Become a Teacher

Do you want to become a teacher? Teacher training can be a challenging process but once you’ve completed your training, you can guarantee that the career will be highly rewarding. If you’re looking to begin your journey to becoming a teacher then there are plenty of options available to you!

If you’re looking to gain the relevant skills and knowledge needed to inspire a classroom full of young people then teacher training will help you to gain the insights you need to become a professional. 

Education is essential to helping the next generation to develop and learn which can be extremely satisfying knowing you’re in a career you love which is helping young people to progress in life. So if you would like to know more about the diverse range of routes available in teaching then continue reading…

How to become a teacher without a degree?

Wondering how to become a teacher without a degree? In short, you can’t but you do have options – Apprenticeships! Although, you can’t become a teacher without a degree there are alternative routes which differ from the traditional university path but still guarantee the same results which is ultimately you becoming a teacher. 

University isn’t the right path for everyone and that’s perfectly fine, there is no right or wrong route, it’s about doing what is best for you. There are currently 4 apprenticeships available related to the teaching sector including:

Teaching Assistant (Level 3)

This route is equivalent to 2 A Levels and enables you to train in a hands on role while gaining a nationally recognised qualification and getting paid! As a teaching assistant, you’ll be providing support to the class teacher and pupils to ensure they are engaged in learning. The programme will typically last for 18 months.

Learning and Skills Teacher (Level 5)

This programme is a Level 5 and is equivalent to a foundation degree. Learning and skills teacher apprenticeships are aimed at apprentices who want to cover all parts of the Education and Training Sector such as, further, adult and higher education, offender learning and volunteering.

During this apprenticeship you could be teaching young people or adults, you might be delivering the following training programmes:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships
  • Vocational education

Teacher Apprenticeship (Level 6)

This teacher apprenticeship is equal to a degree qualification and enables you to work with a range of pupils from ages 3 – 19 years of age. If you’re looking to earn while you learn and develop relevant skills and experience during your teacher training  then this could be the career route for you. This apprenticeship has been designed by schools and industry experts to enable you to become a teacher with the knowledge and skills that employers look for in talented and caring teachers. 

The teacher apprenticeship will delve deep into how you can enhance pupils learning performance and keep them motivated. You’ll be at the heart of pupil progress and outcomes ensuring your expand their capabilities and knowledge. You’ll also highlight how you have a sound knowledge of the curriculum and create effective lesson plans and teaching strategies while adapting to the needs of every pupil. 

This apprenticeship will also enable you to manage challenging behaviour productively and ensure your pupils are actively listening and learning. Once completed you will have achieved a QTS and will have the required knowledge, skills and work experience to move from a teacher training job to a fully qualified role. 

Academic Professional (Level 7)

If you’re looking to begin your career in the higher education sector then this level 7 apprenticeship as an academic professional could be your dream route to becoming a teacher. You may work in a university, college or within the private sector. You’ll be responsible for supporting the development and education advancement of your students so they can get ready for their next steps. Or you may choose to work in research where you’ll be identifying opportunities, gaining external funding and undertaking the management on projects and budgets.

This course is made up of various modules and is vital to you underpinning the core principles of teaching and research. It usually lasts between 18 and 24 months and you’ll normally need to have a degree qualification or due to receive your results prior to applying.

How to become a teacher with a degree?

To become a teacher there are a variety of options available to you. You’ll first need to gain a teaching QTS certificate (Qualified Teacher Status). To gain this you’ll need to finish an ITT (Initial Teacher Training) course to gain a QTS and become a teacher where you’ll then be ready to tackle your induction year. 

If you’re looking to teach a specialist subject, you might choose to commit to a course which will help you gain the core principles and knowledge required to understand that area. These courses can take between three and four years to qualify. 

Undergraduate Routes

If you haven’t yet gained a degree qualification then there a wealth of pathways available to you. These all depend on your personal preference and there is no right or wrong route. Teacher training courses for those without a degree can include:

Undergraduate degree plus postgraduate teacher training

To begin with, you’ll need to gain a degree, this can be done by studying towards a BA or BSc and once graduated you can then apply for a postgraduate programme in teaching to obtain a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). If you have an idea of the subject you would like to teach then it’s a good idea to choose a relevant degree to the school curriculum. 

Bachelor of Education (BEd) with QTS

This is a popular pathway for people looking to qualify as a teacher and is made up of academic study at the university and placements so you can gain knowledge of teaching and learning alongside the practical skills required in the classroom. You’ll normally cover the core subjects which include English, maths and science. 

Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a QTS

If you’re looking to become a secondary school teacher who specialises in a particular area then a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) course with QTS is a favoured route as it helps you to gain the knowledge of the specific subject while learning the hands-on skills through placements. 

