So you have decided that you want to become a teacher in a primary or secondary school in the UK but you don’t have a degree. You want to know whether this is possible? Most routes into teaching require you to have a degree before being accepted onto Initial Teacher Training but since 2012 there is a route into teaching without a degree through the Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS). Here we have a look into how to become a teacher without a degree through obtaining QTLS.
What qualifications do you need to be a teacher via QTLS?
The entry requirement for QTLS is a teacher qualification of Level 5 or above such as the Diploma in Education and Training (DET), which was formerly known as the Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS). Level 5 DET programmes are recognised teaching qualifications for the post-16 sector and are equivalent to the second year of a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants for QTLS will also need to hold an approved qualification for Maths and English at Level 2. Typically this would be a GCSE (A*-C ), new GCSE (grade 4-9), Key Skills Level 2 or Functional Skills Level 2 but there are other approved qualifications that are accepted. If you wish to teach Maths you will need a Level 3 and the same if you wish to teach English.
Complete your DET – Become a Teacher
The Diploma in Education and Training is typically 1 year long. You can work as an unqualified teacher in a secondary school/further education while training part-time or you can complete a University or College course such as the Professional Certificate in Education (PCE) or the Certificate of Education (CertEd), which both meet the requirements of Level 5 DET.
Please be aware that the DET is the recognised teaching qualification for the post-16 sector so you will need to be teaching students of ages 14 or above to be accepted on the course.
Obtain QTLS – Become a Qualified Teacher
QTLS is applied for via the Society for Education and Training (SET). Once you are an SET member you can gain QTLS by completing professional formation.
Professional formation requires you to demonstrate what you have learnt during your teacher training on a practical level, by applying the knowledge and techniques in your teaching. To complete professional formation you will therefore need to be currently teaching as an unqualified teacher with students aged 14 or over.
The professional formation process takes 6 month to complete. During this 6 month period your teaching will be observed twice. You will also be given the opportunity to upload supportive evidence of your development via a workbook that is completed in 6 sections throughout the period.
Conclusion – Does QTLS have parity with QTS in secondary and primary schools?
So it is possible to become a teacher without a degree and gain QTLS. But does this give holders the same status as teachers with QTS?
Government guidelines state that SET members holding QTLS status are eligible to teach in schools on the same terms and conditions as those holding QTS. They are allowed to teach both curriculum and non-curriculum subjects across the breadth of school ages. Therefore holders of QTLS are qualified to teach in both primary and secondary schools. They will also be exempt from doing an induction year, as Newly Qualified Teachers with QTS are required to do.
Please bear in mind however that it will be up to schools and local authorities to decide whether an applicant is suitable for current teacher job opportunities. We have found that some schools do not accept QTLS for qualified teacher roles, as they feel that the training is not thorough enough especially when it comes to behaviour management. Often secondary schools will require a related degree to teach a specialist subject therefore they will not accept a QTLS teacher without a degree. This route has been particularly useful where teachers have been teaching in a school as an unqualified teacher and shown that they have the skills needed to be at teacher but don’t have a degree.
Applicants should also note that QTLS is an English not a UK status, therefore only formally recognised in England. It may not be recognised by schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
So yes you can become a teacher without a degree and hold QTLS, which the government states has parity with QTS in maintained primary and secondary schools. There is however no guarantee that the schools you apply for will consider the QTLS qualification as equal to applicants holding QTS.
If you are looking to upskill or enhance your knowledge before becoming a teacher please see our array of online CPD courses for teachers and teaching assistants.