertise for a certain period to prove there were no qualified applicants at the salary they want to pay. Tightening up the visa entry requirements is good, but ignores the real problems.
 

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2020, 01:46:06 am »
Now that I'm reading this post, I'm getting more apprehensive. I need to be assessed to the level of an engineer to quality for a visa. My BEng is a three-year degree (are there even 4-year bachelor degrees in Europe?). In Norway at least, there is no distinction between a BEng and a bachelor, and they are all 3-year degrees.

In that case I greatly doubt they will assess you as being a Professional Engineer status, that requires a 4 year degree, and even that they are picky about as Phil has found out.
 

Offline johankj

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2020, 07:49:59 am »
Sorry for bending everyone's ear  :-[ The whole thing just seems like money-grabbing bullshit, instead of quid-pro-quo arrangement.
Yes, it is a money grab for the "authorised" bodies who confirm your skills/experience and radically different to the previous skilled worker visa process. But at the same time Australia is currently flooded with foreign engineers (and trades) pushing advertised wages down. Employers advertise for a certain period to prove there were no qualified applicants at the salary they want to pay. Tightening up the visa entry requirements is good, but ignores the real problems.

That's a shame. My Australian colleague told me that foreign unskilled labor was being exploited in this way, but I didn't expect it to extend to skilled labor. I definitively don't want to contribute in a wage race to the bottom, competing with locals and a million third world engineers.
 

Online coppice

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2020, 08:03:08 am »
Now that I'm reading this post, I'm getting more apprehensive. I need to be assessed to the level of an engineer to quality for a visa. My BEng is a three-year degree (are there even 4-year bachelor degrees in Europe?). In Norway at least, there is no distinction between a BEng and a bachelor, and they are all 3-year degrees.

In that case I greatly doubt they will assess you as being a Professional Engineer status, that requires a 4 year degree, and even that they are picky about as Phil has found out.
The 4 year degree differentiation is bogus. Most countries with 4 year bachelor degrees have a year less of high school than countries with 3 year bachelor degrees. HK went through a transition from 3 to 4 year degrees a few years ago, dropping a year of high school, and building more capacity at its universities. The result is they have simply moved the last year of high school to a different place.
 

Offline johankj

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2020, 08:30:45 am »
Now that I'm reading this post, I'm getting more apprehensive. I need to be assessed to the level of an engineer to quality for a visa. My BEng is a three-year degree (are there even 4-year bachelor degrees in Europe?). In Norway at least, there is no distinction between a BEng and a bachelor, and they are all 3-year degrees.

In that case I greatly doubt they will assess you as being a Professional Engineer status, that requires a 4 year degree, and even that they are picky about as Phil has found out.

My worry exactly, and although I don't have a Ph.d. like Phil, it's a similar case, and I fear the outcome would be the same. My academic summary (in order):
  • 3-year BEng
  • 2-year undergraduate mathematics and physics (not a degree program)
  • 1-year teacher training
  • 2-year MSc
  • A couple of master-level units at the local university that I found interesting

...and I've worked as an engineer for the past 15 years.

But, I think they will conclude like you say, that I don't meet their requirements for a Professional Engineer status.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2020, 10:24:10 am »
Sorry for bending everyone's ear  :-[ The whole thing just seems like money-grabbing bullshit, instead of quid-pro-quo arrangement.
Yes, it is a money grab for the "authorised" bodies who confirm your skills/experience and radically different to the previous skilled worker visa process. But at the same time Australia is currently flooded with foreign engineers (and trades) pushing advertised wages down. Employers advertise for a certain period to prove there were no qualified applicants at the salary they want to pay. Tightening up the visa entry requirements is good, but ignores the real problems.
That's a shame. My Australian colleague told me that foreign unskilled labor was being exploited in this way, but I didn't expect it to extend to skilled labor. I definitively don't want to contribute in a wage race to the bottom, competing with locals and a million third world engineers.
Its the wage race that is the bad thing. I've worked with engineers that came here on these skilled visas who were excellent, but they were surprised at the cost of living relative to the wages they were getting.

