How To Become A Teacher Without A Degree

How To Become A Teacher Without A Degree

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If teaching is your passion, but you don’t have the necessary education, you may wonder if becoming a teacher without a degree is possible. Although many teaching jobs require a degree, there are alternative paths that you can take without one. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways you can become a teacher without a degree, including educational pathways you can follow and alternative routes that may be open to you. So, wherever you are in your career, read on to learn how to become a teacher without a degree.

Can You Become A Teacher Without A Degree?

Certainly! In the United Kingdom, becoming a teacher without a degree is possible in some cases. However, to become a fully qualified teacher, most people must complete a university degree or an equivalent qualification that the Department for Education recognises.

If you don’t have a degree but are interested in teaching, there are alternative routes to becoming a teacher. For example, you could start as an unqualified teaching assistant or a cover supervisor and then work your way up by gaining experience and taking relevant qualifications.

Regardless of the route you choose, it’s worth noting that having a degree is generally seen as an advantage in the teaching profession, as it can open up more opportunities for advancement and career development. However, you can still take other routes to becoming a teacher without a degree – and you’re about to find them out! 

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Teacher?

In the UK, the qualifications you need to become a teacher will depend on the level of education you wish to teach, as well as the subject area. However, to become a teacher without a degree, you should know the basic GCSE grades necessary for the role. 

For primary school teaching, you will typically need a GCSE grade C/4 or above in English, maths, and science, as well as a degree in any subject.

For secondary school teaching, you will usually need a GCSE grade of C/4 or above in English and maths and a degree in the subject you wish to teach. Sometimes, you may also need a science GCSE to teach science subjects.

How To Become A Teacher Without A Degree

a child with an art teacher who has become a teacher without a degree

If you’re passionate about education and have always dreamed of becoming a teacher, you may wonder if achieving this goal is possible without a university degree. While having a degree is generally an advantage in teaching, there are alternative routes to becoming a teacher that don’t require degrees. In this section, we’ll explore how to become a teacher without a degree and provide a comprehensive guide on the available pathways.

Achieve A Degree in Education and Training (DET)

A common route for those wondering how to become a teacher without a degree is to complete a Degree In Education and Training or a DET. This teaching qualification is designed for the post-16 education sector and is equivalent to a second-year bachelor’s degree. The DET was previously known as the Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS), and you can obtain it from both universities and colleges. The course typically takes between one and two years to complete. If you pursue it through a university, people may refer to it as a Certificate in Education (CertEd) or a Professional Certificate in Education (PCE).

To qualify for a DET, you will need at least 100 hours of experience in teaching, as well as Level 2 skills in maths and English (or a Level 3 qualification if you plan to teach classes involving numeracy or literacy). Also, some training providers may ask you to take additional tests to assess your numeracy, literacy, and other skills.

Once you have obtained your DET, you can apply for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status.

Earn Qualified Teacher Learning Skills (QTLS) 

If you want to become a teacher without a degree, consider earning Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. QTLS has been recognised as equivalent to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) since 2012, meaning that it qualifies you to teach in the same way as QTS does. This is a change from the previous situation where QTLS only qualified holders to teach sixth form.

You can obtain QTLS through a degree, but this isn’t always necessary. However, to qualify for QTLS without a degree, you will need to obtain the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) or an equivalent qualification, such as a Certificate in Education (CertEd) or a Professional Certificate in Education (PCE). This is because most of the requirements for QTLS, such as Level 2 or Level 3 English and maths qualifications, are already included in the DET.

Complete A University-led Undergraduate Course 

Universities offer undergraduate course programmes to provide both theoretical and practical training in teaching and results in a degree with qualified teacher status (QTS). These courses are for individuals looking for how to become a teacher without a degree. 

During this course, you will spend time in a classroom setting, observing experienced teachers and working with students under supervision. Also, you will attend lectures and seminars to learn about educational theory and best practices. Then, at the end of the course, you will be assessed on your teaching skills and knowledge to gain QTS.

Completing a university-led undergraduate course is a popular route to becoming a teacher without a degree. It provides a well-rounded education and a recognised degree while also preparing you for a career in teaching.

Explore Independent Schools

In independent schools, teachers may not necessarily need a degree in the subject they teach. Instead, these schools prioritise candidates who have extensive professional experience or specific qualifications related to the subject. For example, an individual who has worked in marketing for ten years may be considered for a business studies teaching position, even if they do not have a degree in that subject. Additionally, some independent schools may offer on-the-job training for individuals who do not have a degree, allowing them to work towards a teaching qualification while teaching. However, you should know that while this option may be available, it can be more challenging to progress or move schools without a degree. Therefore, it’s always worth checking with the specific school or academy to understand their requirements and opportunities for non-degree-holding teachers.

See If You Have Comparable Qualifications

Comparable qualifications are qualifications recognised as equivalent to UK teaching qualifications. International students who wish to teach in the UK but don’t hold a UK teaching qualification can have their qualifications assessed by UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre). NARIC is a government-designated organisation that evaluates international qualifications that assess qualifications based on a range of factors, such as level, content, and assessment methods. Using these factors, they put together an evaluation report that shows how the qualification compares to UK qualifications. This report will demonstrate to employers or training providers that the qualification is comparable to a UK teaching qualification.

