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Career Options in Teaching & Education: Graduate

Graduate opportunities in teaching and education

- A Postgraduate Certificate in Education qualification (PGCE)

- Teach First

- School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

- School Direct

- Postgraduate study in preparation for tutoring/lecturer roles

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have to head back to the classroom one more time to learn how to be a teacher. You can apply for a PGCE, the postgraduate course which will train you up to eventually become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), in your final year of university.

If you’d like to head straight into the classroom and learn on the job from the start (and be funded to do it!) you could look into the Teach First scheme, which takes top graduates and puts them in tough schools, teaching from day one.

School Direct is a graduate scheme who have already had some work experience and are looking for a career change, with their training almost completely in the school environment.

The application window for PGCE courses is between November and June. This does leave you with quite a bit of time to think about your options. But here’s a heads up: Primary teaching and some popular institutions are very competitive for places, so you’ll need to apply early to give yourself the best chance of getting on a course. The end of January will be too late for primary school!

You will also be able to apply for other educational roles, such as that of teaching assistant, or supporting children and young people with special educational needs in schools.

Will my degree do?

In most cases, yes! But you’ll usually have to have completed a degree in a subject which is related to the one you want to teach if you want to become a secondary school teacher. You can become a primary school teacher with a degree in more or less any discipline.

Your degree result could affect the bursary amount you could be eligible for as a teacher in certain subjects. You could be looking at a bursary of up to £20,000 if you got a First and want to teach maths, computing, languages or physics. You can check out the Department for Education website for more information on this.

It’s not just about your degree result, either. Your GCSE results (remember that time?) are still important if you want to become a teacher. You’ll need to have at least a C grade in English and mathematics (and at least a C in science as well if you want to teach primary level!)

Is postgraduate study necessary?

The traditional pathway to becoming a teacher is through postgraduate study – the PGCE. Although the PGCE is not a full Master’s degree, you’ll achieve a certain amount of credits towards this level of qualification, and there will be the option to complete extra modules further down the line to gain a full Master’s qualification.  

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