How Long Does Teacher Training Last?
If you are thinking about becoming a teacher, one of the most important considerations you might have is how long it will take to become fully qualified. While the length of time can depend on the qualifications you currently possess, and it is possible to learn 'on the job,' for this guide, we will focus on the most popular route to get into teaching, which is to undertake a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
Letâ€™s take a look at how long teacher training lasts
You can complete the PGCE course itself in a year. However, getting onto the course can take time, and you'll need particular qualifications to be considered. To apply for a PGCE, you'll need a bachelor's degree. Teaching is a highly academic career, and therefore having a bachelor's degree demonstrates you have a particular level of education and commitment to learning. Higher education is vital to ensure teachers possess the core academic skills and practices required to succeed. It also builds a solid foundation of subject knowledge to depend on and develop their learning and skill-set.
Obtaining a Bachelorâ€™s degree
Gaining a bachelor's degree can take three to four years, depending on your course. Some students opt to study part-time, in which case, graduating can take longer. It doesn't necessarily matter which route you take, even if your degree subject isn't linked to the subject you want to teach.
Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses
Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses can be beneficial if you need to top up your knowledge in a particular area to help you become a better teacher. If your degree isn't relevant to your chosen subject, taking an SKE will demonstrate your commitment to the subject and help top up your existing knowledge before undertaking a PGCE. Your teacher training provider can provide you with more information on these fully funded courses, which can take anywhere from 2-36 weeks to complete.
Gaining Your PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education)
The application window for PGCE courses usually opens in October for classes starting the following September. A PGCE course is designed for aspiring teachers to understand teaching best practices and what's involved in becoming a teacher and give you some firsthand experience of teaching in a classroom. The course consists of lectures and sled-learning and school placements so you can test your knowledge and gain real teaching experience before you apply for jobs. The PGCE will take one year to complete if you do it as a full-time course. There are opportunities to study for a PGCE part-time over two years. More rarely, you may be able to complete the course in modules online though this will likely take much longer.
After obtaining your PGCE
If you are successful in completing your PGCE, you will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You will also become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). NQT status lasts for one year and works like a probationary period where you should receive additional support from your school and assessments and feedback to monitor your progress and help you succeed in the role. As you develop as a teacher, there will be plenty of further opportunities to take on additional responsibilities, move in new directions and gain other qualifications in your role.