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Making the Leap from Teaching Assistant to Teacher

10th January 22

There are many great things about being a Teaching Assistant, from helping pupils reach their potential to supporting them with any issues they have. It’s an incredibly rewarding role to have. Yet, however satisfied you are being a Teacher Assistant, it’s natural to want to progress your career and step into teaching.

Whether you’ve been a TA for years after completing online TA courses and already have existing child care training and want a change, or have exhausted the avenues for progression in your role, becoming a Teacher is the logical next step. Making the leap from Teaching Assistant to Teacher will allow you to develop as a professional. A step into teaching will also enable you to start an exciting new chapter in your life.  

Personal benefits aside, achieving the qualifications needed to be a Teacher after completing Teacher Assistant training will give you a platform to guide young minds and even shape the future of education. Below, we have outlined the differences and benefits of going from Teacher Assistant to Teacher, and we’ll explain the steps you need to take to step into teaching and how studying Teacher training courses online can help.

How Will Things Change? 

One of the crucial differences between being a Teaching Assistant and a Teacher is the level of responsibility you have. During your TA courses, UK professionals, you would have learned the roles and responsibilities of a Teacher Assistant, but becoming a Teacher involves stepping up a level. It will see you move from a support role to that of an educator.  

As a Teaching Assistant who has taken a Level 1 Teaching Assistant course, you would have supported Teachers with their lessons and worked with a handful of children with specific needs. However, as a Teacher, you will be responsible for planning, preparing and delivering lessons based on national curriculum guidelines.

Although you will still nurture and develop young minds following your child care training, your focus will be on the classroom as a whole when you step into teaching. Unlike a Teaching Assistant, UK teachers will need to be responsible for the following: 

  • Educating your students or pupils 
  • Tracking their progress and shaping how they view education 
  • Working closely with your school’s leadership team to help affect change 
  • Forming closer relationships with parents and carers 
  • At times, working with support workers to implement appropriate safeguarding measures 

A Teacher isn’t just someone who teaches. By becoming a Teacher after working as a Teacher Assistant, you will become a support system for your students. You will be responsible for their welfare in the classroom and outside of it after you step into teaching from Teacher Assistant training.


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Why Make the Leap to Teacher from Teaching Assistant, UK Professionals? 

There are many reasons why people qualify as a Teacher, from the greater responsibility it awards you to the financial rewards, there’s a whole host of benefits to becoming a Teacher after working as a Teacher Assistant. We have highlighted a few of those reasons below: 

You’ll Boost Your Salary 

Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in England and Wales can enjoy a starting salary of between £25,714 to £32,157 per annum depending on where they’re based. In Northern Ireland salaries can begin at £24,137 per annum, whereas in Scotland, Teachers can start on £27,498 once they have gained the qualifications to be a primary school Teacher in Scotland, or a secondary school Teacher.

These figures are significantly larger than the average salary of a Teaching Assistant. UK professionals can expect to earn around £17,000 per year starting out as a Teacher Assistant after completing Teacher Assistant training.

You’ll Change Lives 

Being a Teacher means that you’re responsible for how pupils or students learn and engage with their studies. Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing children flourish in their learning environment. The moments you spend with your students will help shape their interests later in life and help them navigate the most crucial years. There is no doubt that a step into teaching is rewarding on a personal level.

As Teaching Assistants, UK professionals lend support to students and pupils during their academic journey, but as a Teacher, you will help to mould children into well-rounded individuals.  

You’ll Never Stop Learning 

By becoming a Teacher, you’re devoting yourself to lifelong learning. With each lesson you prepare, you will be researching and discovering new things for yourself. When you step into teaching, you will get to dig deeply into topics you love and have the chance to boost your knowledge every single day.  

Plus, no day will ever be the same! This means that there’s plenty of opportunities to develop your skills and learn from the students around you too. 


