How do I get into teaching and education?

How do I get into teaching and education?
Find out how to become a qualified teacher and check out the qualifications you’ll need to get onto a teacher training course, plus education careers for non-graduates.

You need to have a degree and complete a period of training to qualify as a teacher. The most popular way of doing this is to study for a degree and then take a one-year postgraduate teacher training course. Alternatively, you can also choose an undergraduate degree that includes teacher training.

There is a range of postgraduate teacher training routes to choose from, all of which combine studying with on-the-job training in schools and which typically take a year to complete. The route to qualifying as a teacher is slightly different in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the process is broadly similar and you need a degree to apply for postgraduate teacher training across the UK.

You don’t have to be a qualified teacher to teach in private or independent schools or in state schools that are academies, as this is not a legal requirement for these types of schools. However, most teachers working in these schools do have qualified teacher status (QTS) and your chances of getting a teaching job will be much better if you do too. Our advice on whether you can get into teaching and education without a degree explains the options for non-graduates.

What should you study if you want to become a teacher?

Check out our tips on what you should study at university if you want to go on to become a teacher, which also flags up which subjects currently attract the most generous bursaries for trainee teachers and the other funding options available. Make sure you know what’s available so you can base your decision on the facts, rather than letting yourself be put off by assumptions about the costs involved.

We’ve also got all the different postgraduate routes into teaching covered in our advice on the training you’ll need after university to become a teacher.

What you need to get onto a teacher training course

  • A UK degree or relevant qualification. It’s ultimately down to the teacher training provider to decide whether your qualification meets their requirements. Check our advice on what you should study at university if you want to be a teacher.
  • Grade C/4 or above in GCSE English and maths. For primary courses you also need GSCE science C/4 or above. In Scotland you need a Higher (or equivalent) in English and a National 5 (or equivalent) in maths.
  • You may need to complete a declaration of health questionnaire, which will be used as the basis for the initial assessment of your medical fitness to teach.
  • You must declare any criminal convictions. All trainee teachers have their criminal records history checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before they start their school-based training.
  • School-based work experience. Most training providers want you to have at least two weeks’ work experience with the age group you wish to teach, so you should arrange to do this while you are still studying for your undergraduate degree.
  • Teacher training providers may set tests as part of the admissions process, such as assessments of subject knowledge or tests of written English or numeracy.
  • Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course: if you want to teach a shortage subject and your degree is not closely related to it, your training provider may decide you need to take an SKE course to develop your knowledge of the subject.

How do I get a non-teaching job in education?

Other roles in education, such as teaching assistant jobs in schools, are open to non-graduates. There are also opportunities for school leavers in other areas that involve working with children and young people, such as childcare. It will be down to individual schools and employers to decide what qualifications you need to apply and what training to offer; having some relevant work experience will help, whether it’s babysitting or volunteering to help with an after-school club. You will need a DBS check for any role working with children or young people.

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