If you have a teaching qualification from somewhere outside Scotland, or you only have informal qualifications or experience, you may not be fully eligible to teach here. But don’t worry – whether you are new to teaching or an experienced professional from out with Scotland, there’s a route into teaching for you. In this post, you’ll learn how to become a teacher in Scotland, how to transfer your teaching qualification from another country, and how to return to teaching after taking time off or changing careers.

How to become a teacher in Scotland

If you’ve never had any teacher training, there are two ways to become a qualified teacher in Scotland: a four-year undergraduate programme or a one-year PGDE programme. Both these routes allow students to become qualified primary or secondary teachers. You’ll need a degree, or equivalent, regardless of whether you want to go into primary or secondary teaching. Due to the specialisation of secondary teaching, however, your degree will need to be in a relevant subject. So, if you want to be a History teacher, for example, you’ll need a degree in History or some sort of closely-related field.

Some universities may ask for further qualifications, so be sure to check individual entry requirements, and you’ll also need to be a registered member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Where can I train?

You can complete your teaching degree at eight universities in Scotland. Not all of them offer PGDE programmes, however, so consult the universities’ websites for more information on your specific requirements.

Is there funding?

To check whether you’re eligible for funding, or for further information and advice on funding, visit the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) website. You can also search for funding using the TARGETpostgrad funding finder.

What if I qualified elsewhere?

Scotland welcomes qualified teachers from the UK, the EU, and the rest of the world to teach in Scotland. You must, however, submit an application to the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) for approval. Each application is assessed against GTCS Registration and Standard Rules. As part of your application, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Copies of your teaching degree and related documentations (translated into English, if necessary)
  • Official documentation confirming which age range and subjects you are qualified to teach
  • Overseas criminal record checks (if applicable)
  • References (in English) from previous schools or colleges where you were employed as a teacher

You may also be required to submit a character reference.

As with any secondary teaching in Scotland, your degree (or equivalent) must be in a relevant subject. You may also be required to demonstrate that you have a good command of the English language if you are applying from overseas. This usually takes the form of a simple test, but some universities may also accept other English language certifications.

It can take some time to process your application, and during busy periods, such as a few months before the start of term, the number of applications slows the process down even further. So make sure you submit your application with all of the required paperwork as soon as possible to avoid delays and disappointment.

Next steps - re: teaching qualification

To learn more about transferring your UK or overseas teaching qualification to Scotland, or if you gained teacher status in England via an employment-based route, consult the GTCS website.

Can I return to teaching?

Whether you earned a teaching qualification but chose a different career path, left teaching for other opportunities, or took time off to have children, you can still return to teaching. There are several steps to returning to teaching in Scotland.

  1. If your GTCS registration has lapsed, you will need to renew it. Request an application pack from the GTCS website.
  2. Depending on where you want to teach, a local authority may require you to take a refresher course. Find out more on a local authority’s website.
  3. Once you have updated your GTCS registration, you will be able to apply for teaching jobs in Scotland.

If you have been out of teaching for more than a year, request a GTCS registration pack.

What next?

If your qualifications are up to date and you’re ready to see what’s out there, search for teaching jobs in Scotland today. It’s never too late to start your dream job.
Search the myjobscotland website now.