QTS, PGCE or EYTS: which teaching qualification is right for me?


Those new to teaching will quickly realise that the education world is teeming with acronyms, from training routes to teaching methods. In this blog post, we explain three of the main teaching qualifications and how they differ from each other.

QTS- Qualified Teaching Status

What is QTS?

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is a professional qualification awarded by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) when a person can prove that they meet all of the Teachers’ Standards and criteria. QTS is required in England to teach in a state school that is under local authority control and in special schools. It is most commonly gained alongside or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualification.

QTS is recognised in some countries outside of England and Wales, but if you are thinking of teaching abroad once qualified then it is always worth checking with the department for education of a particular country that you intend to teach in.

What are the requirements?

In order to be eligible for QTS assessment, you will need to have an undergraduate degree and GCSEs of grade C or above in Maths and English (you will also need grade C in Science if you plan to teach at a Primary level). You will need to pass the Professional Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy as well.

Find out how to prepare for the Professional Skills tests

How can I gain QTS?

QTS can be achieved through both school-led and university-led initial teacher training. Programmes such as Tes Institute's Straight to Teaching, help you with QTS preparation and the Assessment Only route with a personalised programme unique to you and your school. It's a great way for unqualified teachers to become qualified without leaving their school.

If you already have substantial teaching experience and feel that you meet the Teachers’ Standards you can follow the Assessment Only route to gain the qualification, which takes just 12 weeks.

Find out more about Assessment Only

PGCE- Post Graduate Certificate in Education

What is PGCE?

A PGCE is an academic qualification awarded by a Higher Education Institution and gained through a variety of teacher training routes from University-led teacher training courses and school centred routes like School Direct and SCITTs that partner with a University. A PGCE course is available at both primary and secondary levels.

All applications for PGCE programmes are handled by UCAS Teacher Training, although it is usually possible to speak directly to PGCE initial teacher training providers regarding the number of places available and the best ways to apply.

What are the requirements?

There are specific entry requirements for gaining a PGCE that will vary between institutions. Some will require a subject specific degree, whilst other teaching course providers will allow non-specific degrees, particularly for shortage subjects if you complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course..

Find out more about SKE 

How do I get a PGCE and who recognises it?

If the teacher training route that you apply for offers a PGCE you will need to undertake a number of additional assignments during your teacher training. A PGCE is usually recognised abroad as a teacher training qualification, however as with QTS, if you intend to teach in a different country, it is always worth checking what qualifications they would accept.

EYTS- Early Years Teaching Status

What is EYTS?

Early Years Teaching Status (EYTS) was introduced in 2013 as a pathway to becoming a teacher of children from birth to age five, replacing Early Years Professional Status (EYPS).

What are the requirements?

Early years teachers have to meet the same entry requirements and pass the same professional skills tests as trainee primary school teachers, however, the early years qualification does not incorporate Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). As most primary PGCE or QTS routes generally cover ages three and upwards, EYTS is particularly useful for teachers who want to focus on children in the early stages of their lives.

How do I get EYTS?

There are various EYTS training courses available depending on your circumstances. You can gain your qualification through a School Direct route, as part of an undergraduate degree or as an Assessment Only route for those who already meet the Early Years standards.

Which teacher training route is right for me?

This handy guide of routes into teaching can help you decide between a university-led or school-led route into teaching. Read these scenarios to help you decide your route to becoming a teacher.