Becoming A Teacher Without A Levels | learndirect

Becoming A Teacher Without A Levels

Posted on 26/06/2020
Becoming A Teacher Without A Levels

Teachers play a major role in shaping the minds of our children. Not only do they pass on knowledge, but they also inspire their class to realise their academic and professional ambitions.

As well as teaching being a very rewarding career, there also happens to be a high demand for them. With the government struggling to meet their recruitment targets for the seventh consecutive year.

So, there is no shortage of job opportunities with the possibility to earn more once you’ve gained experience. Subjects especially lacking teachers are maths, foreign languages, and physics.

That being said, if you don’t have the qualifications to back up your aspirations it won’t be possible.

However, there are different avenues to achieve these qualifications that could suit your current situation best. Making the process of becoming a teacher much simpler.

Read on to find out what you can do to achieve your goals.

Minimum Requirements

learndirect | Becoming A Teacher Without A Levels | Minimum Requirements

There are certain criteria that you have to meet before becoming a qualified teacher. 

First and foremost, it will be necessary to have a maths and English GCSE grade C/4 or above. Although some universities will accept Functional Skills as an equivalent but each university can decide it’s own entry requirements. Check in advance before you apply.

A Levels or equivalent would be the next requirement before studying at degree level. We’ll cover what to do if you don’t have A Levels in the next section and what your options are.

Next on the list would be to study a subject of your choice at university and then complete a PGCE (post graduate certificate in education). If you go into secondary education, the subject you chose to study at university will most likely dictate what you’ll be teaching.

If you don’t have a degree at all, you could get a QTS (Qualified Teaching Standard) degree.

There are three types of QTS degree:

  • Bachelor of Education degrees which is most commonly associated with those wanting to become primary school teachers.
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees which are taken by those wanting to get into secondary education.

QTS degrees tend to focus more on teaching skills whilst acquiring specialist knowledge in your chosen subject.

A Levels or Access to HE Diploma

To enrol on any kind of degree course you will need to have relevant A Levels or equivalent qualifications.

Whether you want to study a standard degree or a QTS, 2 or 3 A Levels are usually required. With one of the A Levels being the subject you wish to specialise in for secondary teaching.

The advantage of taking A Levels is the variety of subject matter you can choose from. The wider range of content can make for a more enjoyable learning experience.

However, this is usually the more time-consuming route as it can take you 2 years to complete.

An Access to Higher Education Diploma in Education would be the alternative option to A Levels. This course is designed for anyone 19+ looking to further their education at university but don’t have the traditional qualifications.

An Access to Higher Education Diploma in Education will provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge to carry on your studies at university. With the subject matter being specifically catered to those going into teaching.

You’ll learn about the developing child, psychology of learning, development of education and the acquisition of language.

As well as safeguarding and managing behaviour in a classroom.

The advantages of the Access to HE Diploma is that you’ll save money and time. With A Levels you’ll have to take multiple courses for a minimum of 2 years in comparison to the one course.

With an Access to HE Diploma the average student completes their course in around 9/10 months. So, if you’re particularly short on time then this could be the right choice for you.

However, the Access to HE Diploma is more geared towards those who want to go into primary education. This is because you won’t be specialising in a specific subject but rather learning about teaching as a whole.

Therefore, A Levels would be the right choice for you if you want to go into secondary education. Once you’ve complete university, of course.

It really does depend on your overall objective to which avenue you decide to take. Neither is incorrect.


Teaching apprenticeships are also an alternative route into teaching with two different options.

A Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship that can be done instead of a PGCE after attaining an undergraduate degree.  This means you’ll be teaching whilst you study at an 80/20 split.

The final term will have an End-Point assessment that will determine whether you have the skills required to qualify. After successfully completing the assessment you will be awarded a QTS degree.

The other option is called School Direct where you’ll receive on the job training whilst studying towards a QTS.

The difference here is that schools recruit the trainee teachers directly and cover the cost of your studies. In return they might ask that you work for the school for at least a year.

Most commonly independent schools will be offering these vacancies. They’ll be looking for promising undergraduate and graduate candidates with relevant degrees in the subject they require a teacher for.

With these opportunities it’s important to make sure that you get a qualified teacher status (QTS) qualification in the end. Otherwise you won’t have the option to move on in the future.

Both QTS and PGCE qualifications are recognised in the UK and overseas. Having either allows you to teach at independent or state schools.

It’s Never Too Late

learndirect | Becoming A Teacher Without A Levels | It's Never Too Late

If you, like many others, have left school without A Levels, it’s never too late.

The courses themselves have no upper age restriction so there’s nothing stopping you from starting your new career.

As well as online learning providers giving you the option to study around your current schedule if need be. This is useful if the idea of being the oldest in your class puts you off (although it shouldn’t).

Maturity has it’s advantages, however. Hands on life experience is invaluable, providing a different perspective. Something younger student can benefit from greatly.

You’ll also have the ability to draw from your knowledge and apply it to your work.

For example, working in management gives you the leadership qualities to motivate your students. Similar techniques used in customer service to diffuse a tense situation can help provide solutions to resolving conflicts between kids.

So you don’t need to worry about where you are in life. There’s always time to make a change and start a new career.

If you’re interested in becoming a teacher then kickstart your journey with us today.

learndirect is one of the UK’s leading online education providers. Offering a wide variety of A Level courses and the Access to HE Diploma in Education as well.

Guided by an expert personal tutor you’ll have the flexibility to study and still get all the support you need.

Have a look at the courses we have to offer below or get in touch with one of our advisors today.

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