These courses typically last for three to four years and will help you to understand the method for teaching and learning. These degrees also focus on helping you to gain workplace experience as years 2 and 3 are focused on placements and the school experience. 

An opt-in QTS

If you’d like to apply for a QTS part way through your degree or master’s then you’ll have the option to do so with the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Integrated Master’s (MA)

This will give you the option to qualify as a teacher part way through your course and the opportunity to do so is only available at certain universities, selected study options and for potential secondary school teachers only. This degree options gives you the chance to gain knowledge through theory based learning prior to you choosing to combine it into your degree. 

Future Teaching Scholars Programme

Are you passionate about maths and physics? Interested in becoming a teacher? Did you receive outstanding A Level results? The Future Teaching Scholars programme could be for you! This full time programme lasts for 6 years and offers financial support and work-based training. 

If you’re considering studying maths or physics at degree level then this programme will enable you to receive extra training, school-based mentor from a Teaching School Alliance. 

Upon graduation, you will also receive specialist training in teaching while earning and learning. In addition to this, you will also be working in a school teaching throughout. As you approach your fifth and sixth years, you’ll have the status of a newly qualified teacher providing support in school. 

Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET)

The Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training usually lasts for one to two years and is a recognised qualification for if you’re looking to teach in the further education sector. Although you are able to teach post 16 without a teaching qualification it is extremely beneficial to have one and the majority of employers will expect them. 

Are you keen to pursue a career in further education teaching? If so, this qualification could be just what you’re looking for. It’s equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the second year and increases your chances of application success when applying for teaching jobs in further education. The programme can be based at university, college or while working as an unqualified teacher and committing to part-time work. 

This qualification can also be known as the Professional Certificate in Education (PCE) or Certificate in Education (CertEd). Once you have completed your training and have qualified you’ll also be able to apply for a Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS). This is equal to the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

To be accepted onto this course you’ll need to have a minimum of 100 hours teaching experience, a Level 2 in English or maths and if you’re teaching maths or English, you’ll need a Level 3. You may also need to pass the competency tests provided by your training provider and to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and criminal convictions declaration. 

Troops to Teachers 

Armed Forces veterans can provide insights, skills and experiences like no other to the classroom and can get into teaching with a tax-free bursary of £40,000. If you’ve left the Armed Forces and would like to bring your life skills to the classroom then there is an option for you to study towards an undergraduate degree with QTS. These opportunities are available in secondary teaching of:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Maths
  • Modern Foreign Language (MFL)

Eligibility for the bursary means you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You don’t currently hold an undergraduate degree
  • You have left full time employment from the Armed Forces (British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force), this has to be less than 5 years ago to when you start the course
  • You meet the Student Finance Eligibility requirements which can include your university, a recognised course, studying full time, or part time depending on the course intensity (25% or more), your nationality or residency status

If you qualify for the bursary, it will normally be paid in 10 monthly instalments of £2,000 starting in the final two years of your course (October to July). We would advise you check the payment schedule with your provider as this may vary. 

Undergraduate Entry Requirements

As each route is different, the entry requirements may vary so you’re best to check directly with the teacher training programme or university themselves as to whether there are any additional requirements. Generally speaking, entry requirements include the following:

GCSE C/4 or above in English and maths. For primary school teaching you’ll also need a C/4 or above in science. You’ll need to pass the maths and English professional skills test. You might also need specific grades/subjects at A Level.

Postgraduate Routes

Already have a degree? To become a primary or secondary school teacher you’ll need to achieve at least one of the teacher training programmes. These can either be university based or school focused and what you decide is entirely up to you. Each route includes:

  • At least 24 weeks in 2 two different schools to help you to gain teaching and learning experiences in the classroom
  • You’ll build your knowledge in teaching, managing a classroom and mentoring/tutoring
  • You’ll then be observed whilst you teach a class, this assesses your teaching skills

These teacher training courses can include:

School Direct (tuition fee and salaried)

School Direct (tuition fee) training programme allows you to receive on the job training while working towards a QTS qualification. This route does not include a salary and you will be located within a school while being taught by a university, college or SCITT. If you’re hoping to become a teacher at the school you did your placement with then this is an increasingly popular option for students. 

If you’re high quality graduate then you might be eligible to complete a School Direct programme while earning a salary as you train and you won’t have to pay tuition fees. This is a workplace focused route and you’ll need references from your employer to apply. You’ll also need to contact the schools directly to find employment as an unqualified teacher. 

Although most School Direct (salaried and tuition fee) training programmes will enable you to qualify with a PGCE it’s important to check directly as not all do. There may also be the opportunity for you to undergo a course in subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) so you’re able to teach a subject which differs from your degree. 

School-centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) 

The programme is run by schools and works in partnership with universities so that potential teachers can achieve a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). The programme is customised to teaching in a particular location where you aspire to teach in, however it still focuses on the same materials (lecures, seminars, tutorials) which are covered at university and colleges. 

