How do I become a teacher?

So you’re thinking about training to be a teacher either now or at some point in the future? Congratulations! Teaching is a fantastic career choice which offers challenge, achievement and variety, not to mention great employment prospects.* 

*99% of our PGCE students were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating according to the 2016/17 DLHE. 

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But as soon as you begin to look into the teaching profession, the number of different ways to become a qualified teacher can at first glance appear mind-boggling. Estimates about the number of routes into the profession vary, with some people identifying as many as 40 different options! We’re pleased to tell you that the reality of the situation is much more straightforward than it can at first appear.

There are in effect three main routes into teaching – an undergraduate route, a postgraduate route with fees and an employment-based postgraduate route.

1. Undergraduate route

If you don’t yet have a degree but do have (or are studying for) Level 3 qualifications like A Levels (or their equivalent) PLUS and GCSE grade C (or the equivalent) in maths and English (and sometimes Science, depending on the course), then an undergraduate teacher training course could be the right way forward for you.

Most undergraduate programmes last for at least three years and should include Qualified Teacher Status, known as QTS. This is important as it’s achieving QTS that qualifies you to be a teacher in the UK. Most undergraduate courses are for people who want to teach in primary schools – and we offer a BA (Hons) in Primary Education with QTS. However, there are a small number of undergraduate courses for people who want to teach a specific subject in secondary schools. These tend to be in shortage subject areas around science, technology and mathematics. We currently offer three of these courses:

On an undergraduate teacher training course you would receive the same level of support and student loan entitlements as people on other degree courses.

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Find out more at an Open Day

Learn more about undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training at one of our Open Days.

2. Postgraduate route

You can apply for a postgraduate teacher training course if you already have a degree (or you’re in your final year at university) and you meet the maths and English GCSE (and sometimes science) requirements. Courses usually last for one year and are available for those wanting to train as primary school teachers or teachers of a specific subject in secondary schools or the further education sector. The courses are delivered and led by either universities (like us!) or School Centred Teacher Training providers (SCITTs) who often work in partnership with a university.

Most courses lead to an academic qualification (usually a master’s level Postgraduate Certificate in Education known as a PGCE) plus QTS. They can also be delivered through the government’s School Direct (fee-paying) route, which involves individual schools working with a university or SCITT partner.

If you’re looking at a postgraduate fee paying route to teach at secondary level, you may qualify for a bursary, depending on the subject you’re training to teach and the level of your qualifications (including your degree and any postgraduate qualifications). Students on postgraduate courses are also eligible to apply for student loan support on the same basis as undergraduate students.

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3. Employment-based routes (for people with a degree and who receive a salary while training)

These are also delivered by schools working in partnership with universities or SCITTs through either the School Direct (salaried) route or the new QTS apprenticeships. Some of these courses also lead to an academic qualification such as a PGCE.

Another employment based route is Teach First, which recruits top graduates who receive a short intensive programme of training followed by further training while working in a school. These are also delivered in partnership with universities (like us!) and lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

There are a number of sub-categories under each of these headings which you might want to investigate but you will find it helpful to decide which of the above suits you best before you do further research.

You can find detailed information about the different ways to become a teacher can be found on the government’s Get Into Teaching website, including information on financial support for trainee teachers. 

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See what we have to offer

We offer a wide range of teacher training courses - both undergraduate and postgraduate - for primary, secondary and post-compulsory education.

Our teacher training courses