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How to Become a Teacher from a Teaching Assistant

Nauman Farooq

May 22, 2024

Read time : 09 mins

Table of contents

If you currently work as a teaching assistant, one of your career goals can be to become a teacher. Although entering the teaching profession is quite usual after being a TA for some time, it is not always necessary. Before switching from teaching assistant to teacher, many TAs decide to advance in their positions to acquire as much knowledge and expertise as possible.

Several teacher assistant certifications are available to help you advance your knowledge and expertise as a teaching assistant. This blog will guide you through five ways to transition from a teaching assistant to a teacher.

Can a Teaching Assistant Become a Teacher?

Yes, a TA can pursue a career in teaching. There are numerous paths to teaching, many of which teaching assistants may choose. Certain pathways call for a specific level of teaching experience and qualifications. The most popular teaching qualifications a TA can obtain to get into teaching are: teaching adults, which has various prerequisites, and teaching in schools, which requires QTS or an equivalent certificate.

5 Ways to Become a Teacher from a Teaching Assistant

how to become teaching assistant

Here are five steps to help you transition from a teaching assistant to a teacher.

1. Complete the Adult Education Teaching Qualification

Level 3 Award in Education and Training

There are several types of teaching opportunities, and for TAs who want to work in the field of adult education, the Level 3 Award in Education and Training is a great place to start. This is the most fundamental teaching qualification that will help you understand teaching principles.

Although it’s not a requirement to become a teacher, earning a Level 3 qualification is an excellent method to determine if teaching is your right career path.

Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training

Of the three teaching and training qualifications, the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training is the second most advanced one. It is also a recommended qualification for a teaching assistant who wants to work as an adult educator.

In addition to helping you assess, refine, and enhance your current talents, the course builds core teaching and training skills. It is also the first of three courses taught in person and online.

2. Complete the Qualification for Classroom Teaching

Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training

Obtaining Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status (QTLS) is one path to beginning your teaching career in a classroom. To apply for QTLS, you must have the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), the most advanced teaching and training qualification. This qualification allows you to develop your teaching and training skills.

After completing the qualification, you can apply for QTLS status. This status makes you eligible to work as a teacher in a classroom or other educational settings.

3. A Degree with QTS

Generally, you need to have QTS or an equivalent qualification if you wish to teach learners who are younger than sixteen. While some private or independent schools may not require it, it is generally recommended to have it. However, this is a prerequisite at public schools. A bachelor’s degree that offers QTS, such as a bachelor of education, bachelor of arts (BA) with QTS, or bachelor of science (BSc) with QTS, is one route to obtain this professional certification.

The degree you choose will probably depend on the subject you intend to teach. For example, a BSc in Physics with QTS is normally required to become a physics teacher, whereas a BA in History with QTS is more suitable for someone who wants to teach history. Teachers in elementary and high schools must have QTS.

4. The Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)

If you need QTS but also have a degree, you can take the PGCE. Graduates who wish to get into teaching can benefit from this year-long programme. Depending on the university, different prerequisites may apply, such as a lower second-class honours degree and A levels in math and English. The PGCE is comparable to a master’s degree and normally takes one year to complete.

Training for new teachers is part of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) PGCE programme. Seek out PGCE courses that grant QTS following successful completion. Teachers with QTS may choose to further their education with a PGCE.

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is the Scottish equivalent of the PGCE, which is the same in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The PGDE and PGCE programmes combine academic learning with school-based work to deliver theoretical and practical knowledge to learners.

5. Build Relationships and Networking

Networking and building contacts are essential for new entrants in teaching to grow professionally and advance their careers. Going to conferences and events in your field, connecting with mentors and colleagues, and participating in online teacher communities are all good places to start. These options can help you build a support system, exchange knowledge, and obtain insights.

To network with and gain knowledge from other educators, your school may also provide professional development activities and courses. To build long-lasting relationships, remember that you should have an optimistic outlook and attitude, be receptive to new ideas, and follow up with contacts. Lastly, to learn more about the hiring process and to receive tips on making an impression as a candidate, speak with the administrators, teachers, and colleagues at your school.


What’s the difference between a fully qualified teacher and a newly qualified teacher (NQT)?

An NQT, or early career teacher, is a person who has obtained QTS but has yet to finish classroom training. For NQTs, the induction phase lasts three to six terms or one to two years. They are certified to teach after passing an examination at the end of each term. This induction phase can be finished either full or part-time.

Are there any registration requirements to become a teacher?

In Scotland, there are regulations regarding registration. QTS or a similar qualification is the only requirement in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Additionally, registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland is required.

Can I become a teacher without a degree?

You should consider obtaining Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status if you want to transition from a teaching assistant to a teacher with no degree. Since 2012, QTLS has been acknowledged as equivalent to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which means it confers the same qualifications on teachers as QTS.

Can a level 3 TA teach a class?

Yes, anyone who has achieved the Level 3 Award in Education and Training can teach a class.

Can a teaching assistant teach a class?

Higher-level teaching assistants can take some lessons instead of the teacher, cover absences, and teach courses alone. Typically, the purpose of hiring teaching assistants is to assist the teacher and support the classroom environment.

Wrap Up

Moving from teaching assistant to teacher is an exciting career move that calls for commitment, determination, and hard work. You can achieve your dream of becoming a certified teacher by obtaining the necessary training and qualifications, building a network, and getting ready for interviews. Remember that it’s crucial to investigate several options to choose which best meets your unique requirements and preferences.