Teaching qualifications in the education and training sector

To teach or train in the sector, you will need to have expertise in your subject or vocational area, in addition to a commitment to helping learners, whether they are young people or adults.

In vocational areas it is generally expected that further education teachers or trainers will have a suitable professional or technical qualification. However, strong practical and up-to-date experience is highly valued by Further Education (FE) providers and not holding a qualification in your area of expertise may not deter you from considering a career in teaching.

Initial teacher training qualifications

Initial teacher training qualifications in FE and skills are either full time pre-service courses, or part-time which are often completed while in-service. In-service means that once you have secured a role as a teacher or trainer you can then enrol on a teacher training course on a part-time basis. However, this is not always the case. You may also find yourself taking up a voluntary placement if you can’t find a paid teaching role.

Teaching qualifications are offered at college or university, and in some cases your employer may be able to support you by paying for some, or all of your training. Otherwise, it is quite common that may end up fund your own training.

There are three teacher training qualifications, each at a different level:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (12 credits)

This introductory teaching qualification has no minimum teaching practice requirement, meaning that it can be undertaken if you are not already in a teaching role.

  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (36 credits)

This qualification is suitable for individuals who want a qualification which focuses on practical teaching or are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited. You must have a minimum of 30 hours teaching practice.

  • Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (also called PGCE or CertEd if awarded by a university) (120 credits)

This is the full FE teaching qualification and provides training for those individuals who aspire to, or hold, a teaching role with an extensive range of teaching or training responsibilities. You must have a minimum of 100 hours of teaching practice.

After gaining the diploma in teaching you can apply for professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS). QTLS is recognised in law as having parity with QTS for teaching in schools as a qualified teacher.

Older initial teacher training (ITT) qualifications

If you already have a teaching qualification that is not one of the above, you may still be fully qualified. The previous variations of full teaching qualification are still generally accepted as equivalent to the DET. These include the DTLLS, 7407 stage 3/FE Teachers’ Certificate stage 3, and older Cert Eds and PGCEs. 

Also any qualification bearing QTS is recognised as full for the FE sector. If you are unsure about the value of an older qualification, you may wish to discuss this with FE Advice, 0300 303 1877 or email feadviceline@etfoundation.co.uk who may be able to help you.

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