The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE/PGCertEd) is a one- or two-year higher education course in
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
Wales Wales ( cy|Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga|Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
which provides training in order to allow graduates to become
teacher A teacher (also called a schoolteacher or formally, an educator) is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. ''Informally'' the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone (e.g. when showing a colleague how to pe ...
s within maintained schools. In England, there are two routes available to gaining a PGCE – either on a traditional university-led teacher training course or school-led teacher training. In addition to gaining the PGCE qualification itself, those who have successfully completed the course in England or Wales are recommended for
qualified teacher status Qualified teacher status (QTS) or Qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS) is required in England and Wales to work as a teacher of children in state schools under local authority control, and in special education schools. A similar stat ...
(QTS) - the requirement to teach in state maintained schools in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as ...

England and Wales
. Those passing PGCEs in Northern Ireland are granted 'eligibility to teach' in Northern Ireland (equivalent to QTS). Though the QTS/eligibility to teach only applies in the Home Nation it was awarded in, applying for QTS/eligibility to teach in either of the other two Home Nations is a formality, and is nearly always awarded to PGCE holders. Furthermore, the PGCE is also widely recognised in
Scotland Scotland ( sco|Scotland, gd|Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
and the rest of the world, allowing holders to easily register as teachers there. The PGCE was previously also offered in Scotland, but was renamed the
Professional Graduate Diploma in Education A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular know ...
(PGDE) from 2005 to 2006 (the exact year depending on the university offering it). It is identical in content to the previous PGCE. Like the PGCE, the PGDE is widely recognised throughout the rest of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
and the rest of the world. Applications for admission to PGCE courses are handled by
UCAS Teacher Training UCAS Teacher Training, formerly the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR), is the subsidiary of UCAS responsible for student applications from graduates (and those about to graduate) to providers of Initial Teacher Training in the United Kingdo ...

UCAS Teacher Training
. Further and higher education lecturers are not usually required to hold QTS/eligibility to teach. However, many lecturers attend training courses to gain qualifications such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Further Education (PGCFE), which is comparable to the regular PGCE. There is also the
PGCHEThe Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE), alternatively called the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), is a British teaching qualification for university lecturers and similar professionals. The PGCHE is designed t ...

, for university practitioners.

Course content and structure

The PGCE is a professional qualification normally taught at a
university A university ( la|universitas, 'a whole') is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. ...

or other
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion o ...

higher education
institution, with much of the course time spent on placements in local schools. A trainee teacher will have to meet the Standards for qualified teacher status and any course specific requirements to be awarded the PGCE. In England only, a trainee teacher also has to pass the
professional skills tests
professional skills tests
before starting a course. The training provider will then recommend the trainee teacher for QTS to the relevant body: *
The National College for Teaching and Leadership
The National College for Teaching and Leadership
(England) *
General Teaching Council for WalesThe General Teaching Council for Wales was the body overseeing the qualification, registration, and good conduct of teachers in Wales. It was replaced in 2015 by the Education Workforce Council. {{UK-edu-stub Category:Education in Wales Category ...

General Teaching Council for Wales
(Wales) or eligibility to teach to the: *
General Teaching Council for Northern IrelandThe General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland is the body overseeing the qualification, registration, and good conduct of teachers in Northern Ireland. External linksOfficial site {{UK-edu-stub Category:Education in Northern Ireland Categ ...

General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland
(Northern Ireland) After gaining QTS, the candidate becomes a
newly qualified teacher#REDIRECT Newly qualified teacher {{R from other capitalisation ...

newly qualified teacher
(NQT) and embarks on an induction programme in their first post.


The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE/PGCertEd) sits at Level 7 of the
Framework for Higher Education QualificationsThe national qualification frameworks in the United Kingdom are qualifications frameworks that define and link the levels and credit values of different qualifications. The current frameworks are: * The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) for g ...

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
, while the Professional Certificate in Education (ProfGCE) sits a Level 6. The PGCE is not a postgraduate degree, it is instead an advanced but non-
qualification (as it is directly related to a career, it is considered vocational). From 2005 to 2007, most universities attached credits towards a master's degree to their PGCertEds. PGCEs that do not carry master's credits are now known as Professional Graduate Certificate in Education. A recent review of the equivalence of qualifications in Scotland declared the PGCertEd to be equivalent to a
postgraduate diploma A postgraduate diploma (PgD, PgDip, PGDip, PG Dip., PGD, Dipl. PG, PDE) is a postgraduate qualification awarded after a university degree, which supplements the original degree and awards them with a graduate diploma. Countries that award postgrad ...

postgraduate diploma
(which in turn is equivalent to the taught element of a
master's degree A master's degree (from Latin ) is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.
). This left the PGCE with a rather inappropriate name as a
postgraduate certificate A postgraduate certificate (abbreviated as PGCert, PgCert, PG Cert, PGC, or PgC is a postgraduate qualification at the level of a master's degree. Like a postgraduate diploma, it is standard practice to use 'PgCert' or 'PgC' as a post-nominal desig ...

postgraduate certificate
is a lower level than the postgraduate diploma, requiring only half the amount of work. As a result, the PGCE in Scotland were renamed to Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). The PGCE in Lifelong Learning or Post-Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) is considered to be equivalent to the
Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning SectorThe Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) was an initial teacher training qualification, studied at QCF Level 5 or 7, for teaching in Further Education (FE) and the lifelong learning sector of education in the United Kingdom. Th ...

Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
(DTLLS) at QCF Level 7. The DTLLS was also taught at QCF Level 5. According to
Education International Education International (EI) is a global union federation (GUF) of teachers' trade unions consisting of 401 member organizations in 172 countries and territories that represents over 30 million education personnel from pre-school through univers ...

Education International
, equivalency assessments place the PGCE as equivalent to a Masters Level degree in the United States and Canada. Although the program is shorter in delivery time than a typical masters level program, its intensive delivery model (specifically within Wales, offered by
University of Wales Trinity Saint David | image_name = Crest of TSD.png | image_size = 200px | caption = Coat of arms of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David | established = 2010 (Saint David's College, Lampeter founded 1822 and opened 1827; royal charter ...

University of Wales Trinity Saint David
) meets all requirements to confer this type of post-graduate degree in North America. https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/teacher-education/pgce-application-advice/


For PGCE courses in England, a fee of £9,250 will normally be charged, which can be borrowed (at interest) from
Student Finance England
Student Finance England
. In September 2012, the government introduced a new initiative with the aim of encouraging the best graduates into the teaching profession, particularly in mathematics, physics, computer science, chemistry and modern foreign languages.

Independent schools

Teachers in
independent school Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level (2015) An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they ar ...

independent school
s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are not required to hold any particular qualifications, although most schools now prefer applicants to have a PGCE, especially younger people going into teaching as a first career. This flexibility does allow them to occasionally hire older people who have practical experience, such as appointing ex-engineers as mathematics or physics teachers, or appointing people with high-level postgraduate qualifications but no formal teacher-training.

Other qualifications

The PGCE is the main postgraduate route for teacher training in England and Wales, but there are a number of other ways to gain QTS. See
Qualified Teacher Status#Routes to QTS
Qualified Teacher Status#Routes to QTS

See also

School-Centred Initial Teacher TrainingThe School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) programme is a teacher-training course in England. The SCITT enables graduates to undertake their training within a school environment, leading to Qualified Teacher Status. Some SCITT programmes al ...

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training


External links

Graduate Teacher Training RegistryDepartment of Education's website for teaching
Discover teaching in Wales
{{DEFAULTSORT:Postgraduate Certificate In Education