There shouldn't be barriers like you are seeing for recognition of your applicability to the work since the employer is surely the best judge. Its a restriction of trade (unless you are needing a professional licence/registration in which case it makes sense).

Given your background... consider applying to come over as a teacher? Different assessment body, also heavily unionised so the pay is less variable.
 

Offline Helix70

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2020, 01:59:04 pm »
You do not need to be a member of Engineers Australia to be a Professional Engineer in Australia. Engineers Australia membership entitles you to nothing when it comes to being allowed to provide engineering services in Australia.

Each state has its own requirements. For example, in Queensland, if you wish to provide engineering services to any Queensland based company or individual, or you yourself are based in Queensland, you are required to be registered as an RPEQ as per the Professional Engineers Act 2002, or be directly supervised by an RPEQ who takes full responsibilty for your services.

For RPEQ eligibilty, you require a 4 year Bachelor degree from an institution recognised by the Washigton Accord, of which Australia is a member.

Other states of Australia have other requirements, although Victoria have indicated that they are going use a similar system to Queensland from July 2021, called the Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019. New South Wales is currently being lobbied by Engineers Australia for a similar scheme also.

I believe it is only a matter of time before the other states do the same.

These requirements are not just about knowledge or competency, they also bind the registered engineer to a code of ethics and legally binding requirements for continuous professional development.

Having recently completed my registration as an RPEQ, it isn't really all that difficult. Once you are past the first 4 stages of grief and reach "Acceptance", and you can demonstrate 150 hours of professional development over the last 3 years (if you can't show this, are you really an engineer? The bar isn't really that high for what qualifies), the process only takes a month or so.
 

Offline johankj

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2020, 02:00:26 pm »
Given your background... consider applying to come over as a teacher? Different assessment body, also heavily unionised so the pay is less variable.
That's a good idea! I've had a glance at the assessment process, and it doesn't look nearly as complex and random as the Engineers Australia one.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Engineers Australia Membership Folly
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2020, 01:22:32 am »
Sorry for bending everyone's ear  :-[ The whole thing just seems like money-grabbing bullshit, instead of quid-pro-quo arrangement.
Yes, it is a money grab for the "authorised" bodies who confirm your skills/experience and radically different to the previous skilled worker visa process. But at the same time Australia is currently flooded with foreign engineers (and trades) pushing advertised wages down. Employers advertise for a certain period to prove there were no qualified applicants at the salary they want to pay. Tightening up the visa entry requirements is good, but ignores the real problems.
That's a shame. My Australian colleague told me that foreign unskilled labor was being exploited in this way, but I didn't expect it to extend to skilled labor. I definitively don't want to contribute in a wage race to the bottom, competing with locals and a million third world engineers.
Its the wage race that is the bad thing. I've worked with engineers that came here on these skilled visas who were excellent, but they were surprised at the cost of living relative to the wages they were getting.

There shouldn't be barriers like you are seeing for recognition of your applicability to the work since the employer is surely the best judge. Its a restriction of trade (unless you are needing a professional licence/registration in which case it makes sense).

Given your background... consider applying to come over as a teacher? Different assessment body, also heavily unionised so the pay is less variable.

Don't take this as gospel, as the States vary a fair bit.

In WA, teaching is pretty much a "gig" thing.
A pool of qualified teachers sit around, applying for every Education Dept vacancy that becomes available.
If they are lucky, they will get a 6 months stint at some remote town--- if really fortunate, they might get a 12 months "gig".

You are pretty much at the mercy of the Principal,  though---- if they decide they don't like you, they can terminate your position, & even "blackball" you from applying for other positions.

This was all set up to allow Principals to "hire & fire", & meant to "promote excellence".
Like most such ideas, all it does is to promote cronyism!
 


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