What training do I need after uni to work as a teacher?

What training do I need after uni to work as a teacher?
Find out about the PGCE, School Direct and Teach First teacher training programmes for graduates. Check out the routes to qualifying in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are various different paths to qualifying as a teacher, all of which include degree-level study plus professional training and experience in schools. The most popular route is a degree followed by the one-year postgraduate PGCE (Professional Graduate or Postgraduate Certificate of Education) or PGDE (Professional Graduate or Postgraduate Diploma in Education). These courses are university-led but involve spending at least 24 weeks on placement in at least two schools.

Alternatively, there are school-based teacher training programmes for you to consider, including the scheme run by the education charity Teach First, and these options can also lead to a PGCE. There are different routes to qualification in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are also covered in this article.

School-based routes to teacher training

There’s a range of school-based routes to teacher training open to graduates:

School Direct. Schools select their trainees and offer training in partnership with an accredited provider, leading to a PGCE in some cases. There are two main options. Graduates with three or more years of experience in the workplace can apply for the salaried option, which involves being employed as an unqualified teacher (and hence being paid) and having your tuition fees paid for you. Other graduates need to apply for the unsalaried option, which isn't paid and on which you'll need to pay your tuition fees for yourself.

Teach First. Teach First is an education charity and its leadership development programme is a two-year programme that places graduates in challenging schools in low income areas. You start off as an unqualified teacher, working towards a PGCE in your first year before completing the induction year for newly qualified teachers in the second.

Teach First is a salaried programme. You don’t pay tuition fees and you’ll receive at least the basic salary for unqualified teachers in your first year.

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT). These one-year teacher training programmes are school-based for the majority of the time. The training is provided by a group of schools and education providers working together. Some, but not all, SCITT programmes lead to a PGCE qualification.

Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships. This route is similar to the salaried School Direct training programme in that it enables you to train while earning a salary, but it is different in that you do not need to have three years of career experience in order to apply. This is a relatively new scheme and there are currently only a limited number of vacancies. No tuition fees are payable, but if the apprenticeship includes a PGCE there may be a cost involved in completing the qualification.

Is there any help available to pay for teacher training?

If undergraduate study followed by teacher training sounds like a daunting financial commitment, bear in mind that there’s a range of non-repayable bursaries and scholarships available to help cover the costs of training. How much you get can depend on what you are training to teach and your degree result. Find out more in our advice on what you should study at university if you want to be a teacher.

Qualifying as a teacher in Scotland

If you are considering training as a teacher in Scotland, there are two undergraduate training routes open to you and you can find out more about these in our advice on what to study at university if you want to teach.

If you want to train in Scotland as a graduate, the qualification you’ll need to take is the Professional Diploma in Education (PGDE). You’ll need a valid degree to apply for a PGDE. You can find out more about the requirements from Teach in Scotland.

If you are taking a PGDE in Scotland you can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan and you may also be eligible for grants, depending on your circumstances.

Qualifying as a teacher in Wales

As in the rest of the UK, there are two basic options to you. You can take an undergraduate course that leads to qualified teacher status – find out more about this from our advice on what to study at university if you want to become a teacher. Alternatively there are two qualification paths for graduates:

  • One-year Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) – this allows you to qualify while you work. You may receive a salary from the school where you are teaching.

You can find out more about the funding you can apply for, including grants, loans and teacher training incentives, from Discover Teaching

Qualifying as a teacher in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere in the UK, you can apply for an undergraduate degree course leading to qualified teacher status. See our advice on what to study at uni if you want to be a teacher for tips on how to choose your undergraduate course.

Alternatively, you can take a PGCE after your first degree. You can find out about funding teacher training from nidirect, the government website for Northern Ireland.

Search for...

Degree Explorer

The Degree Explorer helps you plan for your future! Match your interests to university subjects and explore each recommendation to find out what suits you.

Get started

Teacher or parent?

Join our mailing list to receive monthly newsletters from our TARGETcareers and Inspiring Futures teams to help you support your school leavers in their career and university decision making.