How to Get Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Certification in the UK

Get Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Certification in the UK

Are you aspiring to become a teacher in the UK? If so, then obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) certification is a crucial milestone on your journey to becoming a proficient educator. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about gaining QTS, from its benefits to the step-by-step process of achieving this esteemed certification.

Understanding the Importance of QTS

QTS is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a recognised symbol of your teaching proficiency. Here’s why QTS is essential for educators in the UK:

  • Increased Job Opportunities: Holding QTS opens doors to a wider range of teaching positions across various educational settings, including state-funded schools, academies, and independent schools.
  • Enhanced Employability: QTS makes you a more competitive candidate in the job market, potentially leading to better salary prospects and career stability.
  • Professional Recognition: QTS signifies your commitment to meeting rigorous teaching standards, earning you the trust and respect of parents, students, and employers.
  • Continuous Learning & Development: The QTS process emphasises ongoing professional development, ensuring you stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and educational trends.

Benefits of Holding QTS Certification

Beyond the points mentioned above, QTS offers several additional benefits:

  • Leadership Opportunities: QTS can be a stepping stone to leadership roles within schools, such as becoming a head teacher or deputy head teacher.
  • Career Progression: QTS allows you to pursue further specialisations within your chosen field, opening doors to advancement opportunities.
  • Greater Job Satisfaction: Knowing you possess the necessary qualifications and skills to effectively teach can lead to increased job satisfaction and a more fulfilling career.

How to Obtain QTS

The journey to achieving QTS involves several key steps:

  1. Enrol in a Recognised Teacher Training Program: There are various Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programs available, including postgraduate qualifications (PGCE, PGDE) and school-based programs (School Direct, Teach First).
  2. Pass Skills Tests: You’ll need to demonstrate competency in literacy and numeracy through standardised tests set by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).
  3. Gain Practical Classroom Experience: Supervised placements within schools allow you to apply your theoretical knowledge in a real-world classroom setting.
  4. Apply for QTS: Once you’ve met all requirements, submit an application through the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) online portal.

Necessary Qualifications and Requirements

To be eligible for QTS, you’ll typically need:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in any subject for primary or secondary teaching (though a relevant degree is preferred for secondary).
  • GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and mathematics at grade 4 (C) or above. Primary teachers may also require a science GCSE.
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Passion for education and a desire to make a positive impact on young learners.

Preparing for QTS

Here are some tips to increase your chances of success in obtaining QTS:

  • Actively Participate in Your Training Program: Engage fully with coursework, assignments, and discussions to maximise your learning.
  • Seek Mentorship: Connect with experienced teachers to gain valuable insights and guidance.
  • Prepare for Skills Tests: Utilise study materials, online resources, and practice tests to ensure you’re well-prepared.
  • Develop Strong Teaching Skills: Focus on effective lesson planning, classroom management, and engaging teaching methods.

Strategies for Passing Skills Tests

While the specific format of skills tests may vary, here are some general strategies:

  • Review the Assessment Criteria: Familiarise yourself with the specific skills and knowledge tested.
  • Practise Sample Tests: Several online resources offer practice tests to help you identify areas needing improvement.
  • Develop Effective Test-Taking Techniques: Learn time management strategies and exam techniques to maximise your performance.
  • Seek Support from Your Training Provider: Many training providers offer guidance and resources to help you prepare for skills tests.

Gaining Practical Experience

There’s no substitute for hands-on experience in a classroom setting. Here’s how to make the most of your placements:

  • Observe Experienced Teachers: Pay close attention to classroom management techniques, teaching styles, and student engagement strategies.
  • Actively Participate in Lesson Planning & Delivery: Collaborate with teachers to plan lessons and assist with delivery whenever possible.
  • Seek Feedback & Reflect on Your Practice: Actively solicit constructive feedback from mentors and use it to refine your teaching skills.

Application Process for QTS

The application process for QTS can be streamlined by following these steps:

  • Gather Required Documents: Ensure you have all necessary documents like your certificates, transcripts, DBS check, and references readily available.
  • Meet Eligibility Criteria: Double-check that you meet all eligibility requirements, including any additional considerations for overseas-trained teachers.
  • Complete the Online Application: Carefully fill out the QTS application form on the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) website.
  • Pay the Application Fee: There’s a mandatory fee associated with submitting a QTS application.
  • Submit Your Application: Once you’ve reviewed everything and ensured accuracy, submit your application electronically through the TRA portal.
  • Await Assessment: The TRA will assess your application against the set standards and notify you of the outcome.

Additional Requirements for Overseas-Trained Teachers

If you’re a teacher trained outside the UK, there might be additional requirements you need to fulfil:

  • Equivalence Statements: You may need to obtain statements from UK ENIC (UK National Agency for International Qualifications and Skills) confirming the equivalence of your overseas qualifications to UK standards.
  • English Language Proficiency: If English wasn’t the medium of instruction for your teaching qualification, you might need to demonstrate English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or PTE.
  • QTS Skills Tests with Adjustments: In some cases, the TRA may allow adjustments to skills tests to accommodate differences in educational systems.

Continuous Professional Development

The learning journey doesn’t stop after obtaining QTS. Here’s why continuous professional development (CPD) is crucial:

  • Staying Up-to-Date: The education sector constantly evolves, and CPD ensures you possess the latest knowledge and teaching methods.
  • Enhancing Your Skills & Expertise: CPD opportunities can help you refine your teaching skills, explore new areas of specialisation, and cater to diverse learning needs.
  • Meeting QTS Renewal Requirements: QTS requires renewal every five years, and CPD activities contribute to demonstrating your ongoing commitment to professional development.

Recommended Courses for Career Progression

Here are some examples of CPD courses to consider:

  • Subject-specific pedagogy courses to deepen your knowledge and skills in your chosen teaching field.
  • Leadership development programs to prepare for potential school leadership roles.
  • Assistive technology training to effectively support students with diverse learning needs.
  • Mental health awareness training to better understand and support the emotional well-being of students.


Obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is a rewarding journey that equips you with the skills and knowledge to excel as a teacher in the UK. By understanding the significance of QTS, actively preparing for the process, gaining hands-on experience, and committing to lifelong learning, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful and impactful educator.

Remember, with dedication, perseverance, and a passion for education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a QTS-qualified teacher and make a lasting difference in the lives of your students. So, take the first step today and embark on this exciting journey!

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