How to Become a Teacher if You Don’t Want to Do a PGCE?

How to Become a Teacher if You Don’t Want to Do a PGCE?

Are you looking to get into teaching but confused about the different routes to take? Sometimes the potential barriers can seem overwhelming but rest assured, regardless of circumstances, there are opportunities for everyone to get into teaching.

You might assume that you need a degree or a PGCE to become a teacher, but that’s not always the case. There’s a myriad of reasons why not everyone wants to go to university, and you’ll be pleased to know there are alternative ways of entering the profession, even if you haven’t worked before.

If you’re already working in another career, it may feel like it’s too late to change jobs, but no matter how long you’ve been working in another industry, it’s never too late to consider a career as a teacher. 

So, whilst embarking on a new career path may seem daunting, and yes, there will be some temporary disruption, it can also be incredibly rewarding.  

In this post, we look at the training pathways, what you should consider at the start of your journey, what’s involved in studying to become a teacher, and the different teaching paths you can take through your career.

Why teach?

Teaching offers you the chance to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. As a teacher, you not only help students learn but are in a privileged position of instilling hope and developing their self-confidence. A good teacher sets students up to succeed, teaches them how to bounce back after setbacks and gives them the courage to follow their dreams.

It’s definitely not a 9-5 deskbound job, and no two days are the same. If you don’t fancy working in a school, then there are professional and vocational training opportunities that are carried out in a wide range of settings – from the Armed Forces to teaching abroad. 

And not only that, teachers enjoy a good salary, generous holiday allowance, secure jobs and a host of opportunities for career development as outlined below.

Transferable skills

If you have a few years of work behind you, it may feel like you’ll be starting all over again, but you’ll have developed valuable skills and experience which you can bring to your new career. These could be hard skills such as using specific software, or soft skills, like building relationships, but which are relevant in any professional setting.

A recent survey by Randstad looked at the top qualities for newly qualified teachers: –

  • Passion for your chosen subject
  • Willingness to learn
  • Proactivity and resilience
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Where can I work as a teacher?

The great thing about teaching is that it’s not limited to the traditional classroom setting. You could find yourself in a forest school, on a Navy frigate, or even on a remote island.

There’s much more to teaching than just planning and teaching lessons; you could be developing new courses and teaching materials, taking on administrative tasks including maintaining accurate records and recording students’ progress. You may well have a pastoral role acting as a personal tutor to students, or you could be acting as a brand ambassador and attend networking sessions, open days and conferences.

Teaching jobs can be full-time, part-time or sessional, and you can supplement your income by offering external consultancy work, private tuition, or marking national exam papers.

Further Education Students

Further Education (FE) Sector

As an FE teacher, you’ll be looking after learners aged 14 and over. This could be teaching: –

  • Academic qualifications, mainly GCSE and A-Level
  • Vocational training – preparing students for the world of work and teaching those on apprenticeships
  • Basic numeracy, literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Recreational courses, such as art, pottery or photography

You’ll be able to teach in a wide range of settings. For example: –

  • A General or Specialist FE College
  • Sixth Form College
  • Adult and Community Education Centre
  • Prisons and Youth Offender Organisation
  • Voluntary and Charity Organisation
  • Work-Based Learning

Higher Education (HE) Sector

HE lecturers are experts in their subject areas. You’ll be working with students in a wide range of settings, and depending upon your subject; this could be anything from delivering lectures to running field trips. You will also have the opportunity to pursue your research, with the ultimate aim of being published.

Typical duties include: –

  • Delivering lectures, seminars and tutorials
  • Supervising students’ research activities, for example, final year undergraduate projects, Masters or PhD dissertations
  • Developing courses
  • Establishing links with other institutions, and industrial, commercial and public organisations
  • Providing pastoral/advisory support to students 

To teach in the Higher Education sector, you’ll need a good degree pass and have completed or be working towards a postgraduate Master’s or PhD. For more vocational courses, universities are often looking for lecturers with real-world experience.

One of the great things about teaching is the range of teaching paths beyond the traditional settings.

Workplace trainer

Workplace trainer

Workplace trainers deliver ‘on the job’ occupational training and work either in an employed capacity or freelance basis. Courses are delivered to a wide range of people, and you’ll need to accommodate different learning styles. It’s essential to be a good listener and be able to make learners feel at ease – it might have been a long time since some students have been in an educational setting, and others may have had bad experiences at school.

