Career development options in further education

A typical career path for FE lecturers would be to start off with a casual or part-time temporary contract. The logical next step is to gain a permanent full-time or part-term contract.

Lecturers can then move up the career ladder to become advanced, senior lecturers, programme leaders/ course managers, curriculum managers or heads of department or divisional managers. Lecturers continue to teach classes at these levels but they take on extra management responsibilities. You can check out the pay attached with these various levels on the University and College Union (UCU) website.

Another way to move up the career ladder is to take on additional non-teaching responsibilities. These might include working in a pastoral role or as an admissions tutor for example. Some FE teachers take part in the Skills for Life initiative, teaching adults literacy, language and numeracy skills

Going down the management route

Some lecturers chose to move out of the classroom and into college management in areas such as finance, quality standards, admissions, human resources and guidance.

Management posts often require relevant professional qualifications and experience and can attract suitably-qualified applicants from outside the education sector. If you plan to go down this route you may have to get relevant business/professional qualifications such as an MBA.

Teaching in schools

Historic legislation means that FE professionals holding Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) are not allowed to teach in a school.

This is a contentious issue and the IfL is working to change the situation. The Wolf review of 14-19 vocational education, released in March 2011, recommended that that QTLS status should be recognised in schools, placing college lecturers on an equal footing with their school counterparts who are allowed to teach in colleges. For more on these developments read the TES report on the Wolf Review.

As schools are increasingly looking to expand their vocational offerings to pupils, especially after the age of 14, further career development opportunities should open up qualified teachers in the FE sector.


All full-time teachers, trainers and tutors in the further education and skills sector have to carry out at least 30 hours of CPD per year, this is a condition of retaining Institute for Learning (IfL) membership. IfL is the professional body for teachers, tutors and trainee teachers across further education and skills and only IfL members can gain the professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS).

If you’re employed part time, the number of required CPD hours is reduced on a pro-rata basis, falling to a minimum of six hours.

What kind of CPD activities are there?

CPD activities can be a mix of formal or informal activities. Examples include:

  • Reading relevant journal articles or reviewing books
  • Training courses or formal development or study
  • Peer review, mentoring or shadowing
  • Online learning including engagement in discussion forums and blogs
  • Viewing and reviewing television programmes

How do you record your CPD?

Your CPD has to be recorded and you also have to produce a portfolio of evidence, which you might have to show to the IfL. The portfolio should show that you have reflected on what you’ve learned, that you have applied the CPD to your teaching practice and should explain how your CPD has improved teaching and learning.

 The IfL has an online portal called Reflect, where you can record your CPD.

You have to declare your CPD each year as a requirement of your IfL membership and that has to be done between June 1 and August 31. Declaring your CPD involves telling the IfL how many hours of CPD you’ve completed during the current year together with a brief summary of that CPD.

Useful links

Download the IfL’s CPD guidelines

The union ATL runs various professional development opportunities to enable you to develop your classroom practice

FE National Joint Forum views on the pay and conditions claim for 2011/12 for lecturers in further education

FE salary guide across England from the UCU

More articles about teaching in FE

Qualifications needed to work in further education

Typical day-to-day activities of an FE teacher

Pay and conditions in further education

The role of the assessor in FE

Popular FE Job searches on TES Jobs

View all the jobs in colleges of further and tertiary education

View all the lecturer jobs

View the latest head of department roles in further education

View the latest FE Director/Principal roles

View the classroom teacher roles in further education

Don’t forget to set yourself up with a job alert for your chosen role so you will get the latest FE jobs emailed direct to your inbox as soon as they become available on TES Jobs. You have to register with TES to set up a job alert but registration is quick and simple.