What qualifications do you need to become a teacher?

Qualifications to become a teacher

To teach in the state maintained sector you'll need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) in addition to your first degree, unless you have completed a Bachelor of Education (BEd) or a BSc/BA with QTS.

There are a number of different training routes available which provide QTS, with the opportunity to train in different settings. Some of them offer the chance to gain a PGCE. To attain QTS you will also need to satisfy a range of criteria outlined below.

What are the entry requirements for a career in teaching?

To qualify as a teacher in England you must meet the following requirements:

  • GCSE grade C or above in mathematics and English: for primary teaching you also need GCSE science grade C or above.
  • Professional skills tests: in literacy and numeracy (if training in England). You must pass these before starting your teacher training course.
  • A degree: for primary teaching some ITT providers prefer you to have a degree in a national curriculum subject. If you don’t, you should talk directly to the training provider to see if they will accept your degree. For secondary teaching you'll need a degree in, or closely related to, the subject you would like to teach.
  • Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses: if you want to teach a shortage subject and your degree is not closely linked to it, your training provider may decide that you need to take an SKE course to boost your subject knowledge. These courses comprise the equivalent of between two weeks’ and six months’ study but may sometimes be done over a longer period through part-time study or distance learning or alongside the start of your initial teacher training course.
  • Declaration of health questionnaire: you may be asked to complete a declaration of health questionnaire before starting the ITT course. Any information you provide about disability is protected by the Equality Act 2010. If you have a disability it is advisable to make early contact with the training provider.

  • Declaration of criminal convictions: the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which allow convictions for criminal offences to be regarded as ‘spent’ after a period of time, don't apply to the teaching profession. You're required to declare any previous convictions. All trainee teachers undergo a criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting school-based training.

Written by Margaret Evans, Northumbria University

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