How to become a teacher

Becoming a teacher in the UK is a rewarding and impactful journey that allows you to shape the minds of future generations.

Whether you're a recent graduate looking to change careers, or someone with a passion for education, this article will guide you through the steps to become a teacher.

You’ll need to follow a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) which will grant you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). QTS is a professional accreditation in the UK that indicates an individual has met the national standards for teaching. Attaining QTS is a crucial step for individuals pursuing a career in teaching.


  1. Do your research
  2. Choose your route to teaching
  3. Meet the entry requirements
  4. Gain classroom experience
  5. Consider which subjects you'll teach
  6. Apply for teacher training
  7. Prepare for interviews and assessments
  8. Complete your teacher training
  9. Achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  10. Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Step 1: Do your research

Before diving into an application, take some time for self-reflection. Consider your passion for education, your commitment to lifelong learning, and your ability to connect with students. Research various teaching roles, such as primary, secondary or further education, and explore the subjects you are most passionate about.

Step 2: Choose your route into teaching

Teacher training programs, available in a range formats and durations, all involve a mix of theory and practical classroom experience.

You need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in most primary and secondary schools in England. The main routes include studying at University and employment-based teacher training. 

Studying at University

You will need to a complete a degree in any subject to teach in primary school.

To teach in secondary school, you must complete a degree in the subject you wish to teach.

You can then go on to do Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). A PGCE is typically a one-year program combining academic study and practical teaching experience and can lead onto gaining QTS status, depending on the institution.

Employed at a School

School-led (School direct)

  • Work directly in a school while training to become a teacher.
  • Schools collaborate with universities or other training providers to deliver the program.

School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

  • Similar to School Direct, but managed and delivered by schools or groups of schools.
  • Provides hands-on classroom experience throughout the training.

Step 3: Meet the entry requirements

Ensure you meet the minimum entry requirements for your chosen pathway. Generally, these include:

  • A relevant undergraduate degree
  • GCSEs in English and Mathematics (and sometimes Science) at grade C/4 or above
  • Passing the professional skills tests (literacy and numeracy)

For specific entry requirements this will vary between institutions, so be sure to double check your provider.

Step 4: Gain classroom experience

Schools value practical experience, so consider volunteering or working in a similar role before applying for teacher training. This can be achieved through:

  • Volunteering in schools
  • Gaining work experience in an educational setting
  • Observing and assisting qualified teachers
  • Teaching overseas.

Step 5: Consider which subjects you'll teach

Choosing what to teach involves considering what you're passionate about, your strengths, and your academic background.

You should also:

  • Look at the demand for teachers in your area and think about job opportunities
  • Reflect on your preferred teaching styles and age group preferences
  • Seek advice from experienced teachers
  • Stay informed about trends in education
  • Gain practical experience through volunteering.

Ultimately, choose a subject that you enjoy and can positively impact students' lives.

Alternatively, if you can’t decide on a subject, you can opt for a degree like Education Studies where you’ll learn the principles of teaching and how children learn.

Step 6: Apply for teacher training

Once you've chosen your pathway and gained relevant experience, it's time to apply for teacher training programs through UCAS. Be prepared to provide a personal statement outlining your motivation and suitability for teaching.

Step 7: Prepare for interviews and assessments

If your application is successful, you may be invited to attend an interview. Prepare for questions about your passion for teaching, relevant experience, and understanding of the education system. Some programs may also require you to complete written tasks or assessments.

If you've applied for a course with us, you can follow our handy interviews and auditions guide.

Step 8: Complete your teacher training

When you start your teacher training, you will undergo a combination of academic study and practical teaching. Embrace the opportunity to learn teaching theory and apply it in real classroom settings.

Step 9: Achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Depending on the institution, successfully completing your teacher training program can lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This signifies that you meet the national standards for teaching and are ready to embark on your teaching career.

If your program doesn't lead to Qualified Teacher Status, you can obtain QTS here.

Step 10: Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The journey doesn't end with QTS. As a teacher, you should engage in continuous professional development to stay updated with educational trends, teaching methodologies, and subject-specific knowledge.

Some of our CPD courses include:

Embarking on a teaching career in the UK is a rewarding journey that demands dedication, passion, and a lifelong commitment to learning. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to making a positive difference in the lives of students and contributing to the future of education.