What is a PGCE?

The postgraduate certificate in education – or PGCE is a one- or two-year academic qualification you can achieve during your teacher training.

What courses is the PGCE available on? 

A postgraduate qualification, usually a PGCE, is part of most teacher training courses, in England. Speak to your chosen training provider to find out what qualification, such as a PGCE, their course offers. 

Do I need a PGCE to qualify as a teacher in England?  

No – you only need QTS, which you achieve on successfully completing all postgraduate teacher training courses. The PGCE is an additional qualification you can gain alongside QTS. 

What are the benefits of gaining a PGCE?  

In addition to the increased confidence the academic training gives you, the PGCE is also an internationally recognised qualification. If you ever decide to teach in Scotland, Northern Ireland or other countries, it’s likely you’ll need an academic qualification such as a PGCE alongside QTS to register as a qualified teacher.

Many courses that include a PGCE also carry Master’s-level credits. Usually, the maximum credits obtained from a PGCE is 60 Master's-level credits. You should check with your chosen training provider about the amount of credits their course offers. 

How can I find and apply for PGCE courses? 

You can check if providers include a PGCE as part of their training when you search for courses on the Department for Education’s search service: Find Postgraduate Teacher Training. You’ll be able to filter your results for a ‘postgraduate certificate in education with qualified teacher status’ only.  Remember, to teach as a qualified teacher in England you only need a QTS, which is awarded on successful completion of all courses. However, a PGCE may prove useful if you want to teach abroad, or may want to complete a Master’s in the future.

Do all PGCE courses award QTS? 

No – you could complete a further education (FE) PGCE, which will not include QTS - this qualification is valuable if you would like to teach adult learners. Find out more on FE training. If you’re unsure on whether your course results in the award of QTS, you should speak to your training provider before you apply.

Does it have to be a PGCE?

No – some courses include a different qualification, such as a postgraduate diploma in education or a postgraduate certificate in teaching. Any postgraduate qualification offered by a university in England will be academically rigorous and likely to carry Master’s-level credits. Your training provider will advise on the nature and content of qualifications they offer.

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If you want to know more about how to become a teacher, read our helpful guide which includes the age groups and subjects you could teach.