What is qualified teacher status (QTS)?

You need English qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in maintained primary, secondary and special schools in England. These are schools funded by local authorities.

Some schools can employ teachers without QTS (for example, private schools(opens in new window) and academy schools(opens in new window)) but most still prefer teachers to have it.

You do not need QTS to teach in further education or work in early years education.

If you qualified as a teacher outside the UK, you can teach in England for up to 4 years without QTS. However, having QTS may improve your chances of getting a teaching job in England.

What are the benefits of QTS?

If your teacher training course leads to QTS:

  • your course will be regulated by the Department for Education (DfE), ensuring high quality training
  • you could be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help you train

As a teacher with QTS:

  • you’ll receive a package of support for early career teachers, including a reduced timetable
  • you’ll be on the qualified teacher pay range and receive a higher salary than teachers without QTS

You can also get other academic awards through teacher training such as a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) or Bachelor of Education (BEd).

But if your course does not lead to QTS, you will not be a qualified teacher.

Get QTS through teacher training

You can get QTS through undergraduate or postgraduate initial teacher training. This mostly involves school placements with some theoretical learning.

You can apply for either a primary or secondary teacher training course awarding QTS. Find out more about deciding who to teach.

You can also get a postgraduate qualification through teacher training such as a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

Some courses just offer a PGCE without QTS, but this means you may not be fully qualified to teach in your chosen school or entitled to the same benefits.

Find out how to get QTS through teacher training.

Get QTS through an assessment only programme

You could get QTS through an assessment only programme. This means you can show that you already meet the standards for QTS without having to do any more training.

You can usually do this if you’ve worked as an unqualified teacher:

  • for a significant amount of time (for example, 2 years)
  • in more than one school

Find out how to get QTS through assessment only.

Get QTS if you qualified as a teacher in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

If you trained to teach in Wales, your QTS will be automatically recognised in England and awarded by the Education Workforce Council (EWC)(opens in new window).

If you trained to teach in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can apply for QTS in England(opens in new window) without any further fees or training.

QTS for non-UK citizens who qualified to teach outside the UK

Depending on where you qualified, the subject you teach and your qualifications and experience, you may be able to use a professional recognition service called Apply for QTS in England. Learn more about applying for QTS in England.

Many teachers will not meet the requirements for QTS. If you’re not eligible, you may be able to find an alternative route to QTS which better suits your circumstances(opens in new window).

Find out more about getting into teaching

Get helpful guidance and support on getting into teaching, including how to get the qualifications you need.

Get tailored guidance in your inbox