Education - Professional Experience (PEx) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Education - Professional Experience (PEx)

Professional Learning at USC is an integral component of the Education Discipline. It provides Pre-Service Teachers enrolled in Primary, Secondary and Early Childhood Programs with genuine opportunities to establish strong links between the knowledge attained in their coursework and the practical experiences provided through Professional Experience (PEx).

PEx provides opportunities for Pre-Service Teachers to undertake a range of duties in a workplace setting at schools and sites and an opportunity to develop new skills as they put the theories learned in their university studies into practice.

PEx essentials

Professional Experience (PEx) is an integral component of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Programs at USC. PEx provides Primary, Secondary and Early Childhood pre-service teachers (PSTs) with genuine opportunities to establish strong links between the knowledge attained in their coursework and the practical components of being an educator.

Throughout your ITE program, you will undertake several courses that include an embedded PEx placement. The PEx will provide you with opportunity to link theory with practice. PEx is an assessable component of PEx placement courses. To prepare for PEx, you should familiarise yourself with both the program specific Inherent Academic Requirements and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. PEx courses are graded as Pass Ungraded (PU) or Fail (UF) as they are limited grade courses. To pass the placement assessment preservice teachers must:

  • Meet the Australian Professional Standards criteria found in the PEx Final Report
  • Adhere to the USC School of Education Code of Conduct

The University has established arrangements with professional learning sites (ie Schools and early childhood centres and settings) to provide PEx placements for preservice teachers to develop the skills required to practice as a graduate teacher.

When undertaking PEx placements you may be required to travel. The University will endeavour to place you in a Queensland professional learning site within a 50km radius of your Student Central registered street address, however this cannot be guaranteed and can be dependent upon the distance of your home street address and your selected USC campus study site. In such cases, your PEx professional learning site may be located within a 50km radius from the campus where you are studying. The 50Km radius is not applied when you choose to undertake an PEx in a rural or remote area within Queensland.

Preservice teachers are responsible for all travel and accommodation expenses incurred whilst undertaking PEx placements. If you have elected to undertake a rural and remote placement, you may be eligible for various PEx scholarships (refer to PEx Placement Options and Opportunities).

PEx placements will only be offered to preservice teachers who meet the mandatory requirements of the University (refer to Mandatory Requirements for PEx)

Issues arising during PEx placements are dealt with in a timely manner, and in accordance with the University’s Workplace and Industry Placement - Procedures.

Sonia Online

Your Sonia Online account contains information relating to PEx; including placement Handbooks and example copies of forms for each PEx course, the Education Professional Learning calendar that includes scheduled dates for PEx, details of bursaries and grants, professional development and PEx-related events, mandatory requirements for PEx, and other useful information. The Sonia Online homepage also contains a library of placement-related Fact Sheets and Placement Forms for you to access.

Current enrolled preservice teachers can access specific PEx information through the University’s Sonia Online database, and login to Sonia.

Mandatory requirements for PEx

To be eligible to commence a PEx placement, preservice teachers must complete the following Mandatory Requirements as per the USC Workplace and Industry Placement – Procedures.

You can view the status of your mandatory checks in Sonia Online. Sonia Online contains all your placement information eg dates, forms, allocated sites etc.




Blue Card


When:  Once enrolled

Cost:  Nil

Time:  Approx. 8-10 weeks *

Comments:  If you already have a valid Blue Card, this card MUST be linked to USC.


USC Student Placement Agreement Form

(Placement Disclosure Statement)


When:  Once enrolled you will be emailed this form to complete

Cost: Nil

Time: The form takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete and is due 1 week after it has been emailed to you.


USC Student Placement Agreement Form

(Placement Details Statement)


When:  Once a placement site has been allocated to you, you will be emailed this form to complete

Cost: Nil

Time: The form takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete and is due ASAP and at least 5 days prior to your PEx commencing.


USC PrePlace


When: Once enrolled

Cost: Nil

Time:  Approx. 60-90 minutes

Comments:  PrePlace only needs to be completed once during your program. PrePlace will be made available to you via Blackboard.

* NOTE: some of the mandatory requirements can take quite some time to organise. Students are advised to commence working on obtaining their specific mandatories as soon as they have accepted their offer.

Duration of PEx and scheduled dates

PEx can vary in duration from 5-30 days and it is offered in blocks (Monday-Friday) during University semester.

PEx dates are non-negotiable as per USC Assessment Policy and students should understand that any personal arrangements (including holidays, weddings, work commitments or other optional personal events) which may occur during the published placement dates will not be considered grounds to apply for an extension or review of the Assessment item (ie; PEx dates).

Download the current Education Professional Learning calendar for placement dates). (If you are unable to download or access the Calendar PDF please contact

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page

PEx placement options and opportunities

USC Education students are placed with Supervising Teachers in state, independent, private, alternative and Catholic schools and early childhood sites. All Supervising Teachers are required to be registered with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

Eligible students can request a Rural and Remote placement (200km from USC campus) within Queensland schools and sites. These students may be eligible to apply for a bursary through the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation or the Beyond the Range Department of Education grant.

USC also works with the Department of Education, Kelvin Grove Teacher Education Centre of Excellence (TECE) for rural and remote school placement options.

Interstate and international Supervised Professional Experiences are not offered.

Remuneration and insurance

No remuneration or payment is made by the placement organisation to the students or to the University for hosting the student. Students undertaking an approved work place learning course are covered by the University’s insurance policies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I source my own placement?

Students are not able to source their own placement sites for PEx. The only exception is for the EDU409 Early Childhood Internship. For all other PEx, the placement office sources all places.

Can I choose which site I’d prefer to go to for placement?

You will be placed as per Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) requirements for your Education Program and the University will endeavour to place you in a Queensland learning site within a 50km radius from your Student Central registered address (see Professional Experience (PEx Essentials). You will not be placed at sites where you have conflicts of interest, and are required to declare these conflicts of interest in Sonia Online.

Secondary students: You should be aware that because of your major/minor teaching area considerations, placement is quite complex and as a result there are generally limited available options within your required region with your required teaching areas. Meeting the QCT requirements of the Secondary program and locating a suitable Queensland learning site as outlined in the PEx Essentials are the two priority criteria.

Can I do placement at a site where I’ve already built relationships?

Students are not able to do placement at a site where there is a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is defined as a site where;

  • Close family members / friends are employed
  • Your children / siblings attend
  • You are employed in a casual, part-time, full-time, or after school care capacity
  • You have attended the PEx site as a student in the last 5 years​

Contact Us

Education Placement Office

Professional Experience (PEx) Education Programs: