Training to be a teacher is top of many graduates’ to-do list. Many choose a career in teaching for it’s rewarding nature, others like the idea of passing on their knowledge to others. The long holidays are just an added bonus. Whatever the reason, becoming a teacher is a competitive process. Luckily, there are a number of ways to complete your Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Choose between school-based teacher training and institution-based training, either way you’ll achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) and be able to teach in the UK with your teaching qualification.
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If you don’t yet have an undergraduate degree, you can choose to complete a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) or Bachelor of Education (BEd) with a QTS course. These courses usually last for four years and allow you to study for your ITT at the same time. Whilst undergraduate courses that include QTS are competitive, they offer a direct route into teaching for those who know exactly what they want to do.
If you already hold, or are in the process of completing a standard undergraduate course, you may opt to take a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). The PGCE course develops your teaching skills, rather than your subject knowledge as you are expected to already hold this.
For more information on the PGCE, see our dedicated guide to PGCE courses.
You could also opt to study the PGCE via distance learning.
If you wish to obtain your teacher training qualification via school-based training, there are a number of options available to you. School-based teacher training generally offers more time in the classroom, allowing you to put theory into practice and develop your teaching skills in a real life environment. There are a number of school-based training schemes for teachers, such as the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) and school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT).
Qualified Teacher Status is an element to look for when choosing a teaching course. This accreditation allows you to teach in either state-maintained or special schools within England and Wales. Academies are the only educational institution at secondary level which can employ teachers without a QTS, but they must believe you are suitably qualified for the position. In other words look out for the letters ‘QTS’ involved in the description of your teaching course because you can then keep your options open for your career in teaching.
To achieve QTS you must complete the required hours of teaching, meeting the high standards necessary to become a qualified teacher. Not all courses are QTS accredited so choose wisely. If you are looking for the least expensive course but are looking for a QTS accreditation at the end of your studies, ensure you do the research and find out whether that course is accredited. If you need further details on this you should contact the programme leader at the institution and find out more details directly from them. It is important to be happy with your course choice.
Gaining qualified teacher status isn’t an easy process and deciding to follow a career in teaching shouldn’t be reached without serious consideration. Whilst the holidays seem to be a talking point for many outside the teaching sector, those who work in it will tell you that those extra few days disappear amongst the planning, marking and extracurricular activities that are expected of teachers nowadays.
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