Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers

Certification 2.0

Our certification process for Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers is changing.

The program has been reviewed and updated to align to the new national Framework, which seeks to streamline requirements and make certification more accessible.

We are improving our program so teachers can achieve Highly Accomplished or Lead teacher status more efficiently.

Find out more

We will continue accepting applications under the previous version in 2025, from teachers who have already commenced.


Find out more at upcoming information session webinars on:

  • Thursday 6 June 2024, 3.30 - 4pm
  • Wednesday 12 June 2024, 3.30 - 4pm
  • Tuesday 18 June 2024, 3.30 - 4pm

Register for one of our upcoming webinars:

Register now

Email group

Join the Certification 2.0 email group by emailing to register your name and email to receive regular updates from the QCT about Certification 2.0.

New applicant guidelines will be available from July.

What’s new?

Readiness check

  • Apply to the QCT for written feedback on a sample of your evidence to determine your readiness to apply for certification
  • Submit up to seven artefacts, linked to no more than five descriptors
  • Feedback report can be used in a future application within 18 months

Portfolio requirements

  • Lower limits, reduced artefacts - up to 60, reduced annotations - up to 7,500 words
  • Less written statements:
    • No separate Lead initiative statement (Lead applications only)
    • No written statement


  • Three to five referees: principal, delegate, line manager, colleagues
  • 10 descriptors may be affirmed by written statements from referees
  • Evidence included in portfolio to be verified


  • We will recognise successful completion of endorsed programmes as evidence towards nominated descriptors (streamlining evidence demonstration)
  • Endorsed programmes will be listed on the QCT website when they become available

What hasn’t changed?

The QCT remains the certifying authority for Queensland state and Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) schools.

Teachers employed in independent schools should continue to seek advice about certification from Independent Schools Queensland.

Certification status is recognised nationally and is therefore portable. It is a demonstration of an applicant’s abilities, experience, knowledge, and skills.

For applications:

  • The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) must continue to be demonstrated at the chosen career stage – Highly Accomplished or Lead
  • It remains a two staged process, including a written component (Stage 1) and a practical component (Stage 2)
  • Assessments will continue to be completed by nationally trained assessors

What is certification?

Certification is a process whereby experienced classroom teachers in Queensland schools voluntarily pursue national certification to demonstrate their teaching skills and abilities at the higher career-stages of the APST.

Certification supports teachers to document their practice at either of the higher career stages of the APST. Assessment is made against all the descriptors of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

Certification is portable as Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers are certified through a national process applied by Certifying Authorities in each participating state or territory.

Certified teachers are required to renew their certification status every five years. For more information, see Certification Renewal.

Considering certification?

Deciding to apply for certification requires considerable reflection from teachers about their practice against the APST. AITSL has provided this Teacher Self-Assessment Tool to support this reflection.

To hear about the experiences of certified teachers read their Stories on the QCT website. These stories provide useful advice and tips for applicants.

Teachers applying for certification by the QCT should refer to the Guidelines for teachers applying for certification by the Queensland College of Teachers as Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers.

Certification requirements by employers

Employers have specific requirements for teachers applying for certification. For employer specific information about applications:

Department of Education:

Queensland Catholic Education Commission:

Independent Schools Queensland:


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