What qualifications do you need to be a science teacher in secondary school?

What qualifications do you need to be a science teacher in secondary school?

If you plan to become a science teacher in secondary school, you'll no doubt wonder what qualifications you'll need to get there.

Secondary school teachers focus on the one subject they are passionate about and share their knowledge and understanding with their pupils, hoping to engage them and prepare them for the future.

Secondary school teachers can teach children from ages 11 to 18. Different classes will naturally have a range of varying demands. You'll be expected to follow the specific curriculum for that age group, and planning lessons in line with the objectives of the curriculum is imperative.

You'll be expected to help create enthusiasm and interest in your subject, support pupils' various learning needs, and record their progress too.

Secondary school subjects seem to be ever-evolving, so teachers will need to stay abreast of the latest developments and any new resources available. They also must remain aware of any changes in the national curriculum and be expected to work well alongside their fellow teaching staff and communicate with parents and carers regularly.

Skills and responsibilities of a secondary school science teacher

  • Prepare and deliver your science lessons to different classes aged between 11-18, with differing abilities
  • Mark work, create progress reports, give feedback to pupils, teachers, and fellow staff members
  • Research new topic areas and keep your knowledge of the subject up to date.
  • Know how to use various learning resources, using modern technology such as interactive whiteboards
  • Set behavioural expectations and manage pupil's behaviour accordingly - both inside and outside the classroom
  • Prepare your pupils for science qualifications and examinations
  • Communicate with parents and carers as and when required with regards to pupil's progress in your subject
  • Supervise and help to train teaching assistants and NQTs in your subject area
  • Participate in extracurricular school activities and undertake pastoral care duties outside of your teaching role
  • Undertake continuing professional development (CPD), including class observations and in-service training (INSET).

Required qualifications for a secondary school science teacher

The usual route to becoming a secondary school science teacher is as follows:

  • Obtain a bachelors degree in your subject
  • Achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) - this can be achieved by completing your teacher training (ITT) or (initial teacher education (ITE) in Wales) and can be undertaken alongside your degree.

Private schools, academies and free schools are permitted to hire teachers who do not have QTS. Not gaining this qualification is likely to put you at a disadvantage when searching for jobs in state and independent schools.

If you already have a degree in your chosen subject and have now decided you wish to become a teacher, you can do so by:

  • Obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
  • Opt for salaried teacher training such as a teaching apprenticeship, Teach First, School Direct. or the Open University salaried PGCE course (available in Wales only).
  • Most teacher training courses will expect you to have at least a GCSE grade C/grade 4 (grade B in Wales) in English and mathematics and a bachelor's degree or equivalent in your chosen subject.
  • If your degree didn't contain enough content in the subject in which you want to teach, there is an option to take a subject knowledge enhancement course (SKE), to help bring you up to the required standard.