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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Teachers of primary and secondary education are graduates of Higher Education, holding at least a first cycle degree. Secondary education teachers can be graduates of the Technological sector as well. 

In public early childhood education and care settings, teachers are graduates of University Departments of Early Childhood Education of the sector of Technological Educational Institutes (TEI), whereas pre-school teachers, which are part of primary education, should hold higher education degrees of the University Sector (ref. no. 17232/8-3-2019 circular of the Ministry of the Interior).

Τhe minimum requirement for teacher assistants is a Vocational High School diploma or a degree/ diploma/ certificate of a post-secondary non-university education (IEK), or a certificate of an Apprenticeship School of the Manpower Employment Organisation /Labour Employment agency with relevant specialization.

Primary and secondary education structures provided for Special Education are staffed by Primary and Secondary school teachers who, as appropriate:

  •  are graduates of the Pedagogical Department of Special Education with a specialization in primary/preschool teaching of the University of Thessaly or the Department of Educational & Social Policy with a specialization in the education of people with special needs of the University of Macedonia;
  • mainstream school teachers with additional studies in Special Education; 
  • have a postgraduate qualification or PhD in Special Education or in School Psychology;
  • have a two year postgraduate teacher training/ degree in Special Education, offered by a national teacher-training institute (didaskaleio);
  • have a certificate of attendance from an annual training-specialization seminar in Special Education of a University or other public sector institution of at least four hundred (400) hours;
  • have at least one year of teaching experience (10 months) in Special Needs Education ;
  • are educators/parents of children with a disability of more than 67%.

Institutions, level and models of training

Candidate teachers in Pre-school and Primary Education (Kindergarten (Nipiagogeio) and Primary school (Dimotiko), are graduates of Pedagogical Departments of Pre-school and Primary Education respectively, operating in universities throughout the country. 

  • The initial training of pre-school  teachers (Education for Kindergarten) is provided by the Departments of Pre-school Education of the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Ioannina, Thrace, Crete, Aegean, Thessaly and Western Macedonia. 
  • The initial training of Primary Education teachers is provided by the  Departments of Primary Education of the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Ioannina, Thrace, Crete, the Aegean, Thessaly and Western Macedonia and in the Department of Special Education of the University of Thessaly for Special Education teachers in Pre-school and Primary Education.
  • Department of Special Education of the University of Thessaly, which concerns teachers of Preschool Education and Primary Education of Special Education.

The initial training provided to prospective Pre-school and Primary Education teachers, which includes, among others, teaching-oriented courses, teaching in the classroom, as well as the study of various teaching methods is integrated, that is, pedagogical training in addition to theoretical training ( concurrent model).

 As regards teaching in both compulsory and non-compulsory secondary education, candidate teachers receive initial education at the University Departments across the country providing studies relevant  to the cognitive fields included in the secondary education curricula. Such departments belong to the so-called teacher education faculties.

Teacher Education Faculties, in particular, are university departments whose graduates are directly appointed in Secondary Education schools (some specializations may be appointed in Primary Education as well), according to Law 1566/1985 as in force, without requiring additional degrees or certificates  of pedagogical training. This is because, parallel to their studies at the corresponding university departments, they also receive pedagogical training (concurrent model). 

Teacher Education Faculties include the university departments where teachers of the following specializations are trained: PE01 Theology, PE02 Greek Language and Literature, PE03 Mathematics, PE04 Physics, Foreign Languages (PE06 English, PE05 French, PE07 German, PE034 Italian and PE040 Spanish), PE08 Arts, PE11 Physical Education, PE80Economics, PE79 Music, PE91 Theatre Studies, PE33 Methodology, Philosophy and History of Science, PE86 Information Technology at University (L. 4521/2018) and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE).  According to law 4186/2013, ASPETE consists of the Pedagogical Department, the Department of Electrical Engineering Educators, the Department of Electronic Engineering Educators, the Department of Mechanical Engineering Educators and the Department of Civil Engineering Educators.

Most Pedagogical Departments and Teacher Education Faculties devote sufficient time to practical training in addition to theoretical education through teaching in real class conditions, or through participation in relevant laboratory exercises. However, graduates of Higher Education Institutions, Universities or Technological Sector faculties that do not belong to primary or secondary education Teacher Education Faculties are considered as non - Teacher Education Faculty graduates. According to Law 4589/2019, and as supplemented by law 4823/2021, the appointment or employment in public education posts for teachers or members of the Special Education Staff (EEP), pedagogical and teaching  competence  is not a necessary but an additional qualification, that can be certified before or after the nomination (consecutive model) of the candidate teacher (see also Unit 9.2 “Entry to the profession”). Consequently, graduates of non-teacher education faculties , can acquire pedagogical and teaching competence  in special education either during their studies or after the completion of their studies (consecutive model), by successful attendance of special training programs (see also Unit 9.2 “Pedagogical and Teaching Competence”). 

