Country information for Austria - Teacher education for inclusive education
Early intervention training
In most Austrian provinces, non-government organisations provide training for early intervention teachers in the form of further training. Two of these associations offer this training as a university course.
The training is based on a uniform curriculum (about 1,440 lessons) and is financed privately in most cases. Some provinces provide co-financing for this training. Some types of disabilities (e.g. sensory disabilities) also require specific training in addition to the general early intervention training, for example, in the field of pedagogies for people with visual impairments.
Education of kindergarten teachers
After the eighth grade, those who wish to become kindergarten teachers can study at kindergarten education schools for five years, after which they graduate with a high school diploma and the kindergarten teacher qualification. Colleges at kindergarten education institutions provide a four-semester course for graduates of higher education schools who also graduate with the kindergarten teacher qualification.
Apart from kindergarten teacher education, it is also possible to attain a qualification as an educator in nurseries or – as a pilot project since 1999 – in-depth education in early intervention (which especially prepares graduates for working with children under three years old).
The four-semester kindergarten education course comprises up to 24 lessons per week; students graduate after a diploma exam for kindergarten teachers in special needs education and early intervention. There are courses of study for persons who have worked in the last five to six semesters. In some provinces, training courses on special needs education in kindergarten are provided every two years.
‘Special education’ is included in the fourth and fifth years of teacher education (one to two hours per week). Since 2016, ‘Inclusive education’ has also been included (two hours per week). ‘Educational partnerships’ is also part of the curriculum in basic teacher education (Source: IECE – Austria Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 8).
Teacher education and in-service training of teachers for compulsory schools - university reform 2007
Since October 2007, teacher education colleges have provided education for teachers for compulsory general education schools and occupational schools. Study programmes for teachers in primary, lower-secondary, pre-vocational, special and vocational schools provide academically sound, job- and practice-oriented education.
In the framework of initial and in-service training, teachers can earn additional qualifications and attend subject- and topic-specific courses to gain more insight into an area of speciality.
Moreover, teacher education colleges have the task of pursuing occupational- and application-oriented research.
Apart from research and education, teacher education colleges also have the opportunity to co-operate with other research and education institutions, such as universities and universities of applied sciences at home or abroad, in order to create the appropriate curricula and courses to provide the best possible offer for students.
Teacher education and in-service training of compulsory school teachers
The six-semester university study courses comprise a workload of 180 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits; students graduate as teachers for one of the four types of compulsory general education schools (primary school, lower-secondary school, special school and pre-vocational school). Students graduate with the degree of Bachelor of Education.
Since 2001, teachers have been required to do further training of 15 lessons per year. Courses can be provided by the teacher education colleges, in-school, regionally or supra-regionally. Teachers can attend further training for free. It is funded by the federal government and the provinces.
Initial and further training of special school teachers
Teachers can receive training at teacher education colleges to obtain the special school teacher qualification. Studies for special school teachers comprise the field of special education with a focus on inclusive education. Apart from courses dealing with aspects of human sciences, didactics, school-related and complementary studies, there are modular courses with a focus on disabilities.
The training programmes for teachers provided across provinces are in-service programmes to convey methodical and special educational competences (for example, for learners with hearing disabilities or learners who are deaf and learners with physical, visual or behavioural disabilities).
During further training, the teacher education colleges provide regional and supra-regional seminars and courses with different disability-related or topical focuses.
In 2006, the Ministry of Education drafted a position paper on the training of special school teachers, which is available in German.
Last updated 12/04/2018