5 Things You Need to Know Before Working in Education

If you’re thinking of a career in education, be sure to read our guide. We’ve put together everything you need to know about working in the sector – from finance to career paths.

  1. There are lots of career options to consider

Whether you want to work in early days’ education, in a primary school, a secondary school or higher education, there are lots of career paths to consider. In academia, for example, you could work as a lecturer, work in research, become a professor or work as a head of a department. There are also opportunities in the administration – from events and course organisers to librarians and career advisors. With so much variety available to you, a career in education can be incredibly rewarding, with opportunities for development and career change depending on where your skills lie and what you want to do.

One of the best ways to see what roles are available in your area is to look online; the CV-library education jobs website, for example, will list all of the nearest positions available to you.

  1. The type of school you work in will determine your career path 

In the United Kingdom, there are two sectors of education – state and private (which is also known as independent). The type of school you choose to work for can greatly affect how it is run, how staff are employed and how your contract will be issued and managed. For example, academies and free schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum, and can instead focus on specialist skills such as business, science or technology. A maintained school, on the other hand, will follow the national curriculum closely, but can still teach specialist subjects such as religious education depending on the faith of the school.

The independent sector is where education becomes more interesting – and, in some cases, more challenging than the mainstream educational sector. Because they are exempt from the national curriculum, such schools focus on the child’s individual development, with creativity, morality and independence encouraged. Because of this, teachers in the private sector will require a specialist teacher training qualification.


  1. There are entry requirements if you want to get into teaching

Although not all roles in the education sector involve teaching, becoming a teacher demands certain qualifications and entry requirements. If you want to train to become a teacher in England, you’ll need to have at least two weeks of school-based work experience, and a UK degree with a 2:2 or above. If you want to teach in secondary or higher education, then you’ll require a degree that’s relevant to the subject in which you’d like to teach.

On top of these requirements, you’ll need GCSE levels of at least grade C in maths and English, and you’ll be expected to pass a professional skills test for numeracy and literacy. You’ll also need to have declared previous convictions, and have undergone a criminal record and Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check.


  1. You’ll need more than qualifications to succeed

Having the right qualifications is an important part of working in the education sector, but you’ll need more than that to succeed. Proven ability to communicate with students and their parents/caregivers is important, as is enthusiasm for education and the subjects you teach – particularly if you want to teach at a secondary or higher education level. You should be able to demonstrate that you read up on and contribute to your knowledge of such subjects in your free time and that you have an in-depth knowledge of the subject, age range and the relevant curriculum. This is why work experience is essential if you want to work in education.

Perhaps one of the biggest requirements is the ability to convey your knowledge to your students and engage with them. Confidence and organisation are two other key skills, while dedication and commitment are also required. Finally, having a good sense of humour and a trustworthy attitude will help you relate well with both parents and students.


  1. It’s an incredibly rewarding sector

While the average starting salary for a teacher in the United Kingdom stands at around £25,000, the sector offers unrivalled opportunity for growth and development. On top of this, teachers work for around 195 days of the year, with more holidays than people in other professions. What’s more, you’ll be entitled to a generous pension scheme, and you’ll have the opportunity of additional money if you take on additional responsibilities as part of the teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) scheme.

But becoming a teacher offers much more of a reward than money. You’ll be able to make a difference to and inspire the next generation of young people and enjoy a career well into the future. Teaching isn’t a profession – it’s an attitude and a way of life.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,


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