How to become a teacher

Discover if a career teaching in a primary or secondary school in England is right for you.

These steps can help you to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS), which you need to teach in many primary and secondary schools in England.

With QTS you also get additional training and support in your first 2 years as a teacher, helping you to grow in confidence and develop the skills you need to succeed.

You do not have to follow all of the steps in order and some may take longer than others.

Non-UK citizens: additional steps

There are more steps to consider if you're a non-UK citizen.

A teacher training adviser can give free practical advice and reassurance about all of these steps and more. Learn more about teacher training advisers.

  • Check your qualifications

    To train to teach, you’ll need to have GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths (and science if you want to teach primary).

    You also need a degree in any subject to teach primary and secondary – if you have one or an equivalent qualification, you can do postgraduate teacher training.

    If you do not have a degree, you can do undergraduate teacher training to get a degree alongside qualified teacher status (QTS). Or you may be eligible to do a teacher degree apprenticeship (TDA).

    Find out more about the qualifications you need to teach.

  • Understand funding

    Undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training course fees are around £9,250 per year.

    You can apply for tuition fee and maintenance loans, even if you already have a student loan.

    If you're interested in teaching certain subjects, you might be able to get up to £30k tax-free to support you while you're training. This money does not have to be paid back.

    Find out how to fund your training.

  • Consider getting experience

    Experiencing life in a school can help you decide if teaching is right for you and who you want to teach. This is a good way to give you a taste of what the classroom is really like.

    Learn more about getting classroom experience.

  • Find a teacher training course

    Through teacher training, you can get qualified teacher status (QTS) or QTS with a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

    You need QTS to teach in most primary and secondary schools in England but you do not need a PGCE to teach.

    Find out about how to choose your teacher training course.

    You can find postgraduate teacher training courses in England(opens in new window).

    Or take a look at undergraduate teacher training courses(opens in new window).

  • Apply for teacher training

    You can usually start applying for postgraduate training in October and undergraduate training in May, the calendar year before your course starts.

    You can apply throughout the year, but some courses do fill up quickly.

    Get tips on making a great application including finding the right references and writing a personal statement.

    Apply for postgraduate teacher training(opens in new window).

  • Start your teacher training

    All postgraduate training involves classroom placements in at least 2 schools. Your training will also include some theoretical learning, which might be in a different location to your placements.

    Most postgraduate courses start in September, with full-time courses taking 9 months and part-time courses taking 18 to 24.

    Undergraduate courses usually take 4 years.

    Find out more about what postgraduate teacher training is like.

  • Apply for a teaching role

    Some teacher training providers recommend you start thinking about job applications quite early in your teacher training year.

    Schools start to advertise their vacancies from January.

    Get help applying for teaching jobs(opens in new window).

  • Start your career

    Congratulations – you're a qualified teacher!

    Now that you’ve started your first teaching job, you’ll be an early career teacher (ECT) – this used to be called newly qualified teacher (NQT).

    For your first 2 years as an early career teacher, you’ll receive a package of support to help you find your feet. You'll get this automatically if you work in a maintained school but lots of other schools provide this for ECTs too.

    You’ll get a mentor to support you, boost your confidence and help you develop key skills, including behaviour management and ways to adapt your teaching. This builds on your initial teacher training.

    Find out more about support for early career teachers (ECT).

Get free one-to-one support

An adviser with years of teaching experience can help you with your teacher training application. Chat through phone, text or email as little or often as you need.

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Get free one-to-one support

Whether it's just an idea or you're ready to apply, you could get personalised support from an adviser with years of teaching experience. Chat to them by phone, email or text as little or as often as you need.

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