If you have decided that teaching is the chosen career path for you its, import you understand what qualifications you need to be a teacher. Getting this right from the offset is import as the grades you get and the degree you choose to pursue dictate what you can teach. Although teaching is not a glamorous job, it is certainly rewarding and a very worthy career choice for many people. To become a teacher, there are certain qualifications you must possess and certain qualities that are needed to become a good teacher.
What grades do I need at GCSE?
To even start to qualify to become a teacher, you must possess at least a GCSE grade C in Maths and English plus at least one science if you wish to teach younger pupils in Primary schools or in Key Stage three. This should not deter older people wishing to return to teach as many colleges provide GCSE courses for more mature students. These are often provided under the Life Long Learning scheme so are free or reduced cost to those who do not poses them.
What A level results do I need?
The next step is to ensure that you have the required A level grades to start your chosen degree. Entry qualifications differ between universities and subjects so it is important to plan carefully to ensure that you can take your chosen course. If you don’t have A levels, entry to university can be via the Access to Learning pathway which enables students to choose the subjects which will enable them to follow their chosen career path. One A level must be in a National Curriculum subject however, such as English, Maths or a Science.
What type of degree do I need to have to become a teacher?
To teach primary school, your degree can be in any subject, but to teach in secondary school, your degree must be in the subject related to what you are planning to teach, such as Maths or French. If you have a degree in a subject other than the subject you wish to teach, you may have to undertake a Subject Enhancement Course.
What other qualifications do you need to become a teacher?
As well as a degree, teachers also have to complete a Initial Teacher Training course, which can either be taken after your degree or during your degree if you do not already have one. Some universities offer ITT Undergraduate courses, which involve up to 24 weeks of school based training depending on the length of the degree course. This will allow you to achieve Qualified Teacher Status as well as earning your degree. If you wish to undertake ITT after your degree, or already have a degree, you need to apply for a postgraduate course during the final year of your degree or through a university. If you wish to take this route, there are many different ways to achieve this and it is worth investigating the options to determine the most suitable route for you.
Another route into teaching is the Postgraduate Certificate of Education. This is a qualification which concentrates more on how to teach rather than the subject that you will be teaching and is only available to those who already possess a degree. At the end of this course, you will have achieved QTS and will become a Newly Qualified Teacher, ready to begin your induction year. The PGCE qualification usually lasts between one and two years depending on whether you study full or part time
Can I get funding for a PGCE?
Funding for teaching qualifications is usually through student loans or bursaries, but these are reliant on many different factors and are not guaranteed. Bursaries for post graduate courses are dependent on the level of the degree you have attained and many bursaries are not available for those achieving less than a second class degree. There is also the Graduate Training Program, where graduates earn a salary while working towards the qualification, but these places are competitive and depend off finding a school willing to fund the training.
How long would it take to be qualified?
To become a fully qualified teacher can take four years if you do not already have a degree but if you already have a degree in the subject you wish to teach, this could be as rapid as one year PGCE plus one year induction.
What qualifications do you need to teach in a private school?
Although it is not strictly necessary in theory to have a teaching qualification to teach in a private or independent school, in practice, finding a teaching job without a qualification would be extremely hard, as most schools would require at least some proof that you are able to teach. It may be argued that life experience may be just as valuable as a degree when it comes to teaching but that is very hard to quantify.
What type of income could you expect to earn as a newly qualified teacher?
Newly qualified teachers can now command starting salaries of roughly twenty thousand pounds, although the government is debating the merits of introducing performance related pay shortly. Those working in inner London can expect a starting salary of twenty seven thousand pound, due to living in a high cost area which entitles you to London weighting. For more information I recommend this post about teachers salaries that explains about pay and progression.
What other skills do you require to become a teacher?
Teachers today are required to be counselors, manage budgets and time, communicate with members of the class who are at different levels and bring out the best in every child. To become a good teacher you must have excellent communication skills, patience, time management skills and the ability to think quickly. Above all, a teacher must have passion both for the subject that they are teaching and for importing knowledge to children and inspiring them with a desire to learn.