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How to Begin the Transition from Teacher Assistant to Teacher 

Settling on a new career can be exciting but a little daunting too, particulalry when you step into teaching. That’s why you need to have a clear picture of what your next steps are in achieving your goal of moving from Teacher Assistant to Teacher

As a Teaching Assistant, you will already possess the classroom experience, essential skills, and child care training required to teach. thanks to your Teacher Assistant training. All you need to do now is get the right qualification under your belt. There is no doubt that you would have learned invaluable skills during your TA courses. UK professionals, however, will need to study further qualifications to upgrade their position in the classroom. 

To become a qualified Teacher, you’ll need to undertake Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This is included in the series of qualifications needed to be a Teacher. You can achieve this through Straight to Teaching, a school led QTS development programme, or by studying at university.  

If your school doesn’t participate in the Straight to Teaching scheme, you’ll be responsible for organising your higher education training. The route you take to getting a recognised teaching qualification depends on the level of qualifications you already have. Below, we have outlined the avenues you can take to step into teaching. 

If You Have a Degree… 

If you’re a graduate Teaching Assistant, you can apply for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). To be eligible for study, you’ll need at least a 2:2 degree and have passed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This post-graduate programme is designed to help you develop your teaching skills and will qualify you in 1 year. 

If You Haven’t Got a Degree… 

You will need to apply for an undergraduate ITET programme at university with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) if you don’t have a degree. The most popular way of achieving this is by studying a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree with QTS. This qualification is ideal for prospective primary school teachers and takes 3 years to complete. 

However, Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) education degrees with QTS are just as useful for your step into teaching. This is especially the case if you have a specific subject in mind that you want to teach. Each degree programme typically takes 3-4 years to complete and are popular with aspiring secondary school Teachers. 

So, as you can see, there are multiple avenues you can take to become a Teacher from your existing position as a Teaching Assistant. UK-based TAs who want to go to university but don’t have the A Levels to apply with can still have their dream realised, so keep reading! 


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Study an Access to Higher Education Diploma 

If you haven’t got any A Levels, you can go to university with an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education). This diploma is the equivalent to 3 A Levels and is widely recognised by universities across the UK.  

Not only will it qualify you to study at degree level, but it will fully prepare you for university life. So, there’s no need to worry about returning to education later in life when you decide to step into teaching. What’s more, this diploma can be studied online, from the comfort of your home. This means that you can study at your own pace and around your Teaching Assistant job.  

This is certainly a favourable route to take if you don’t have A Levels, but it is also beneficial for a Teacher Assistant who wants to take the next step up from TA courses. UK-based professionals will gain a solid understanding of the country’s education system, as well as insight into the development of children. 

As a Teaching Assistant, UK professionals will know that there are a range of responsibilities involved when you step into teaching. As a Teacher, those responsibilities expand, and by exploring the below topics in your Access to HE Diploma, you can get prepared for your future role. 

The course modules include: 

  • Roles and Responsibilities and Relationships in Education 
  • The Developing Child 
  • Influences on Educational Achievement 
  • The Psychology of Learning 
  • Human Nutrition and the Digestive System 
  • Theories of Child Development 
  • Language Acquisition 
  • The Development of Education 
  • Developmental Psychology 

You will also study the following: 

  • Disability and Special Education Needs 
  • Play 
  • Short Story 
  • Managing Behaviour in the Classroom 
  • Human Reproduction, Growth and Development 
  • Sociology of Education 
  • Equality of Opportunities 
  • Safeguarding in Education 


Once you’ve completed your diploma, you will be able to apply to start your degree. Access to HE Diploma students typically complete their studies in 9-12 months. This means that if you follow this route, you’ll be on track to qualify as a Teacher and step into teaching within 4 years.  

Take Steps Towards Your New Career Today! 

Whichever route you take to qualify to step into teaching, you can look forward to a fulfilling and stimulating career as a Teacher. You’ll work in a job that challenges you to grow professionally and personally each day, and it’s a role that enables you to make a true difference in a child’s life.  

So, if you want to enrol on an Access to HE Diploma, or find out more information about our TA courses, UK learners should give our Course Executives a call on 01202 006 464. Alternatively, contact us online or click below to discover your options! 


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