Most of the SCITT programmes will enable you to qualify at PGCE level, however, not all do so it is best to check with the provider if this is an important aspect of the course for you. Applications are open at various times of the year, if the training provider you want to study with has no places available it is best to check with them directly about future openings. If you qualified from your degree in an unassociated subject to what you would like to become a teacher in, you might be eligible to undertake a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course prior to you beginning your teacher training. 

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) 

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualifications can be obtained at university or college and require a minimum of 24 weeks in school placements along with academic study at a university or college. These are similar to the School-centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), however, these are run by a university or college as opposed to the school. 

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship

A postgraduate teaching apprenticeship involves a mixture of on the job training and academic study enabling you to work, earn and learn. With this route, you’ll still receive a nationally recognised qualification once you have completed your end point assessment and a Qualified Teacher Status. There are no tuition fees involved with a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship and they are available in primary and secondary schools. During this programme you’ll be in full time employment at a school while learning on the job and through academic study off the job. 

This is a relatively new apprenticeship so places are limited. This route also offers career progression to unqualified teachers or teachers working as an assistant. The postgraduate teaching degree follows a structured training programme which has been designed by sector experts specifically for the apprentice meaning you’ll expand your capabilities through school led training. 

As an apprentice you’ll spend at least 20% of your study time learning the key modules of teaching, pedagogy and learning. These will be explored in depth so you can put your theory expertise into practice in the classroom when teaching. 

Teach First

The Teach First training programme lasts for 2 years and you’ll also earn a salary while receiving teacher training and exposure to leadership development. This work-based route enables you to work on the job while gaining Qualified Teacher Status. It’s a popular route for graduates and will lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDGE).

The Teach First programme is a fantastic option for graduates looking to teach, especially in challenging schools and you’ll also obtain leadership skills to ensure you become an influential leader. 

You will follow 5 weeks of rigorous training helping you to build your knowledge of the theory and implementation of teaching and learning. You’ll first begin as an unqualified teacher and then in your second year you’ll become a newly qualified teacher. 

Throughout this programme you will receive mentoring and training to ensure you gain the skills and experience required to do the job to the best of your abilities. 

Assessment Only route to gaining a QTS

If you’re currently working as a teacher and have sufficient experience in the classroom and a degree then you may be entitled to gaining QTS without having to undertake a teacher training programme. This programme generally lasts for 12 weeks and you’ll need to pass the following:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Declaration of Criminal Convictions
  • Fitness to Work Assessment
  • Teacher Standards
  • Taught across two key stages at two different schools

Postgraduate Teacher Training Entry Requirements

To apply for a teacher training programme you’ll need to possess an undergraduate degree (UK), you might need to hold a 2:1, however this varies so it is best to check with each individual scheme.

You will also need GCSEs in English and maths at grade C/4 or above, if you’re planning to teach early years or primary school education (ages 3-11) then you will also be required to hold a grade C/4 or above in science. You might also need specific grades/subjects at A Level.

Prior to beginning your teacher training you’ll also need to pass your numeracy and literacy with a professional skills test. These requirements are not limited, some training providers may have additional entry requirements. 

Researchers in Schools

This is open to students who have completed or are due to complete a doctorate and lasts for three years enabling you to gain QTS while building your knowledge in research options and classroom teaching. During this qualification route you will also gain a Research Leader in Education Award which highlights the impact you could have on a school. 

This programme also includes Maths and Physics Chairs programme and is for exceptional candidates looking to commit to teacher training so they can engage in classroom teaching and research focused projects. Not only will you gain QTS but you’ll also receive an honorary research associate status. For entry you’ll need a PhD in: 

  • Physics*
  • Mathematics*
  • Engineering
  • Chemistry*
  • Biology
  • Computing*
  • English
  • Modern Languages (French/German/Spanish)*
  • Geography
  • History
  • Classics

(*Nationally-recognised, high priority subjects.)

This programme lasts for three to four years and begins with a ‘Summer Training’ induction course following a structured programme of the following:

Year 1: Three days per week in the classroom with classroom training and mentoring. You’ll also have one day per week off so you can work towards the Research Leader in Education Award. 

Year 2: You’ll be based at a placement school where you’ll teach as a newly qualified teacher alongside receiving training. You’ll also research and design what works to increase students’ understanding of subjects.

Year 3: You’ll complete your RLE while still teaching in your placement school. You’ll also undergo leadership training to increase your impact.

