How to Become a Teacher

How do I become a teacher? A regularly asked question on the Teachers Forum, this article should tell you all you need to know.
There are a number of ways into teaching, some of which depend on your current situation and qualifications.
Rest assured though, there will be a way into teaching for you, good luck!

This article relates to those wanting to teach in state-maintained schools in England and Wales

Routes into Teaching

To become a teacher you will need QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) this ensures that you have achieved a suitable skill level to become a teacher.

To gain QTS you will need to complete a programme of ITT (Initial Teacher Training) this will involve at least 18 weeks practical experience in a school environment. ITT can be performed through a number of options, one of which should suit everyone with the desire to become a teacher:

Undergraduate Courses

You can train to be a teacher whilst completing a degree through a BEd (Bachelor of Education), BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science), the latter two with an included QTS course. The courses normally take 3-4 years full time and the BEd is a popular route for those interested in primary teaching.

Postgraduate Courses

1 year PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education) courses are a popular route, providing a further year of college/university study, focussing specifically on teaching, you are expected to already have a thorough understanding (degree level) of your chosen subject.
PGCE courses will provide a total of 24 weeks (18 for primary) placement in at least 2 schools.

SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training) courses provide an alternative to PGCE (though a PGCE qualification may be awarded with some). Favoured by those who have not been in higher education for some time, SCITT is usually the route to take if you are looking for a more classroom based learning experience. SCITT is provided by groups of local Schools and Colleges with skills provided by practising teachers and often tailored towards the local educational needs. (SCITT is not available in all areas and is a competitive route to take). View the Graduate Teacher Training Registry website for further details.

Education Based Training

The GTP (Graduate Teacher Programme) provides a 1 year school based employment programme, tailored for the individual. This is a preferred route by mature people who wish for a career to change but still need to earn whilst they train. Competition is high and places limited. Places can be found through school advertisements, or via a Designated Recommending Body (in England), usually your Local Education Authority.

RTP (Registered Teacher Programme) is available to individuals who have completed 2 years of a degree course. You will need to find employment as an unqualified teacher in a school that is willing to train you on the individual tailored programme. This route allows you to continue to gain your degree level qualification along with your QTS over a 2 year period, whilst earning unqualified teacher's salary.

OTTP (Overseas Trained Teacher Programme) allows qualified teachers from within the EU and some teachers from outside the EU to work in England whilst training for their QTS. Through working in a school a tailored programme provides additional training required to gain QTS. EU teachers may be able to apply for an Assessment Only route to QTS. Visit the National Academic Recognition Centre (NARIC) website or contact the Overseas Trained Teacher Advice Line on 01245 454321 for further details.

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Comments to date: 208. Page 6 of 21.
Average Rating:

Khyati Shah   Manchester

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I am an overseas physiotherapist and i came to this country to do my Msc Neurorehabilitation. Now that I have completed my studies I want to launch my career in teaching and I don't know where to start from. Help and suggestion would be high... read more »

Darren   south west

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Hi, I've been teaching for 8 years. In that time I've mostly taught as a full time staffer in primary schools. Due to redundancy. I've been teaching supply instead. I have found this a terrific alternative with many plus points over the usual contrac... read more »

Tiggyrimmer   East Midlands

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I have Level 3 maths/English and CErt Ed, also Level 5 NVQ in EV. With 26 years experience in FE I would like to go into Primary Teaching - is this possible?


Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I have achieved my BA in Ireland and will be moving to Cornwall in June. I wish to be a post-primary teacher. What is the best route for me to get into this sector?

Amelie   Kent

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I'm German and came over to England 5 months ago. Is there a way to become a teacher in England and what would i have to do?!


Thursday, December 1st, 2011

caitlin it depends what you are wanting to do. If it is definately primary then you must have a GCSE C grade in the main three subjects of maths, english and science. You must also hold experience when applying for a pgce of working in a teaching env... read more »

megan   england

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

i really dont want to go uni but i wouldnt mine going college im still confused wether i have to go uni and i dont no what gsce i need and a levels someone help me please

Caitlin   West Yorkshire

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I'm still confused. I'm in highschool and wanting to become a primary school teacher. I want to stay on for 6th form but confused as to what courses to take? I also took History, Drama and spanish at GCSE level. Need to know ASAP

Erin Skorbinski   East London

Monday, October 24th, 2011

I just wanted to know what I have to study in university.

Arnold   Wales

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I am looking to become a Primary school teacher. Do you think I will be accepted onto a Primary PGCE with a BA Media and Visual Cultures, ND Business Studies and 9 GCSE's ranging from A* to C?

Thank you

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