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Secondary school teacher

Secondary school teachers teach children from 11 to 16, or up to 19 in schools with sixth forms.

Annual Salary

£30,000 to £47,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 45 term time

You could work: evenings; attending events or appointments

Future employment

There will be 4.3% more Secondary school teacher jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • prepare teaching materials, set up the classroom and organise displays
  • plan and teach lessons and work with small groups of students
  • mark work and talk to parents and carers about their children's progress
  • manage the work of teaching assistants
  • follow safeguarding procedures and work with careers advisers, counsellors, education psychologists and social workers
  • organise trips, after school clubs or exam revision classes
  • work and attend meetings and training outside of usual working hours

Working environment

You could work at a school, at a college, at a pupil referral unit or at a special needs school.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

Undergraduate degree

You can do an undergraduate degree that leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), for example:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

Postgraduate certificate

If you already have a bachelor's degree without qualified teacher status, you can complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). This can be done at university or through a training programme based in a school.

You do not always need to have a degree in the subject you'd like to teach. Your teacher training organisation will decide whether you have the required skills and knowledge to teach the subject

You can sometimes do a subject knowledge enhancement course to improve your understanding of the subject you want to teach.

More teacher training options

There are more training options if you want to change career or specialise in teaching certain subjects.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information

You could do the Teacher Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • a degree for a teaching apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as a teaching assistant or learning mentor and do a part time degree. You could then move onto a postgraduate teaching course to qualify as a teacher.

Volunteering and work experience

You might find it helpful to get some experience of working with young people.

You could volunteer at a school, do youth work or work on a holiday scheme.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You can also attend a Get Into Teaching event before you apply to get advice about teaching, funding and the different training routes available. You can attend events in person and online.

Further information

You can discover more about how to become a teacher from Get Into Teaching.

You can also search for jobs through the Teaching Vacancies service.

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With experience you could:become a special educational needs teacher, further education teacher or move into pastoral care; become a specialist leader of education and support teachers in other schools; move up to be a curriculum leader, head of year, deputy head or headteacher; work for an exam board, local education authority or work in a gallery or museum as an education officer; work freelance as a private tutor

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • leadership skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • maths knowledge
  • administration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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