Open University teacher training

Open University teacher training offers various routes from honours degrees to diplomas of higher education, certificates of higher education and postgraduate degrees. Each course will help you to build your knowledge while gaining insights into teaching and learning. Open University teacher training can include: 

Honours degrees

  • BA (Honours) Education Studies (Primary)
  • BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning
  • BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching
  • BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies
  • BA (Honours) Early Childhood
  • Top-up BA (Honours) Early Childhood
  • BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree

Diplomas of Higher Education

  • Diploma of Higher Education in Education Studies (Primary)
  • Diploma of Higher Education in Sport and Fitness
  • Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood and Youth Studies
  • Diploma of Higher Education in Early Childhood
  • Diploma of Higher Education Open

Certificates of Higher Education

  • Certificate of Higher Education in Sport, Fitness and Management
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Childhood and Youth Studies
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Children and Families
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Early Childhood
  • Certificate of Higher Education Open

Postgraduate

  • Learning and teaching: Educating the next generation
  • Learning and teaching: Understanding your educational practice

These courses both enable you to explore the world of teaching and look at social and digital factors which are impacting the next generation. You’ll take into account current views of education and how you can prepare students for the future. These courses will also give you the opportunity to gain insights into how learning happens, how is teaching validated and organised. 

Get Into Teaching 

Get Into Teaching is an invaluable resource which offers support and advice from the Department for Education. It has lots of information on how you can get help, funding options, life as a teacher and salaries. 

To fund your training you might be eligible for one or more of the following:

  • Tuition fee and maintenance loans - these are available for all subjects including teaching
  • Extra financial support - if you’re a parent, carer or have a disability them you might be able to receive additional support financially
  • Tax-free bursary or scholarship - to receive this you’ll need a first, 2:1, 2:2, PhD or Masters

How long does it take to become a teacher?

How long it takes to become a teacher all depends on the teacher training programme you undertake. These can vary from one year with the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) to up to six years if you decide to take a degree and then a postgraduate degree to receive QTS. However, generally speaking, it takes about four years. 

Teacher salary

Teachers can expect to receive a competitive starting salary with pay rising as you progress. In inner London, your salary will begin at at least £29,664 and for the rest of the UK, you will start on a teacher’s salary of £23,719. As you progress, you could become a headteacher where your salary could reach up to £118,849! 

The teacher salary has high earning potential and there will be plenty of career advancement opportunities. An added bonus is know you’re in a career you love and making a difference by educating the next generation.

Teachers’ Pension Scheme

When you begin your career journey as a teacher you’ll also be enrolled onto the Teachers’ Pension Scheme which is backed by the states public pension. Through this you’re guaranteed a source of income once you’re retired, a salary based service, it will increase each year, you’re able to take a tax-free lump sum and offers protection to your family if you’re too ill to teach or early death. 

Teachers’ Student Loan Reimbursement

Are you currently teaching Languages, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Computing or planning to do so? If so, you could be eligible for the Teacher’s Student Loan Reimbursement. You can be reimbursed for payments made for up to 11 years. This applies to teachers of the subjects touched on above and you must be employed in a state funded secondary school in an eligible local authority. This can include:

  • Barnsley
  • Blackpool
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Bradford
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Derby
  • Derbyshire
  • Doncaster
  • Halton
  • Knowsley
  • Luton
  • Middlesbrough
  • Norfolk
  • North-east Lincolnshire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Northumberland
  • Oldham
  • Peterborough
  • Portsmouth
  • Salford
  • Sefton
  • St Helens
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Suffolk

To find out more, you can email: financial.incentives@education.gov.uk

Teacher skills

To work in education teachers need a special set of skills to ensure they fulfil the requirements of their role. These can include the following but remember this is not limited:

Communication

This is a crucial aspect of teaching, you’ll need to demonstrate you can listen to students and you’re able to get your point across when teaching a class. 

Patience 

This is also another vital area of teaching. Each student will learn at different paces and at times you may be faced with challenging behaviour. You need to be resilient and able to remain calm in difficult situations. 

Creativity 

People love to learn when it’s fun and interesting! If you can integrate creativity into your teaching approach then students will enjoy it and remember it more! 

Dedication 

Teaching can be highly challenging at times so you’ll need to be dedicated to the job and encourage students to reach their true potential. 

Organisation

Teaching often includes a lot of paperwork, from lesson planning to marking homework. You can practice this on by being organised with your university work! 

Supportive

Children can go through difficult times and you’ll need to be there to support them, from troubles at home, needing career advice and struggling in class. You need to reassure them and to guide them to act accordingly.

Teacher training jobs

There are many exciting and rewarding teacher training jobs available, it all depends on your career goals and targets! Whether you want to teach in a primary school, secondary school, further and higher education institution that all depends on your personal preference. 

If you want to earn while you learn, gain a nationally recognised qualification and develop relevant sector skills then a teacher training job could be the perfect route for you! Once you are a qualified teacher, the possibilities are endless, you might teach abroad or look for development opportunities. Who knows what the future could hold?

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