Teaching is a popular career choice and can be rewarding and enjoyable.
This page will give you information on how to get into teaching and helps you assess if it’s the right career for you.
Types of teaching
Primary LevelBetween the ages of 4 and 11 spending most of the day with your own class. You will teach all subjects of the Primary National Curriculum.
Secondary LevelYou usually teach pupils between the ages of 11 and 18. Most secondary school teachers have one specialist subject.
Post-16 LevelUsually teaching age 16+ though there may be some lower age range teaching. Subjects range from traditional A levels to much more vocational subjects.
Careers in Teaching and Education
Work experience for teacher training
Before deciding on a teaching career, getting experience of teaching and the school/college environment is essential.
You can do this by:
Visiting a school – Contact a local school to request classroom observation/experience – School contact details can be found on local authority websites, eg. RCT, Cardiff or Newport. Or search for local schools using My Local School – Welsh Government’s school database. Contains a wealth of data such as pupil numbers and characteristics, school performance, attendance and data on staffing and finance.
Teach First Taster Programme – The Taster Programme is a unique one day opportunity to engage with Teach First and start developing the skills and attributes needed to progress to employment after university. Visit the Teach First website for more information.
How to get work experience you need to teach
To discuss your options further with a careers adviser, please feel free to contact us
Training routes and entry requirements
Primary or Secondary Level
You can achieve Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) by undertaking:
Undergraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses generally take three or four years full-time. However, if you have undergraduate credits from previous study you may be able to complete a course in two years.
If you have completed at least 1 year’s higher education, ie. HNC, you may be able to undertake a 2 year teaching course eg. BSc (Hons) Secondary Teaching Mathematics, Science, ICT with Qualified Teacher Status
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
University based – 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.
Entry Requirements (England and Wales)
- You’ll need a degree awarded by a UK university, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
- GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent) at grade C or above (or grade B if you’re applying in Wales).
- For primary or middle school (key stages 2–3) you’ll also need at least a C grade in GCSE science (or equivalent).
For information on GCSE Grade B Equivalence Modules offered at the University of South Wales please visit: www.southwales.ac.uk/study/subjects/teaching/gcse-grade-b-equivalence-modules
Graduate Teacher Programme – Wales only
Employment based – You will be employed by a school and therefore get paid as you teach.
Trainees undertake an individual programme designed to enable them to meet the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Standards.
Candidates for the GTP must hold a first degree or its equivalent in an appropriate subject i.e. a subject that is taught in schools. The programme normally lasts one year full-time but trainees with suitable previous experience and qualifications may complete the programme in a shorter time (the minimum period is 3 months full-time/one school term).
School Direct – England Only
Employment based – You will be employed by a school
School Direct places are available in primary and secondary schools across England and programmes generally last for one year, visit Department of Education’s Get into Teaching for more details.
School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) – England Only
Employment based – Usually based in one school from the consortium.
SCITT programmes are designed and delivered by groups of neighbouring schools and colleges and are 1 year full time. More information on SCITTs
There are several teaching qualifications available, including PGCE, if you wish to teach students beyond the age of compulsory education; your choice will depend on the type of teaching role you wish to pursue. For an overview take a look at TARGETcourses’ Training to teach in further and higher education
PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET)
University-based – Your degree needs to have at least 50% relevance to the subject that you want to teach.
Suitable for those interested in teaching at post-16 level eg. further, higher and adult education. Full time and part time courses are offered at a number of institutions including University of South Wales
To Apply – Depending on where the course is held you will need to either contact the institution directly or apply via the UCAS Teacher Training
For providers of Post Compulsory Education and Training PGCEs see Targetcourses
Which route into teaching is right for you?
There are many ways you can train to become a teacher. But which route is right for you? UCAS has an interactive quiz on their website. It will help you think through the differences between the types of training, then provide information about the routes matching your preferences.
Making a Successful Application
The Personal Statement is the most crucial part of the application form. Used by training providers to assess your commitment to teaching, desire for self-development, and enthusiasm about education.
Write a great personal statement for teacher training
TARGETcourses Tips for writing and checking your personal statement
The Department of Education’s guide to help you complete the application process successfully.
Applying for teacher training
Prospects’ advice on how to complete the personal statement.
Some important points to be aware of:
- Applications from disabled and dyslexic students are welcomed.
- DRB check required – Any criminal convictions must be declared.
If you need help with your application you can contact a careers adviser making sure you leave them plenty of time before the closing date to look at your application.
Fees and Funding
For undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training courses, you will have to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees vary depending on the course and the higher education institution. You should contact the HEI provider of the course or programme you are interested in directly.
Home and EU students may be eligible for a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of tuition fees charged. Grants and loans for maintenance may also be available (depending on individual circumstances). This is available through Student Finance Wales and Student Finance England
Bursaries are available for trainees on eligible postgraduate courses. There may also be additional incentives for those wanting to teach at Secondary level through the medium of Welsh.
Getting a teaching job when qualified
CAREERS IN… Education – For job and careers links in teaching and education.
AGCAS Publication – Educational Alternatives – This publication provides information about education-related careers outside of work as a qualified teacher in mainstream schools.
Teaching Recruitment agencies
Share this page?