December 9, 2022

Is a DET qualification equivalent to a PGCE qualification?

Is a DET qualification equivalent to a PGCE qualification?

The Level 5 DET Diploma in Education and Training (RQF) and the PGCE Post-Graduate Certificate in Education are broadly similar and can be considered equivalent qualifications within the lifelong learning sector.

Both courses are forms of initial teacher training (ITT); however, they aren’t identical qualifications.

Let’s look at the similarities between the DET and PGCE courses, and then we’ll cover the differences.

What are the similarities between a Level 5 DET qualification and a PGCE qualification?

Course Contents

Many PGCE courses follow the same modules, units and topics as the Level 5 DET course. That means that overall, course content is very similar for both courses.

The topics covered in both courses include teaching, learning, different theories of how best people learn, how to plan lessons, courses and complying with the syllabus requirements of your subject area.

On both a Level 5 DET course and a PGCE course, you will be required to carry out reading and research into teaching and education, as well as comprehensively demonstrate your knowledge. 

Both courses require you to produce answers and assignments to an academic standard through reading, referring to sources and evaluating up-to-date practices in the education and training sector. This means that both the Level 5 DET and PGCE have the same level of difficulty involved. You will need to dedicate some serious study time to both. Neither course can be described as an easy ride!

Practical Learning

The Level 5 DET course and the PGCE course require you to apply what you learn in a practical teaching environment. This means you will need to put what you have learned into teaching practice using the techniques and theories you have covered in either course.

With the PGCE course, the amount of teaching varies between institutions.

With the Level 5 DET, you will need at least 100 hours, with 8 hours observed by your mentor, to complete this portion of the course.

Study Areas

The Level 5 DET Diploma in Education and Training (RQF) and the PGCE Post-Graduate Certificate in Education are both available in a variety of options depending on your interests and subject area.

 You will get the opportunity to study areas and topics which are relevant to your subject area and the sector in which you are working. This means that the knowledge, teaching skills, and practical experience you gain will be directly relevant to your interests and ambitions.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the similarities, let’s move on to the differences!

What are the differences between the DET qualification and the PGCE qualification?

Course Price

The elephant in the room here is the price of each course. There is a big difference in cost between the PGCE and the Level 5 DET.

You can take a PGCE course at many universities and colleges in the UK. That means that you will pay current tuition fees at the time of applying, which currently sit at around £9,250 per year.

Alternatively, you can take the Level 5 DET course for £750 with Carlton Training.

Yes, you are reading that correctly!

Taking a PGCE course is more than 12 times more expensive than the Level 5 DET – even though the PGCE is largely offered by publicly funded universities, which (in theory) should be cheaper. 

There is no logical reason why the PGCE should be so much more expensive than the Level 5 DET with a non-publicly funded organisation. 

In days of high student debt, cost of living increases, and economic uncertainty, more and more people are choosing to take a Level 5 DET qualification on the price point alone.

Course Requirements

What are the PGCE course requirements?

To take the PGCE course, you will need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (BA). Intake for the PGCE course is restricted to graduates, which severely limits intake and excludes people who might have great subject knowledge and life experience but don’t have a degree to back it up. 

What are the Level 5 DET course requirements?

There are no formal entry requirements for the Level 5 DET course. This makes it a far more inclusive course than a PGCE course, with a much lower barrier to entry.

Course Outcomes

There’s more than one route to being a fully accredited teacher in England and Wales. Most students will take a PGCE course or a Level 5 DET course to become fully accredited teachers.

Candidates taking these two courses typically go through different but equally valid processes when continuing professional development after their teacher training.

Holders of a PGCE qualification or Bachelor of Education degree (B.Ed) typically become Newly Qualified teachers (NQTs). They then go through a period of induction at the school they work at to become fully accredited teachers, which usually takes one year to complete. This is known as the QTS or Qualified Teacher Status

On successful completion of a Level 5 DET qualification, individuals usually opt for the QTLS process, which is a slightly shorter process and run by a different governing body, the Society for Education and Training

This process usually takes around six months to complete. Once the process has been completed, the QTLS holder can teach in any school and is classed as a fully accredited teacher.

It’s worth noting that this route is not as well-publicised since most existing teachers and head teachers aren’t fully informed about it, even though the legislation confirming this has been around for more than a decade.  

Should you choose the Level 5 DET qualification or the PGCE qualification?

If you want a nationally recognised teaching qualification which costs hundreds rather than thousands, then the Level 5 DET course is the right choice for you.

Similarly, if you want to pursue a career in education and training without holding a degree, a Level 5 DET qualification is your best bet.

Finally, the Level 5 DET doesn’t require a year-long induction process, whereas the PGCE course does, so this is the quickest route to becoming a qualified teacher.

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