A Complete Guide to Studying a Diploma in Education and Training

There are a number of routes into teaching, from the traditional undergraduate degrees, postgraduate teaching qualifications and on the job training such as School Direct but one route you may not have heard of is the Diploma in Education and Training. The Diploma in Education is fast becoming a popular way to become a teacher as you do not need to be a graduate to undertake the qualification. In this blog Teacher Training UK explores the Diploma in Education and Training qualification and how to decide if this teacher training route is right for you.

What is the Diploma in Education and Training?

The Diploma in Education and Training is a level 5 qualification in teaching which has both theoretical and practical teaching elements. It requires 100 hours of teaching practice, so is great for people who are already in some kind of teaching role – perhaps already working as a teacher in a Further Education (FE) college, or as a teaching assistant in a school. For those who want to progress further, gaining the diploma is a great foundation to go on to gain a professional qualification like QTLS. Diploma credits can also be used towards a degree in the future (check with the degree awarding institution). The Diploma in Education and Training is approved by the Society for Education and Training as initial teacher training.

What is QTLS?

QTLS is a professional teaching status. It’s traditionally aimed at people wanting to teach in Further Education and Adult Education, as a way of professionals transferring from industry into teaching. But following a regulation change in 2012, there is now legal parity between QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills), meaning if you have QTLS status and membership of the Society for Education and Training you may be eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England

Is the Diploma Right for Me?

As a level 5 qualification, the entry requirements are generally that you have a good competency of Maths and English, and a level 3 qualification in the subject or subjects you want to teach. For instance, you might have a secure foundation in Maths and English, plus a level 3 certificate in Childcare with the goal of teaching Childcare at an FE college. 

What Does It Involve?

All diplomas have components of teaching or guided learning, self-directed study and teaching practice (a specific number of hours of which has to be observed). This means you’ll need to have time each week to dedicate to attending (in person, virtually or by watching pre-recorded) classes, plus additional time to complete assignments each week, on top of your teaching practice. It’s not mandatory to have prior experience working in a school or college but you will need to be able to secure your teaching practice by gaining employment or volunteering at a school. This is crucial, since you’ll want to be putting what you’re learning on the course into practice! Your course provider can provide you with some advice around this.

What Is the Course Duration?

A course typically takes between 1-2 years. This depends largely on the amount of time you study per week and how the course is structured. If you decide to go for QTLS after completing your diploma, this is a 6 month process, pulling together your evidence of ongoing professional development and practice after initial teacher training.

How is the Diploma Taught?

The diploma is offered by different providers in different formats, and the format of the programme is likely to be your main determining factor.

Some programmes offer a remote, online option which is flexible around your current commitments if you want to study (to some extent) at your own pace. If you’re self-motivated and happy to study outside a traditional classroom setting this could be a good option for you.

Other diplomas are delivered in a more traditional way in person at a specific location and at specific times of the week. If you can afford the time, an in-person teaching experience can be a more motivating environment for learning and affords more opportunities to interact with both the tutor and other students on the course.

A virtual programme follows a similar pattern to an in-person course but all contact with tutors will be online, in real time virtual seminars and tutorials. This gives you more flexibility for being able to study from home, and, depending on the size of the class, more opportunity for real time contact and discussion.


An in-person course is likely to have 1 or 2 regular tutors teaching you throughout the course. The benefit of an online course is that there’s more scope to offer you different speakers/tutors, which gives you a range of different perspectives and resources to draw from.

Other factors you should weigh up when considering a course are:

  • The level of support on offer - how much time can tutors offer you on a 1:1 basis if you need support?
  • The quality of resources available - what materials are provided during the course to support your study and research? Can the provider offer you the literature to underpin and expand your learning?
  • How the course is managed - what virtual learning environment is used, is it easy to upload work, download materials and collaborate with fellow students?

How Much Does the Course Cost?

Diploma programmes vary in cost, from several hundred pounds, to nearly £10k. The reason for this is largely due to the difference between how the courses are taught and supported. A purely online course is likely to be a lot cheaper than an in-person course which has a lot of contact hours. Cheaper online courses can sometimes have hidden costs, such as charging you for each assessment upload, to take re-assessments and for 1:1 time with course tutors. When considering an in-person course, remember to factor in the cost and time of travelling to the venue. A cheaper online course may appear more affordable, but a more expensive option with better support might be more cost effective in the long run if you find it difficult to retain motivation studying more remotely.

Overall, it’s important to weigh up your budget, the time commitments and the quality of the learning resources and experience being offered, to find the right course for you.

Teacher Training UK offer the Diploma in Education in person in London or via a virtual course. Contact Teacher Training UK for more information on their courses and how you can begin your teaching career. 

Becoming a teacher is a life changing career move but offers the opportunity to not only change your life but also the lives of children and young people. Here are 10 reasons to become a teacher in 2023

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