Engineers and scientists who want to switch careers could be targeted to get more specialist maths and science teachers into schools.
Long-term declines in enrolments for maths and science classes has driven Education Minister Simon Birmingham to consider more extreme measures.
People who had a science or mathematics degree and had worked for years as an engineer or scientist might want to shift careers, he said on Monday.
"We committed some extra funding to try to secure or trial programs for getting new, highly skilled individuals into the teaching profession," Senator Birmingham told ABC radio.
He also wants states to make it clear to universities where their employment priorities lie and create direct incentives.
"If need be, federal funding powers over university places could be used to influence enrolment to secure the science teachers we need for the future," he said in a speech.
Intermediate and advanced maths enrolment declined from 54 to 36 per cent between 1992 and 2012.
In 2013, about one in five general science teachers taking years seven to 10 classes had not completed at least one year of tertiary study in that area.
"We should be making sure in those secondary school years that we have the subject specialists in front of the classroom inspiring those students," Senator Birmingham told reporters.
The government wants to see more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in the education system within five to 10 years.
Reports from Australia's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and businessman David Gonski pinpoint a need for better workforce data to understand teacher skills.
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said the real way to supercharge science teaching was reverse a $2.1 billion funding cut to universities and end the freeze on university places.
"The government's own funding freeze on universities has made that much harder to achieve," Ms Jackson said.
The Australian Education Union said making sure public schools were properly funded was the best way to get more students into specialist subjects.
"There are no shortcuts to fixing this issue," federal president Correna Haythorpe said.
Opposition education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek said Labor had been supporters of specialised teaching policies for some time.
"But how are the Liberals going to pay for it?" she tweeted on Monday.