FE Teaching qualifications

Teaching qualifications for the FE & Training sector

There are no two ways about it: this bit can be confusing.  There is a suite of teaching qualifications approved for the sector and offered by Universities, Colleges and other providers but they have various names.  There are also in circulation qualifications from previous approved series.  We try to make sense of it in the following.

Current qualification framework:

Level 3 Award in Education and Training – 12 credits

This introductory, knowledge-based teaching qualification has no minimum teaching practice requirement, meaning it can be undertaken by individuals who are not in a teaching role. However, there is a minimum requirement to take part in microteaching.

This qualification is suitable for individuals who:

  • are not in a teaching role, or who have just started a teaching role
  • want a short qualification
  • have the potential to study at this level, which has the same level of demand as that of study for A-levels
  • want a qualification without a minimum teaching practice requirement
  • may have already achieved some Learning and Development units that can be carried forward into this teaching qualification.

Employers may also require this qualification for those staff who undertake basic instructor roles.

Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training – 36 credits

This qualification develops practical teaching skills, and through the optional units, prepares teachers to work in a wide range of contexts.

You must have a minimum of 30 hours of teaching practice.

This qualification is suitable for individuals who:

  • want a qualification which focuses on practical teaching
  • want a wide choice of optional units to reflect the context in which they teach
  • are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited
  • are not currently teaching but can meet the minimum teaching practice requirement of 30 hours
  • are able to undertake a qualification of medium size
  • have the potential to study at this level, which has the same level of demand as the first year of an undergraduate degree
  • are willing to undertake an initial assessment of their skills in English, mathematics and ICT, record their development needs and follow an action plan to address them where necessary.

Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training – 120 credits

This qualification provides training for those individuals who aspire to, or hold, a teaching role with an extensive range of teaching or training responsibilities, including those in more than one context. It is the recognised full teaching qualification for the sector.

You must have a minimum of 100 hours of teaching practice.

This qualification is suitable for individuals who:

  • want the opportunity to explore underpinning theories, frameworks and research into effective teaching and learning alongside developing practical teaching skills
  • are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited
  • are not currently teaching but can meet the minimum teaching practice requirement of 100 hours
  • are able to undertake a large qualification, lasting one to two years
  • have the potential to study at this level, which has the same level of demand as that of a degree course
  • want a wide choice of optional units to reflect the context in which they teach
  • want a qualification recognised as equivalent to the Certificate of Education qualifications
  • are willing to undertake an initial assessment of their skills in English, mathematics and ICT, record their development needs and follow an action plan to address them where necessary
  • can evidence Level 3 skills in English or Mathematics if they are taking any of the specialist units in teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL) or mathematics (numeracy).

Please note that this qualification may also be called a PGCE or a Cert Ed if awarded by a university.

If you want to explore the routes to get into Further Education teaching visit the Teach in Further Education website.

Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training including a specialist pathway – 120 credits

This qualification is the same as the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training but provides the opportunity to take all optional units in one of the following specialist pathways:

  • Teaching English (Literacy)
  • Teaching English (ESOL)
  • Teaching English (Literacy and ESOL)
  • Teaching Mathematics (Numeracy)
  • Teaching Disabled Learners.

You must have a minimum of 100 hours of practice; 50 of which must be in the chosen specialist area.

This qualification is suitable for individuals who:

  • want to spend part of their course developing skills in teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL), mathematics (numeracy) or teaching disabled learners by taking all their optional credit in one specialist pathway
  • want the opportunity to explore underpinning theories, frameworks and research into effective teaching and learning in both their vocational area and a specialist pathway
  • are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited
  • are not currently teaching but can meet the minimum teaching practice requirement of 100 hours
  • are able to undertake a large qualification, lasting one to two years.

These qualifications will probably not be available after September 2024 when the Diploma in Education and Training is replaced by the Diploma in Teaching.

If you want to explore the routes to get into Further Education teaching visit the Teach in Further Education website.

Level 5 integrated specialist diplomas – 120 credits

These integrated, specialist teaching qualifications have been designed for individuals who wish to specialise in teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL), mathematics (numeracy) or teaching disabled learners.
Each qualification is similar to the equivalent Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training including a specialist pathway but the entire qualification is in the context of one of the specialist areas of teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL), mathematics (numeracy), or teaching disabled learners.
To be awarded an integrated specialist Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, a total of 120 credits must be achieved and there is a requirement for a minimum of 100 hours of practice, all of which must be in the chosen specialist area.

These qualifications are suitable for individuals who:
• want the opportunity to explore underpinning theories and frameworks and the latest research into effective teaching and learning in their chosen specialist area
• are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited
• are not currently teaching but can meet the minimum teaching practice requirement of 100 hours
• are able to undertake a large qualification, lasting one to two years
• want a qualification recognised as equivalent to the Certificate of Education qualifications in the FHEQ
• want a qualification which has the same level of demand as a degree course
• are willing to undertake an initial assessment of their skills in English, mathematics and ICT, record their development needs and follow an action plan to address them where necessary
• can evidence Level 3 skills in English or mathematics if they are taking an integrated specialist qualification in teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL) or mathematics (numeracy).

These qualifications will probably not be available after September 2024 when the Diploma in Education and Training is replaced by the Diploma in Teaching.

If you want to explore the routes to get into Further Education teaching visit the Teach in Further Education website.

Level 5 standalone specialist diplomas – 45 credits

These standalone qualifications are designed for teachers who may already have a recognised generic teaching qualification and who now want a qualification in one of the specialist areas.

To be awarded these standalone specialist Level 5 diplomas, a total of 45 credits must be achieved.

There is a requirement for a minimum of 50 hours of practice, all of which must be in the chosen specialist area.

These qualifications are suitable for individuals who:

• hold a teaching qualification and now want to broaden their skills and teach in a specialist area

• already hold a specialist teaching qualification in one of the specialist areas and who now want to extend their skills and teach in a different specialist area

• are not currently teaching and wish to train as a specialist teacher but are unable to join an integrated specialist diploma course

• are able to undertake a medium-sized qualification and can meet the minimum teaching practice requirement of 50 hours

• have the potential to study at this level, which has the same level of demand as that of a degree course

• can evidence Level 3 skills in English or mathematics if they are taking a standalone specialist qualification in teaching English (literacy and/or ESOL) or mathematics (numeracy).

These qualifications will probably not be available after September 2024 when the Diploma in Education and Training is replaced by the Diploma in Teaching.

If you want to explore the routes to get into Further Education teaching visit the Teach in Further Education website.

Each of the above links to a page about the individual qualification.

The full teaching qualification for the sector is the level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) but if this is taken at a university (or even some FE colleges) it may be called a PGCE or a Cert Ed.  There may also be the designation PCET (standing for Post Compulsory Education and Training) to distinguish it from a schools’ PGCE, which this qualification is not: FE teaching qualifications alone do not qualify you to teach in a school. If your aim is to teach in a school rather than in FE, then your best source of information is the Get into Teaching website.

You may also come across qualifications with names such as DTLLS, CTLLS, PTLLS or 7407 or stage 3, amongst others.  The qualifications in the sector have gone through various periods of reform and these are the earlier versions, which are generally not available now but still have currency.

If you want to explore the routes to get into Further Education teaching visit the Teach in Further Education website.