What is the Difference Between QTS & QTLS?

What is the Difference Between QTS & QTLS?

3352 views | Amna | 17-11-2021

QTS and QTLS are two licences required to teach in the UK. These two terms are often confusing for people to understand. Here you will find all the related details about the QTS and QTLS and help you choose which one of the two is the better option for you. Please note that with QTS, you can teach anywhere. However, with QTLS, you can teach adult learners only a handful of schools also accept teachers with QTLS.

We were often asked which is better QTS or QTLS; Let's discuss them both 

What does QTS mean?

Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) is a recognised licence acknowledged in the education sector for people who are serious about teaching in schools as a career. You must have an undergraduate degree in any subject of your choice before you apply for the PGCE programme. There are various ways of gaining the QTS but the most common way is through the PGCE or Bachelors in Education offered by universities.

What are the Routes to QTS?

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is offered by many universities. However, this is the lowest-paid option in the salaried routes for Teacher Training. Following are the steps once the application for PGCE is accepted:

  1. An entire year of full-time study in university (usually on-campus)
  2. If completed successfully, candidates will receive a type of PGCE certificate called the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

In order to fulfil the QTS criteria, the applicant must then look for a full-time internship on the basis of being an NQT, in any UK school. This internship has 3 terms that one has to pass to apply for a fully qualified teaching license, i.e. the QTS from the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

Other than full-time options, you can opt for the School Direct or salaried route to QTS in order to fulfil QTS criteria. In this route, you can get trained for the PGCE while ‘on the job’. Some schools provide this option for teachers to study and train at the same time. You get paid for training which can cover the cost of studying for PGCE. This is a much better way to obtain the QTS through a salaried route if this is what you are looking for.

How do I get QTS?

Do you know how much it costs to gain QTS status? Universities ask for thousands of pounds for their PGCE programmes but it does not guarantee to gain QTS because many candidates drop out midway, as they can’t complete the requirements or cost and time commitments for the programme as well as the post-course work requirements.

After completion of the academic part of PGCE in the university, the candidate must look for a school to hire them on the basis of NQT. Finding such a school requires time and research but it does not end here. About 4.5% of enrolled candidates are unable to complete the three-term internship at school. Then the NQT is not of much use for the candidate if they do not complete the requirements to get the QTS. Salaries for NQT compared to QTS teachers are significantly different so obtaining the QTS should definitely be something you focus on seriously.

What is QTLS?

QTLS stands for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skill status. QTLS is a teaching license issued to teachers who complete the teaching qualifications approved to teach or train in the Further Education (FE) or Higher Education (HE) institutions.

What is the Route to QTLS

The Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) licence is for Trainers and Teachers who teach in the sixth form or above. In 2012, the government passed a reform stating that QTLS holders can teach in institutions above and below the sixth form. This widened the opportunity for QTLS teachers in the UK and abroad. However, some schools still require a PGCE or QTS rather than the QTLS, so it’s always best to check with your employer before committing to either pathway.

QTLS works more or less like the QTS. Both of the statuses are teaching licences but QTLS holders are recognised as fully qualified teachers for the sixth form and above. Moreover, there are no internship requirements to gain QTLS unlike in PGCE. 

Which teaching course leads to QTLS?

The Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), previously known as the DTLLS course, is a 2-year programme that leads to QTLS. The requirements for the L5 DET course are as follows:

  • Candidate must be 19+ years of age
  • Access to 100 hours of teaching (students aged 16+) of which 8 hours must be observed and assessed

Advantages of QTLS through L5 DET / DTLLS

The L5 DET / DTLLS is the cheapest and fastest route to gain the QTLS. You do not require an internship/apprenticeship for this qualification. You can complete it entirely online, self-paced with 1:1 tutor support while staying on the job. Once you complete the L5 DET qualification, you have to apply for the QTLS through the Society of Education and Training (SET) which takes approximately  6 months of professional formation. For professional progress, you must keep updating your skills through continuous professional development (CPD).

In conclusion, you should get a QTS if you want to teach in the sixth form or below. It would require you to first get an undergraduate degree before you can apply to any programme that awards the QTS status. On the other hand, you can apply for the QTLS if you want to widen your scope and teach adults. To apply for any QTLS course, you do not need a degree which makes the whole process a lot cheaper than the QTS programme.


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