The role of teachers in education is widely acknowledged in educational studies that routinely find that quality of teaching is fundamental to student success. Accordingly, this study set out to examine and describe the professional development of teachers in countries where students perform better in the PISA assessment, namely, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Singapore, and China. Data were obtained from primary sources and compared using Bereday's method. The general structure and systems used for professional development in each country were identified along with details of the admission requirements for teacher candidates, the induction process for new entrants to the profession, and how ongoing activities such as in-service training are facilitated. Common elements included quotas on the number of places available for pre-service training programmes, rigorous pre-selection and assessment of teacher candidates, and limited access to the profession for suitably qualified candidates with the minimum of a bachelor's degree.