What qualifications do I need to be a Teacher?

Let’s face it if you want to be a teacher first you will need to want to work with children and you will need some good qualifications! Also you need to be aware that the type of teaching you do can also vary depending on the age of the children you teach.

If you would like to be a primary school teacher, you will need to have an all round knowledge of subjects where as teaching older children requires more specialist knowledge. Either way you will have to have attained QTS or Qualified Teaching Status to be allowed to teach in a state school. Schools always need of people with other talents as well, so anything else you can offer eg. singing, piano playing, IT skills are always really useful and will help with your application.

• Great holidays! - 12 weeks a year
• A relatively short working day
• Generally quite a secure job – schools always need teachers, and all over the country so if you want to move it can be quite easy

• Pressure to reach government targets and lots of paperwork
• You will end up doing lots of extra work outside your normal ‘teaching day’. eg lesson planning, marking, attending parent evenings, putting up displays, helping with productions, meetings etc….

GCSEs required
The basic requirement is that you must have at least a grade C in English Language and Maths - after all you will be teaching these subjects to young people. In reality you will probably need more than this depending on the course you want to take or the college you want to go to plus the type of teaching you want to do.
Also if you were born on or after 1 September 1979, and want to teach primary or key stage 2/3 (ages seven to 14), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C in a GCSE science subject.

A-levels required
Again this will depend on the course and type of teaching you want to do, but generally at least two good A-levels are required.

Degree or further educational requirement
You will need a degree* and there are different options about how you can do this:
i) If you know straightaway you want to be a teacher, or can take a degree in teaching – called a Bachelor of Education or BEd. This takes 3 to 4 years to complete and will include some training in schools so you can get some experience along the way.
ii) A second route can be useful if you have already completed a degree in a subject and then decide you want to be a teacher later – your degree must be related to the subject you want to teach. For this route you take a course called a Postgraduate Certification of Education or PGCE which normally lasts one year. This course is designed to help you with the practical aspects of teaching and dealing with pupils.
iii) Teach First may also be an option. It is a scheme launched in 2002 as a charity and is aimed at recruiting a number of top graduates to work in challenged secondary schools. Basically you don’t need to take a PGCE, but the requirements are quite strict and for more information visit www.teachfirst.org.uk
*If you don’t have a degree but are still really keen to teach there are a couple of options where you might be allowed; i) if you have been out of education for a long time or ii) if you have been working in a school and have relevant experience – for more information visit

How long will it take to get qualified?
The quickest route is to take a degree in teaching or BEd (Bachelor of Education) which is usually 3 to 4 years. You can then apply for a job as an NQT or Newly Qualified Teacher. This will take an additional year of teaching in school (or three terms of teaching). You will need to have attained QTS (Qualified Teaching Status) before you can do this. Once you have undertaken your NQT year you can then go ahead and teach where ever you like.

The number of teachers in the UK is around 440,000.

Typical salary £25,000 to £30,000

Useful websites