How to get started as a further education teacher

By AoC Jobs on

Teaching and leading in FE can be a hugely rewarding and fulfilling career. Whether you are starting you working life or switching careers then FE provides opportunities to teach, lead and encourage people from across society.

If you are interested in starting a career in FE then download our guide – with insights from recruiters in the FE sector.

Starting a career teaching in FE may be more straightforward than you think. You can become an FE teacher without a teaching qualification; however, your employer is likely to expect you to study for one.

How do I study for my FE teaching qualification?

FE institutions usually have their own specific requirements concerning training.

There are various types of standard teaching qualifications available. These include:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training: This is a basic introductory course that doesn’t involve a teaching placement.
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training: This course develops practical teaching skills. It also requires students to undertake a minimum of 30 hours’ teaching practice.
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training: This course is widely regarded as a ‘full’ teaching qualification. Students are required to carry out a minimum of 100 hours of teaching practice. They can also choose to specialise in literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), mathematics or Special Educational Needs (SEN).

To gain entry to one of these, you’ll need a qualification or experience in the subject you wish to teach.

A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in post-compulsory education is the most conventional route into the profession for graduates. You'll need a degree in the subject you wish to teach to gain entry. PGCEs are offered either full-time (one year) or part-time.

You might also wish to take a Cert Ed (Certificate in Education) which doesn't require a degree. To gain entry, you'll need a Level 3 qualification in the area you wish to teach or extensive experience.

Experiential learning and Continuous Professional Development

You could also explore education-specific CPD opportunities run by organisations such as the National Education Union. Consider attending appropriate short training days/courses at a local college or university to address any immediate needs.

Of course, with many roles you will simply learn on the job and build on existing skills. Your employer may allocate you a named member of staff to act as a mentor throughout (and potentially beyond) your probation period.

Getting a Management Role

If you want to enter a managerial role, prior teaching experience will put you at a advantage, although not always essential depending on the requirements of the role. You may also need an additional education-related qualification, such as an MA in Educational Leadership and Management.

Courses such as this cover key managerial subjects like change management within educational settings. They are available full-time or part-time. Distance-learning options are also available, and you’ll require a good undergraduate degree or equivalent to gain entry.

Attending Further Education conferences

Another way in which you can boost your knowledge of the FE sector, and make useful contacts for networking, is by attending FE conferences and events. These are run by organisations like the Association of Colleges and the Education and Training Foundation.

If you’re considering a career change, there are many fulfilling opportunities within Further Education that may prove ideal for you.

Do you want to learn more about working in Further Education? Download our career guide packed full of industry insight and practical advice to help you