How to get a teaching certificate in the UK

If you have the basic requirements of GCSE or equivalent in maths and English at Grade C or above, plus a GCSE in a science subject if you want to teach children aged seven to 14, you can train to become a teacher in the UK. There are four main routes to acquiring qualified teacher status, and your choice may depend on whether you want to teach in primary schools, secondary schools or in further education. All new entrants to the teaching profession require at least a Bachelor level degree. After your initial training, you need to work for an induction year as a newly-qualified teacher.

Obtain a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree with qualified teacher status. QTS requires you to pass a skills test, and from September 2013 you need to do this before starting your university course.

Study for a postgraduate certificate in education (or in Scotland, a professional graduate diploma in education) full-time at a university or part-time while you gain teaching experience, if you already have a good honours degree.

Apply to a school running the School Direct training programme. If you're accepted, the school will provide training for one year and may offer you a job at the end of your training. The salaried version of this programme is open to graduates with at least three years' career experience.

Obtain the Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills qualification, or QTLS, to teach in the further education sector in England and Wales. The equivalent programme in Scotland is the Teaching Qualification in Further Education or TQFE. QTLS can be undertaken part-time while teaching in FE and provides an equivalent status to QTS. A teacher with QTLS can teach in primary and secondary schools if she has the appropriate degree or subject qualification.


Classroom experience is essential in order to start teacher training. Volunteer to help at a local school or work as a teaching assistant before applying to your preferred training route.

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About the Author

Isobel Phillips has been writing technical documentation, marketing and educational resources since 1980. She also writes on personal development for the website UnleashYourGrowth. Phillips is a qualified accountant, has lectured in accounting, math, English and information technology and holds a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in English from the University of Leeds.