New to teaching

How to become a teacher in Scotland

There are several different routes into teaching in Scotland. For some becoming a teacher is a lifelong passion that begins at school and for other folk it’s a career change later on in life. There are also teachers that qualified in other countries who want to bring their valuable skills and experience to Scotland. Whichever category you fall into, we can give you the information you need to make your next steps in becoming a teacher in Scotland.

All applicants must have achieved SCQF Level 6 or above in English (e.g. Higher grade), and SCQF Level 5 in Maths (e.g. National 5).

If you don’t have the correct English or Mathematics qualifications to enter teaching in Scotland, Online Access Courses in English (SCQF Level 6) and Mathematics (SCQF Level 5) exist which will enable you to work flexibly, online, towards attaining these qualifications. For more details on Online Access Courses, click here.

New to teaching Qualified elsewhere Returning to teaching General FAQs

New to teaching

Teaching is consistently voted as one of the most satisfying careers in the world. And it attracts all kinds of folks – school leavers, career changers, university graduates… The route into teaching, however, is largely the same for everybody new to teaching.

You can teach in Scotland once you have:

  1. Completed a four-year undergraduate course in education.
    Also known as an honours degree in education. Generally, each university asks for different qualifications depending on the course but as standard you must have achieved English (SCQF level 6 or above), Maths (SCQF level 5 or above) and two other National Qualifications at SCQF Level 6 and one other subject at SCQF Level 5. You can find a list of providers and entry requirements on UCAS – simply search ‘Education’ in the Course field.


  1. Completed an undergraduate course and then a one-year PGDE course.

Aside from the correct qualifications you also need to have certain qualities. Of course, it goes without saying that you must enjoy working with children. You must have lots of patience, adaptability, and flexibility. You must also be ready for a career that brings a whole load of fulfilment.

Did you know?

Candidates that successfully complete a PGDE will be guaranteed a one-year post as a probationary teacher. Register for your FREE guide to find out more.
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How to apply and get onto a teaching course

Every student must apply for a course via UCAS – an organisation which manages all college and university applications. If you submit your application by mid-January, you’ll have a decision by the start of May.

You can find out more on what happens after you have submitted your application from UCAS.

More about UCAS applications for teaching qualifications

Here are our top tips, and things you need to do before applying for your chosen teaching course:

  1. Make sure you have the correct qualifications. The section above has a little detail on this. You can also confirm what you need in more depth from the UCAS help pages.
  2. Try and get some experience or do some voluntary work with children at secondary school age (e.g. work experience in your local school or volunteering at your local youth group).
  3. Put together a personal statement. This is a short essay that you are asked to submit in support of your teaching application. In your personal statement, you must demonstrate your passion and commitment for teaching your subject. It’s also important you demonstrate your enthusiasm for returning to university.
    Here are some questions to consider when writing your personal statement:

    • Why do you want to become a teacher?
    • What skills do you have that will make you be a good teacher?
    • What experience do you have in working with young people? And what appeals to you about working with secondary school children?
    • Why do you want to teach your subject?

    The ability to communicate well in writing is something that the admissions team will look for, so we recommend spending a good bit of time on this. It would also be a good idea to finish with a summary of what you have to offer – leave the admissions team with a clear understanding of why you’d make a good candidate for the university course as well as an excellent teacher.

  4. Choose two referees from people that know you well. When you make your university choices, you’ll also have to supply two names of people that can provide a reference for you. Get more useful information on choosing the right referees straight from UCAS.

How to get funding for teaching courses in Scotland

If you are eligible, SAAS will pay your tuition fee straight to your PGDE university. The tuition fee for a PGDE course in Scotland in 2017-2018 is £1,820.

Find out more about funding from SAAS.

Bursary and loan for teaching courses in Scotland

You could be eligible for a bursary and/or loan to cover your living costs.

At present, there are bursaries available for those who have been employed for at least three of the last five years AND have a degree in either Maths, Computing, Technical Education or Physics.

Find out if you could qualify for a bursary here or get more information about bursaries and loans from SAAS.

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