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Monday 25 January

Employability Service

Your Career Options


Further details on typical roles, employers and sector trends can be found on our Employability Portal and within the Job Sectors section of the Prospects website and TargetJobs.

A career in teaching can be undertaken in a range of settings, such as: schools (primary and secondary, state run and private), further and higher education, and in non-school settings, including hospitals and prisons in the UK. There are also openings worldwide for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.

Whichever route you take, evidence of commitment to teaching and an understanding of the skills required to be effective in this role, are essential. For working in schools, it is vitally important.

The best way to demonstrate this is through undertaking some relevant work experience, either paid or voluntary, preferably whilst at University.

Work Experience

Try the National Council for Voluntary Organisations website for volunteer placements working with children and young people.

Teaching in Schools

If you who are interested in secondary teaching, but are not sure whether you are qualified to do so, you may find information regarding Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses helpful. The courses are designed to build knowledge in the core subjects such as Maths, Sciences, English, Geography, ICT and languages. You can find out more at and there is also a directory of providers on this page.

There are various routes to becoming a qualified teacher all of which are outlined within the Department for Education - Get Into Teaching website.

The most common routes are outlined below:

See Get in to Teaching for more details.

  • UNIVERSITY-LED TRAINING with school placements. PGCE - Postgraduate Certificate of Education.
  • SCHOOL-LED TRAINING. All lead to QTS and some may also lead to PGCE qualification.
  • SCITT - School-Centred Initial Teacher Training
  • School Direct Training Programme (salaried and unsalaried) - Employment-based route
  • Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship
  • Teach First – Spend two years working in a challenging school, qualifying as a teacher, while completing a Leadership Development Programme and work experience with leading employers.
  • Overseas Teachers - support for those who qualified as Maths, Physics, French, German or Spanish teachers outside of UK. There’s also support available for graduates seeking to train as teachers – particularly in Maths and Physics
  • Researchers in Schools: The Maths and Physics Chairs programme, part of Researchers in Schools (RIS), is a three-year bespoke, salaried teacher training course for high-calibre candidates who have completed, or are finishing, their PhD.

PGCE Application Information

When to apply?

Generally speaking, applications are accepted from the end of October to August for courses starting the following September or October. However, be aware that courses in primary teaching, physical education (PE) and history are very popular and there is considerable competition for places. You are advised to apply early. To guarantee that your first choice of course provider will consider you, you need to apply before the end of November in the year before you wish to train.

How do you apply for postgraduate initial teacher training:
Get into Teaching and Target Jobs.

Early Years Teaching

To become a trainee Early Years Teacher, you will need to firstly meet the same entry requirements and pass the same skills tests as trainee primary school teachers. You will then need to complete an Early Years initial teacher training (ITT) course, which will lead to the award of Early Years Teacher Status. There are 3 ways for early years teacher status to be awarded. (EYTS). Alternatively you can complete a Primary ITT course, which leads to QTS, and specialise in Early Years Foundation Stage. Most government schools require you to have QTS to work with them and be paid on the qualified teachers scale.  

Teaching in Further Education

The Education and Training Foundation is the main source of information about training to teach in FE and Skills sector in England. They also run the main FE information website: and the telephone and email advice line: or tel: 0300 303 1877.

For information on this role and routes to qualifying have a look at the Occupational Profile on the Prospects website..

New qualifications for teaching in the FE sector were introduced on 1st September 2013

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (QCF) 12 credits
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (QCF) 36 credits
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (QCF) 120 credits

Information on qualifications for teaching in the FE sector is also covered by the The Education and Training Foundation. The full teaching qualification for the sector is the level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) but if this is taken at a university (or even some FE colleges) it may be called a PGCE or a Cert Ed.

Teaching in Higher Education

For information on this role and routes to qualifying have a look at the Occupational Profile on the Prospects website.

You will normally have to have a minimum of a first or 2:1 degree in a subject that's relevant to what you want to lecture in. Entry without a PhD (or nearing completion of a PhD) is difficult if you intend to teach an academic subject. However, for more vocational or specialised courses, expertise in the relevant field may be as valuable. Gaining teaching experience while completing your PhD – assisting with lectures, seminars, lab work, marking essays, and exams can be valuable experience.

Teaching in non-school settings

The required qualifications would equate to the age of the student/pupil. i.e. children in hospital would require a qualification relevant to teaching in schools, and for adults, i.e. in Prison - then an FE Teaching qualification.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

For information on this role and routes to qualifying have a look at the Occupational Profile on the Prospects website.

There are a variety of college based and private courses:

  • TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TESL - Teaching English as a second language

Additional Sources of Information

Alternative career options

Further Study


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