Routes to become a teacher: understanding the different qualification options

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Date published 20 November 2023

Last updated 21 March 2024

Whether you’re a recent graduate, looking for a new career, or already working in a school, find your route into teaching in our guide below.

I have a degree and I want to be a teacher

If you already have a degree, you can enrol for postgraduate teacher training either through a university or a schools-based route.

Here, you will gain qualified teacher status, or QTS. Some providers also offer a postgraduate certificate in education, or ‘PGCE’.

This is the type of training that Ambition offers through a schools-based route. On our programme you gain both QTS and a PGCE.

Another option is to do a postgraduate apprenticeship. This is a work-based route that typically lasts 12 to 15 months and is available through universities and providers across the UK.

I don't have a degree and I want to be a teacher

If you’ve just finished your A-levels, or you’ve got some work experience but haven’t been to university, you need to get a degree to train to teach.

If you want to teach as soon as you graduate, one route for you is through undergraduate initial teacher training. This is where you study teaching at a university and gain your QTS.

These programmes last three or four years and are provided by many universities across the UK.

You could also take an undergraduate degree in another subject, and then follow up with a postgraduate initial teacher training programme either through a university or a schools-based route.

I have a degree and I've worked in schools, now I want to get qualified

If you have a degree and you’ve taught in the past – perhaps as a teaching assistant, or in non-maintained or international schools - both postgraduate teacher training and apprenticeships are available to you.

If you have a significant amount of teaching experience, you can take an assessment-only route.

This allows you to demonstrate that you already meet all the standards required to be awarded QTS.

Rather than taking a full teacher training course, you can show your qualifications and experience through a series of assessments, such as lesson observations or providing a portfolio.

Find out more about training to be a teacher on the Ambition Institute website.

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