Initial  training for Pre-school, Primary and Secondary school teachers attending Teacher Education Faculties lasts four years.  Initial training is extended byone  year for Music teachers, graduates of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) Music Studies Departments, Arts teachers, mainly painting, who hold a diploma of the School of Fine Arts.  An extra year also applies to graduates of ASPETE programs, the attendance of which requires half a semester for the completion of a thesis and apprenticeship in their field of specialization. 

Admission requirements

All General Upper Secondary Schools (GEL) and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools (EPAL) graduates  are eligible for admission to pedagogical, Teacher Education Faculties  or non-teacher Training Faculties of Higher Education. In addition, graduates of other Departments or Faculties and candidates of special categories  may be admitted to Higher Education Departments or Faculties (see Unit 7.2.1 “Admission Requirements”). 

Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes

The curricula of all Higher Education Institutions, including those attended by candidate teachers  of Primary (Pre-chool teachers and Primary school teachers) and Secondary Education (as well as nursery staff of public children and kindergartens), are drawn up by the Universities themselves.  The curriculum includes compulsory courses, optional courses and compulsory optional courses.  Each semester corresponds to a specific number of courses in such a way as to ensure that they are sequenced and interdependent in terms of subject matter. The curriculum also includes:

  • The description of the theoretical and laboratory part of each course.
  • The purpose of teaching.
  • The learning outcomes (knowledge, competences and skills that the student is expected to acquire from the teaching of the specific course and from the whole curriculum)

Among other  things, Law N. 4521/2018 provides that the Senate gives approval to the curriculum content, after a proposal by the Sector, with the Department Assembly’s consent.

The recent Law Ν. 4653/2020 determines that the Evaluation and Certification Council (SAP) which evaluates higher education institutions and individual academic and ,research units certifies at the latest every five (5) years the quality of the curricula for:

  • all three cycles of Higher Education,  Lifelong Learning programs, 
  • Distance Learning programs, 
  • e-learning programs,
  • cooperation programs with other educational or research institutions in Greece or abroad, and new curricula before they start operating, at the request of the relevant  HEIs and its respective  academic unit.

The curricula of Pedagogical Departments and Teacher Education Faculties include, apart from lessons related to each teaching subject, pedagogical courses and/or psychology courses.  The teaching and general education of teacher candidates  is performed using a combination of methods, such as:

  • face to face teaching
  • practical exercises 
  • written assignments
  • workshops etc. 

There are also sample teaching sessions which enable students to follow the lessons in real classroom conditions. With regard to skills and knowledge related to school management, training is not provided in the first - cycle programs of Pedagogical Departments’ and Teacher Education Faculties’ curricula, but it is  mainly the subject of second-cycle graduate programs or the subject of  further  training for those already serving as education managers.

The majority of teachers of  specialized subjects receive initial training at so-called Teacher Education Faculties, such as teachers of Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Arts, Music and Information Technology are entitled to serve as permanent or temporary  substitutes teachers in Primary and Secondary Education, provided that the subject they teach is included in the curricula for that level.. The Departments of Primary and  Pre-school Education award a single degree.  The principle of specialization has not been formally established in Pre-school  and Primary Education teachers,  but in Secondary Education, teachers are classified into disciplines according to  their field of specialization.  The subjects they are assigned to teach are directly related to the qualifications  and titles they acquired in their initial education. In the first (A) assignment teachers cover their compulsory teaching hours. In the second (B) assignment courses are used to supplement their compulsory hours  or to meet teaching needs.

For example, French Language teachers can undertake the teaching of History in Lower Secondary schools (second (B) assignment).  It should be noted that the teaching of History is primarily the responsibility of Greek Language and Literature teachers, as well as those teaching History and Philosophy of Sciences as a first (A) assignment subject.

Teacher educators

During the initial training of candidate teachers , the teaching at all universities, and  consequently  in the Pedagogical Departments, Teacher Education Faculties and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE) is performed by the Teaching and Scientific Personnel (DEP) of the corresponding University Department or by members of the Teaching Personnel of the respective HE departments of the technological sector (TEI). For the election of  which (DEP) members are:

  •  possession of a doctoral degree,
  • relevance of  to the subject of the post  to be filled either to the subject of the PhD thesis or to the research or scientific work of the candidate. 

