What is Postgraduate Certificate in Education?

What is Postgraduate Certificate in Education?

2491 views | Amna | 12-01-2022

PGCE is an acronym for Postgraduate Certificate in Education. The PGCE enables you to be a professional teacher and is useful for individuals looking to get into training. It is a worldwide recognised qualification which you can easily get in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It is equivalent to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland.

What are the different types of Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)?

PGCE course has 3 main types which are as follows:

  1. PGCE Primary – The Primary PGCE is the most competitive compared to other 2 types. In the primary PGCE, you will learn how to teach young learners aged 3–11. You can also specialise in a specific age group of children but commonly, it’s for teachers who want to teach children under 12 years of age. This will help you gain the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  2. PGCE Secondary – This Secondary PGCE course enables you to teach, as the name suggests, in secondary education or sixth-form (ages 11-16) in the subject of your specialism. It is usually required for you to have a degree in a subject before you begin the PGCE so as you go into Secondary School teaching then you will become a teacher for that particular subject. This can lead to the achievement of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
  3. PGCE Further Education or Post-16 PGCE – The PGCE FE is mostly for individuals looking to teach in colleges, further education (FE) or higher education (HE) institutes (i.e. ages 16 and further). The PGCE FE in particular does not qualify you to teach in schools. Instead, the Society for Education and Training (SET) awards you with Qualified Training Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. QTLS allows you to teach in almost any FE or HE institutions only. A cheaper way of getting the QTLS would be to do the preferred QTLS course.

How long does it take to complete a PGCE course?

The PGCE course is a combination of university study and practical teaching and can take up to 2 years to complete (if done full time). It is a requirement to have an undergraduate degree in a subject that you plan to teach in the future. 

In case you want to change the subject and don’t want to teach the subject of your undergrad degree, you can opt for a conversion course that will add up to 6 months to the PGCE completion time.

PGCE vs DET, a comprehensive comparison.

What is taught in the PGCE teacher training?

In the PGCE courses, you will be taught everything about teaching and learning theories, behavioural management, legislations around education and education-related issues. You will be assessed on theoretical topics taught during the academic year as well as your ability to apply these skills during your placement or internship.

After completing the theoretical study at university, you will be given the status of Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). This is not equivalent to the QTS or the QTLS. 

You must then find a placement at a local school that agrees to hire you on NQT status. You will have to complete an entire academic year or a three-term internship (full time) after which you will be awarded the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

Do I meet the requirements to enrol onto the PGCE?

The entry requirements for the PGCE, generally at the time of writing, are as follows:

  1. An undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification in a particular discipline
  2. GCSE grade C above in England and Maths or a level 4 equivalent qualification in the subject.
  3. GCSE grade C or level 4 equivalent science subject if you plan to teach PGCE Primary.
  4. Pass a QTS skills test of numeracy and literacy

Other soft skills and values that are handy for studying the PGCE teaching course are as follows:

  • Communication skills
  • Dedication
  • Consistency
  • Love of teaching
  • Conflict resolution

These requirements may vary depending on the training provider you choose so we suggest that you contact the admission department of the institution before applying.

Is the PGCE recognised outside of the UK?

The PGCE course is a recognised qualification if you want to teach internationally. PGCE leads to QTS which is the only requirement to become a teacher in the UK. PGCE as a whole will help you get employed in a domestic or an international school.

How much does a PGCE course cost?

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education course can range from £9250 - £16,000 for a UK student. For international students, the range is even higher.


Home Student

International Student

Course Duration

Status after Completion


£9250 - £16,000 per year

£20,000+ per year


2 years after undergraduate degree



£9250 - £16,000 per year

£20,000+ per year (full-time)

2 years after undergraduate degree



£1,450 for 2 years

£1,450 for 2 years

2 years after any NVQ, RQF qualification


Out of all 3 qualifications displayed in the table, it is evident that DET / DTLLS is the most economical qualification to get the QTLS status. Some schools in the UK accept teachers with QTLS to teach. However, your chances of getting hired in the FE or HE institution is higher with the QTLS status

Thrilling news! Join the Society for Education and Training for FREE as you pursue your Initial Teacher Education qualification! Apply and enjoy the incredible benefits if you are a Level 3 to 5 student from accredited Initial Teacher Education (ITE) institution! You can enjoy this perk by enrolling in our Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training.

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