Do I need to gain the Level 3 Award in Education and Training in order to start teaching?


With a number of different relevant qualifications available, it’s often difficult to work out where to start. This difficulty is often most apparent if you are looking to get into teaching or training as a change from your current career. Although gaining the basic Level 3 qualification is a popular and logical choice, it’s not the only option available to you.

Do you want to teach children or adults?

The first thing to consider is what sort of teaching you want to do, as this can have a major impact on how you decide on the best route forward. Do you want to teach children or adults? This is an important distinction – even though the legal changes made in 2012 mean that people with QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) are equally qualified to teach in both schools and adult education/training.

For teaching adults

Generally gaining the Level 3 AET (Award in Education and Training) is the best option for you in most cases. The reason is that you can get this qualification via one of our 4-day courses and it’s a short, low-cost route to gaining your first teaching or training role. But there are plenty of reasons to do the Level 3 AET course.

Once you have got this qualification you can genuinely say that you are qualified to start teaching or training. You can put this on your CV if applying for work or let you current employer know that you are ready to start teaching straight away. Thus you can get your foot in the door of the teaching world, perhaps doing some part time work or taking over the teaching, training or staff development work in your current workplace. You’ll be able to accumulate essential teaching experience and skills as well as giving yourself a chance to decide whether teaching is really your thing.

Once you have decided to go ahead your next step could be to take either the Level 4 or full Level 5 teaching qualification (DET, Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training). For both of these you will need to be teaching or training at least some of the time in order to gain the required number of logged teaching hours and observed teaching sessions which form part of the qualifications. Having gained the Level 5 DET you can then apply to the Society for Education and Training for your QTLS status and thus become a fully qualified teacher.

For teaching children – (i.e. anybody in compulsory education)

You can certainly take the same route as anybody wanting to teach adults by gaining the Level 3 qualification and gaining experience by promoting yourself to schools, academies and colleges. However you might already be working with children in an educational setting, for example as a classroom assistant, private tutor, sports coach or outdoor activity leader. In this case you should consider going straight for the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. This is because you are already in a job where you can gain teaching experience, in fact teaching classes is probably already do either regularly or just on a cover basis when other people are away or on holiday. This teaching can count towards the logged teaching time you need to complete the qualification, plus when you have qualified you can apply to the Society for Education and Training for your QTLS status which is equivalent to the QTLS or Qualified Teacher Status enabling you to teach in schools throughout England.

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