To guide and support the newly appointed teacher, the law  4823/2021 provided for the appointment by the headmaster or the head of the school unit of the mentor-educational counselor, stipulated that after the first implementation of the teacher evaluation system, only teachers with an "excellent" or "very good" rating in all fields can be selected as pedagogical mentors-mentors.  

 For the newly appointed teacher, according to the provisions of of Law 4823/2021, the introductory training is compulsory within the first two years of his/her term of office and prior to his/her tenure for both the service and the employee. It takes place during the first two years after the appointment of the official and is indented to familiarize  the official with the subjects of his/her service and his/her duties as a civil servant in general.

Qualifications, evaluation and certificates

The Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP), is a Greek independent authority that ensures the legality of appointments and recruitment in the public sector and in education. Vacant posts that needs to be filed of Primary and Secondary Education teacher, members  of Special Education Staff (EEP) and Special Education Assistant Staff (EBP), as well as operational needs  of Primary and Secondary Education, are covered by the selection of staff carried out by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) based on the criterion of priority (law 4589/2019) (see 9.2 Unit “Entry to the Profession”).

The first cycle degree issued by the Pedagogic Departments of Pre-school Education, the Pedagogic Department of Primary Education and Teacher Education Faculties, gives their holders the opportunity to participate in the procedure for the establishment of the teacher appointments evaluation lists  of the relevant  sector  which are drawn up by the ASEP  which is responsible for the appoitment of permanent teaches  and the recruitment of temporary substitutes  in primary and secondary schools.

This possibility is also open to holders of first cycle qualifications, graduates of university departments not included in the Pedagogical or Teacher Education Faculties who may obtain the Certificate of Pedagogical and Teaching Competence either during their studies, if they so wish, or after their appointment.  (see also Unit 9.1 “Institutions, level and models of training” as well as 9.2 “Entry to the profession” and “Pedagogical and Teaching Competence”).

Accordingly, in order to be recruited as  a childcare worker in municipal nurseries ,  a first cycle university degree in the field of technology (infant care) is a prerequisite. No further qualification is required for childcare assistants beyond that obtained during their studies at either  higher vocational secondary education or post-secondary non-university education.  

Alternative training pathways

A. The initial training of Pre-school and Primary Education teachers, leading to  public school appointment at the respective level of education, it may also be certified by the following titles:

  • a Pedagogical Academy Degree or Nursery schools degree on the condition that graduates hold the equivalence with HE degrees in pedagogy (Presidential Decree 130/1990). 
  •  a degree from a foreign University training Pre-school teachers/ Primary education teachers, accompanied by a confirmation of equivalence and correspondence with the respective degrees by the national universities diplomas. The confirmation of equivalence and correspondence may be issued as follows:
    • by the Hellenic National Recognition and Information Center (DOATAP), 
    • a decision for recognition of professional qualifications according to the Presidential Decree 38/2010, as supplemented by the provisions of law 4763/2020.
    • a decision for the recognition of professional equivalence of a HEI’s relevant degree for teacher specialization, issued by the Council for the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (SAEP).
  • Degrees from non-EU countries  and an additional certificate of successful attendance of a Special Re-training Program from a Greek University Department of Pre-school or Primary Education.  

B. The initial training of Secondary Education teachers, leading to school appointment at the respective level of education, may also be certified by the following titles:

  • A university degree for the respective teacher specialisations. If the title is obtained at a foreign university it should accompanied by a confirmation of equivalence and correspondence with the respective degrees of home diplomas (see above) 
  • A degree from the Hellenic Open University (EAP), however only for specific teacher specialisations as for example  Physicians or Economists as well as graduates of the programme “Spanish Language and Culture”. Teachers of the above specializations can work in the public education sector as teachers. (Ministerial Decision 63486/Ε2/12.04.2017).

The holders of a Primary or Secondary Education teacher degree from a university abroad, must also have a school leaving certificate:

  • from a Hellenic six grade Lower Secondary School, 
  • a Hellenic Upper Secondary Education School or 
  • an equivalent Hellenic school leaving certificate. 

Teacher candidates who do not have this leaving certificate or any other Hellenic degree or/and a Hellenic masters degree from a domestic HEI, it is required that they have:

  • excellent knowledge of the Greek language (level C2) certified by the Greek Language Center or
  • a Certificate of Greek language proficiency issued by the committee of Law 1566/1985.

It is also required that foreign primary and secondary education teachers from countries outside the EU obtain the Greek citizenship.