How to Become a Qualified Teacher, a Guide to the Different Routes into Teaching

So you’re feeling like you are ready to make your mark on the teaching world. It could be you’re a new starter hoping to embark on your first teaching position, maybe you’re looking to bring your transferable skills from other industries or you might be just starting to research some ways to get involved with a rewarding profession.

In this article, we’re going to answer some of the questions you may have relating to getting started as a qualified teacher. We’ll investigate some of the different routes available to you and how you can use your skills to enter the world of teaching. 

Before we get down to the real nuts and bolts, let’s first look at the short answer as to how you can become a qualified teacher.

How do I become a qualified teacher? 

There are several routes to becoming a qualified teacher. If you have a degree you can follow work towards acquiring QTS (Qualified teacher Status). If you don’t have a degree and meet some specific criteria, you work towards QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills).

Now we’ve looked at the short answer, let’s first take a closer look at why you may want to become a teacher and the options for getting involved in this challenging but highly rewarding career. 

Why become a teacher?

We all remember our favourite teachers from our school days, whether they were the ones who inspired us to study a subject at university or the ones who engaged us with their relaxed and fun approach, encouraging us to do our best! 

The reality of being a teacher is that you have the privilege of being the person to inspire and equip your pupils with the skills that will benefit them for years to come throughout their life. 

Teaching is a great opportunity to share your knowledge, leaving a lasting and more importantly, positive impact on young people.

You may already be working within an education setting, maybe as a teaching assistant and you would love the opportunity to take your career up to the next level, by taking the lead and becoming a fully qualified teacher! 

You may not even be working in Education but have always been attracted to the possibility of making a positive difference in children's lives and truly finding your calling. 

You might be wondering where to get started and what are the different routes to becoming a teacher. Let’s look and find out. 

“You may not even be working in Education but have always been attracted to the possibility of making a positive difference in children’s lives and truly find your vocation.”

Can I become a teacher without a degree? 

Although Teaching is by and large a graduate profession, the good news is that you can become a teacher without holding a degree. 

In order to help us understand a little more before we delve into how you become a teacher without a degree, let’s first look at what a QTS is, the degree route into teaching. 

What is QTS?

To become a teacher, you will need to achieve what is known as QTS or Qualified Teacher Status.

The usual route to obtaining this status is to embark on an Initial Teacher Training or ITT program. Take a look below to see what you need in order to obtain a Qualified Teacher Status:

  •  A Relevant Degree To become a primary school teacher, a relevant degree associated with one or any of the subjects on the general curriculum is required 
  •  GCSE Requirements You are expected to possess a GCSE grade C/4 in mathematics and English as the lowest acceptable grade of GCSE. However, primary schools usually require that you also have at least a grade C/4 in GCSE science or higher.
  •  Professional Skills Tests To undertake and have good results in professional skills tests for both literacy and numeracy. 
  •  Subject Knowledge Enhancement Courses A Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course is needed when the teacher’s degree is not closely related to the subject in question.
  •  A Criminal Convictions check 

The ITT program usually takes around one year to complete before followed by a 12 months induction period. 

What other routes are there? Undergraduate degree 

You can do an undergraduate degree that will ultimately lead to Qualified Teacher Status, here are a few examples below:

  •  Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  •  Batchelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
  •  Batchelor of Science (BSc) with QTS.


You can also possibly be able to embark on one of the small numbers of Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships if you have a degree and are interested in teaching students of ages 5 to 11 years.

So now we’ve looked at some of the ways to enter teaching via the degree route, let’s take a look at how you can start training for a career in teaching without the need for a degree. 

What is QTLS? 

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills or QTLS is a way of progressing into teaching that enables you to become a qualified teacher without the need for a degree. 

Since 1st April 2012, teachers with QTLS have been recognised as qualified to teach in schools and the status recognised as equivalent to QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) 

  • Are you currently working or volunteering in a school or process relevant industry experience in a subject you are interested in teaching? 
  • Do you hold a level 3 or above in a subject specialism? 
  • Do you have GCSE grade C/4 or above in Maths and English? 

If so, you can realise your dream to join the ranks of the teaching profession and begin your career journey. 

“Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills or QTLS is a way of progressing into teaching that enables you to become a qualified teacher without the need for a degree.”

How can Teacher Training UK help you?

  • The Teacher Training UK programme includes an Ofqual recognised accredited teaching qualification. 
  • In addition, on completion of the taught programme you will be eligible to start a period of professional formation leading to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, which TTUK will fully support you through. 
  • QTLS is awarded by the Society for Education and Training upon completion of the 6-month professional development period.  
  • Holders of QTLS have legal parity with teachers in schools and are therefore not required to serve an induction year prior to receiving a full teacher salary.

If you are interested in applying for the Teacher Training UK (QTLS) programme further information can be found on this website

If you are currently investigating the teaching profession you may find this an interesting read '5 Common Interview Questions for Teachers'

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