Alternatives To Teaching Without A Degree

older students with a teacher who does not have a degree

Understanding how to get into teaching without a degree is important, but the process can be tricky. So, if you discover it’s not for you, it may comfort you to know that there are some alternatives. Depending on your circumstances, there are some different routes that you can take to become a teacher without a degree. Here are three of the most popular answers to ‘how to become a teacher without a degree’ without going through years of education. 

Teach In A Private School or Academy

Teaching in private schools or academies can be a good alternative for those who want to teach without a degree. The government does not require private schools to follow the national curriculum and have the flexibility to set their standards for their staff. So, they may not require teachers to have QTS and may be open to hiring individuals without a degree. However, competition for these positions can be high, so you should gain relevant experience and qualifications to increase your employment chances. Academies are another option, as they are government-funded and have greater control over their management. Like private schools, they may also accept teachers without QTS. 

To help you gain the necessary skills to succeed as a private school teacher (or any school teacher), take a look at our online teaching courses. Detailed and easy to follow, our online courses allow you to gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as a teacher in your own time; we’ll fit your schedule. Moreover, several of our top courses follow the syllabus set by Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), a respected awarding organisation. View our About Us page to learn more about what we do and find assistance choosing the right course for you. 

Become A Teaching Assistant

Becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA) or a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) offers an excellent pathway for those aspiring to work in education without the requirement of a traditional degree. These roles open doors to fantastic opportunities within classroom settings, where you’ll play a crucial role in supporting teachers, fostering a positive learning environment, and aiding students in their educational journey.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

As a Teaching Assistant, you’ll be an integral part of the educational team, assisting teachers in numerous tasks. These tasks include but are not limited to:

  1. Lesson Preparation: Collaborate with teachers to prepare engaging and effective lessons.
  2. Classroom Management: Help maintain discipline and create a productive classroom atmosphere.
  3. Student Support: Provide valuable assistance to students who may need extra guidance or support.

What’s truly remarkable about this option is that it doesn’t require a university degree or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, to enhance your chances of securing a TA position, it’s beneficial to have relevant experience in areas such as childcare, nursery work, or youth engagement. Volunteering at a local school can be an excellent way to gain hands-on experience and demonstrate your commitment to the field.

Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

For those who aspire to take their career to the next level, the Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) route is an exciting choice. HLTA roles are more specialized and come with a suite of qualifications that learners can progressively attain. These qualifications enable you to grow in your career while enjoying reduced costs for subsequent courses by transferring the units you’ve already achieved.

With the HLTA route, you can further specialise in your area of interest, gaining expertise in:

  1. Supporting Diverse Learners: Learn how to cater to the needs of students with various educational requirements.
  2. Advanced Classroom Management: Develop advanced classroom management skills for a smoother learning environment.
  3. Curriculum Support: Gain knowledge to assist in curriculum development and delivery.

By choosing this route, you’ll not only expand your skill set but also increase your employability and earning potential in the education sector.

Our courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in both the Teaching Assistant and Higher-Level Teaching Assistant roles. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to advance in your career, our comprehensive programs provide the perfect stepping stones to achieving your goals. For more details, please refer to the brochures attached to this email, which will provide a comprehensive overview of the courses and pathways available to you

Read More: How To Become A Teaching Assistant

Troops To Teachers

Troops to Teachers is a programme that helps public servants become teachers without a degree. This is a great alternative for veterans transitioning to teaching secondary-level chemistry, physics, biology, maths, computing or foreign languages. The programme leads to an honours degree and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for those who succeed, equivalent to an undergraduate degree. The training process generally takes two to three years, and eligible applicants wishing to teach the aforementioned secondary subjects can receive a £40,000 bursary. 

To be eligible for the Troops to Teachers scheme, a service leaver must have served at least four years and be within five years of discharge when they start the programme. The programme is exclusively for service personnel who still need to possess an undergraduate degree.

How To Become A Teacher Without A Degree: In Conclusion

geography teacher without a degree teaching children with a globe

Becoming a teacher without a degree is challenging but not impossible. Although there are several alternative routes to take, it’s important to note that while some of these alternatives do not require a degree, they do require other qualifications, experience, and skills. But, if you are passionate about teaching and do not have a degree, these opportunities will allow you to pursue your dream career in education. With dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn, you can be a successful example of how to become a teacher without a degree.


How to Become a teacher without a degree online

Several online courses can provide you with a route to becoming a teacher without a degree, such as the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. However, these courses still require some level of education and may not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which you need to teach in state schools in the UK.

Can you become a qualified teacher without a degree?

Becoming a qualified teacher without a degree is possible, but it is not a common route. Some independent schools, private schools or academies may hire teachers without degrees, but these positions may be competitive and limit career progression. Troops to Teachers is another option for service leavers who do not possess an undergraduate degree.

Can I become a teacher without teacher training?

In the UK, teacher training is a requirement to become a qualified teacher. However, alternative routes to teacher training, such as School Direct or Teach First, offer on-the-job training while you work in a school.

How to become a primary school teacher without a degree in the UK?

To become a primary school teacher without a degree in the UK, you would need to follow an alternative route to teacher training, such as School Direct or Teach First. These routes require you to have some education and relevant experience working with children.


GOV.UK. (n.d.). Routes to qualified teacher status (QTS) for teachers and those with teaching experience outside the UK. Retrieved from [accessed 29/06/23]

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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