There are a variety of ways to get into teaching, all routes consist of a core of the following:

  • A minimum of 24 weeks in at least two schools to give you practical classroom experience
  • Academic study to give you the knowledge and understanding to teach successfully
  • An assessment of your teaching skills (through classroom observation)


A school-led training course gives you the chance to learn ‘on the job’ in at least two schools. You work as part of the teaching team from day one – similar to student medics in hospitals – learning from experienced, practising colleagues and immediately putting your new skills into practice.  These courses last for a year and generally lead to a qualified teacher status (QTS). Most school-led courses result in a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and/or Master’s-level credits on successful completion.

School centred initial teacher-training

Some schools are given government approval to run their own training and are called SCITTs. They provide practical, hands-on teacher training delivered by experienced, practising teachers based in their own school or at a school in their network. Courses generally last a year and result in QTS.  Many also award a PGCE from a university.

School Direct

Just like SCITT courses, with School Direct you get practical, hands-on training and education based in good schools across the country. School Direct courses are designed by groups of schools – with a university or SCITT.  These courses also generally last a year and all result in QTS. Most also award you a PGCE and/or Master’s-level credits, but you should check individual courses for more information.

Other school led training

There are a number of other school-led routes into teaching such as:

  • Teach First

Teach First is an education charity that runs a two-year course for outstanding graduates where you can earn while you train and work in a challenging school in a low-income community. Visit the Teach First website, www.teachfirst.org.uk to learn more about its vision and its leadership development programme.

  • Academics

Academics who have completed (or are finishing) a doctorate can become qualified to teach through the Researchers in Schools programme.  Visit www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching and search for Researchers in Schools.

  • Armed Forces

If you are ex-service personnel, find out how the invaluable skills and experience gained in the Armed Forces can enable you to become an outstanding teacher through the Troops to Teachers programme by visiting www.troopstoteachers.ctp.org.uk


Universities and colleges offer teacher training courses for both graduates and undergraduates.If you already have a degree, one option is to complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) at a university or college. Universities work with school partnerships to offer at least two school experience placements as part of your training.If you don’t have a degree, you can study for your degree and complete your teacher training at the same time at various universities and colleges in England. Full-time courses usually take three to four years, while part-time courses take four to six years. But if you’ve got undergraduate credits from previous study, you might be able to complete a course in two years.