Chemistry teacher training options
There are two routes into teaching chemistry. You can study a four-year combined degree in education and chemistry or take a one-year diploma course following your undergraduate degree in chemistry. And if these options don’t quite work for your circumstances, there are some alternative routes to consider.
Bursary for Chemistry teaching courses in Scotland
Bursaries are available for career changers who have been employed for at least three of the last five years and have already completed a Chemistry degree. Get more information about what could be available to you here.
Four-year university courses in education
For the four-year combined degree and other undergraduate degree programmes you must have at least:
- English and two other National Qualifications at SCQF Level 6 (Higher Grade) AND
- Mathematics and one other subject at SCQF Level 5 (or an accepted alternative, for example, National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2).
Check the entry requirements with the course provider.
PGDE university courses
Here are the universities you can study for a PDGE in Chemistry at secondary level. Entry requirements vary so it’s best to check with the course provider.
Alternate routes into teaching
These routes offer a little more flexibility in order to encourage diversity in the profession:
- Supported Induction Route (SIR) with a focus on STEM subjects – University of Dundee
- Combined PGDE with integrated Masters & induction year in Secondary STEM subjects – University of Strathclyde
Michael Barker – Chemistry Teacher at Hillpark Secondary School
“I discovered I had a passion for teaching when I was working for a year in a biomedical research centre during my Chemistry degree. School pupils often visited to take part in activities with the scientists and it was this that showed me how inspiring it is to teach young people.
"Teaching carries a lot of responsibility but it’s incredibly satisfying. I try to ensure classes are enjoyable so that my students want to develop a thirst for learning. Fun and hard work are what I try to bring to the classroom because fun makes hard work seem easier.
"My advice for anyone considering a teaching career is make sure you’re willing to work hard and have a real passion for your subject. If this is the case then apply for teacher training – the chance to influence so many young people in a positive way is not one you come across every day."
Helen Murray – Chemistry Teacher at Bucksburn Academy
“I was working in an environmental monitoring laboratory before switching to becoming a Chemistry teacher. I was happy enough but felt I had much more to offer, and I missed interacting with people. I absolutely made the right choice; the biggest difference has definitely been job satisfaction. It is so fulfilling to celebrate your pupils’ achievements, even the smallest victories. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly feel the need for holidays when term ends, but I love my job and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
"If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, spend some time observing at your local school and see if you could juggle the demands. It took me a while to adjust to the routine of the bell, but you quickly realise that every class and every day is different; that is one of my favourite things about the job."
Catriona Riddoch – Chemistry Teacher at St Andrew’s Academy
“During my own school days I was passionate about learning but I also really liked helping others around me too. That was one of the reasons I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. I wanted a career where my education was never going to stop and, in teaching, you’re always learning, especially from your pupils.
"People say teaching is a lot of work – and it is – but the benefits of the career outweigh this. It’s a fun, exciting job. No two days are the same. It’s really rewarding and there’s always the opportunity for career development.
"I’m enthusiastic about science and always aim to pass this enthusiasm onto my pupils. You’d be surprised about how excited a class get about trying things out, even just mixing two chemicals together. If you’re interested in teaching, I’d say get into a school and get experience of what it’s all about. That way you’ll know if it’s for you.”