Having previous work experience in your subject will significantly enhance your employability. Workplace training covers a wide range of topics such as: –

  • Employee Onboarding
  • Sales and Marketing Training
  • Product Training
  • Process Management
  • Health and Safety
  • First Aid 

Armed Forces, Navy and RAF

The Armed Forces provide educational and training opportunities to all of its serving personnel, no matter where they are in the world. As a Training Officer, you will have the chance to travel, delivering training at education and training centres worldwide. This could be within military bases, onboard ships and submarines. Courses cover a wide range of skills, including: –

  • Cultural Awareness
  • International Relations
  • IT
  • Logistics
  • Engineering
  • Catering
  • Physical Education
  • Resettlement Support


As part of the Police’s extensive Learning and Development programme, trainers deliver a wide range of courses to new recruits, serving Police Officers and support staff. Training is provided on a wide range of topics including: –

  • IT
  • First Aid
  • Law
  • Physical Education
  • Leadership and Management
  • Health and Wellbeing


Prison instructors play an essential role in teaching prisoners new skills to help them find work after release. Trainers deliver both a range of vocational training and academic courses, for example:-

  • GCSE’s
  • NVQ’s
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
  • Cookery
  • Woodworking
  • Engineering
  • Gardening

Teach abroad

Teaching abroad

Do you love travelling? With 6,000 international English-speaking schools worldwide, a teaching qualification opens up a wealth of travel opportunities. These schools provide education to both English speaking families living abroad and to local children. You’ll benefit from smaller class sizes, better funding and perks, salary packages which often include accommodation and flights.

Alternatively, if you have a passion for the English language and love travelling, then Teaching English as a Foreign language (TEFL) might be just the ticket. We have links with several specialist partners in numerous locations across the world to provide teaching opportunities to our learners abroad. 

Alternative roles in education

Education is constantly evolving. Technological innovations and developing attitudes to pastoral care are driving change in education provision, bringing about a host of new roles within education. Some of these are based in schools, and others are working for external agencies.

Pastoral roles

Pastoral care fosters community cohesion, helps students’ health and well-being, and ultimately improves student attendance and achievement. Roles and responsibilities include: 

  • Anti-bullying 
  • Mental health 
  • Counselling 
  • Family liaison and support

External Organisations

Exam Boards

There are five exam boards across the UK responsible for setting and awarding secondary school qualifications. When working for an exam board, roles available range from marking exams and training markers to developing materials for exams.

Teacher Training

Another option is to use your experience to train other teachers. You’ll be working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and could be:

  • Delivering initial teacher training sessions
  • Observing classes
  • Monitoring performance
  • Delivering workshops
  • Providing one to one training


Charities such as Teach First develop and support teachers and leaders. They aim to build a fair education for all and have opportunities for teaching and leadership roles. Opportunities are available for a variety of roles such as: –

  • Teacher trainers
  • Recruiting new students
  • School Partner Managers
  • Programme development


Depending on your area of expertise, there are a wide variety of consultancy positions available. For example: 

  • Designing the layout of schools and colleges to create an engaging learning environment. 
  • Facilitating the move to academy status.
  • Developing strategies for school improvement.
  • Supporting parents to access appropriate provisions for children with special needs.

Private Tutor

Private tutors offer tuition to a wide range of learners. Lessons are mainly delivered in one-to-one sessions, either online or at the student’s home. Approaches are tailored to meet the individual’s learning needs. You can either work independently or for a private tutor agency.

 Typically, private tuition is for both adults and school-age children: –

  • School-age children for core curriculum subjects and SAT’s
  • Home-schooled children
  • Preparation for school admission tests
  • Language tuition – both adults and children
  • Literacy and numeracy for adult learners
  • Adults taking GCSE’s
  • English as a Second Language

What qualifications do I need to teach?

The Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training qualification opens the door to working in the Further Education sector. You’ll be able to use your new-found skills in a variety of settings, such as: –

  • Further Education Colleges
  • Workplace trainer
  • Armed Forces, Navy and RAF
  • Police
  • Prisons
  • Teaching abroad
  • Pastoral roles
  • Exam Boards
  • Teacher Training
  • Charities
  • Consultancy
  • Private Tuition

If you’re looking to teach in a school, you’ll need to apply for your Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) through the Education & Training Foundation. The process takes about 4-6 months to complete. You need to register as a Society for Education and Training (SET) member and then create an online portfolio evidencing your skills and knowledge. In addition to the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training qualification, you will need: –

  • Level 2 maths and English qualifications, Level 3 if you teach discrete maths or English
  • to be training in a further education setting for a minimum of two hours a week throughout the QTLS programme
  • to have a suitable supporter.

Entry requirements for the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training

There are no formal entry requirements, but you will need to meet the requirement of 100 hours of teaching practice and observation and assessment of performance. Don’t worry if you are not currently in a teaching role; please contact us to discuss your situation, as we may be able to help you.

Any further questions?

We hope we’ve answered many of your questions; if there’s anything we haven’t covered, please contact us. Or for more information about what we offer, please visit our tutor training courses.