Education offers a variety of job roles, from working with preschool children and those with special needs to supporting pupils outside the normal curriculum!
Choosing a career in education isn’t as simple as just deciding to become a teacher. There are lots of paths you can take, and which one you pick will depend on many factors, from your interests to your personal circumstances. Here are the main options open to you.
Early years teacher
Working in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) means supporting children between the ages of three and five in nursery, preschool and school reception classes (in the latter, when led by a qualified teacher).
Your focus is to develop the social and communication skills of your pupils, introducing the basics of reading and writing, as well as developing life skills, including going to the toilet. You need to be patient and kind to inspire children who are just starting on their educational journey. The typical starting salary is between £18,000 and £22,000.
Primary school teacher
As a primary teacher, you’ll teach a diverse curriculum that touches on a wide range of subjects, from maths and science to literacy, history, performing arts, physical education and beyond. This gives you the opportunity – and responsibility – to make a big impact on pupils’ lives and ensure they progress into secondary education with the confidence and enthusiasm they’ll need to succeed. You can train to qualify as a specialist, with a focus on certain subjects. The starting salary in England and Wales is between £22,917 and £33,824 (£28,660 and £39,006 in inner London).
Secondary school teacher
Working with children aged between 11 and 16, your main role is to deliver lessons in line with national objectives as well as support, observe and record the progress of your class.
Working hours are long and often include extra hours for parents’ evenings and breakfast and after-school clubs. But, of course, there is the benefit of the long holidays (of around 12 weeks or more) throughout the year.
The starting salary in England and Wales is between £22,917 and £33,824 (or £28,660 and £39,006 for those in inner London).
English language teacher
Helping students learn and improve their English is the role of EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers. If you enjoy meeting people from different countries and teaching English from the ground up, this role might appeal.
You’ll need an excellent standard of English and some employers will want a degree, preferably in English, linguistics, languages or education studies. To work overseas, a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification will improve your chances of getting work. Salaries start at around £13,000, rising to £27,000.
Your role (which may be called a classroom or learning support assistant) is to support the teacher in the classroom, with duties including setting up activities, helping students with reading, and managing classroom behaviour. Full-time TAs can work up to 40 hours a week.
You’ll need GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths and English, as well as experience of working with children. Salaries start at £11,500 to £14,000, rising to £23,000 with experience.
Helping children or young people deal with problems that may be causing them to fall behind in their learning is the main role of an educational psychologist. Working alongside parents, teachers, social workers, doctors and others involved in the child’s education, you’ll conduct observations, interviews and assessments. You may recommend learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers or parents.
You’ll need a British Psychological Society-accredited undergraduate psychology degree. Trainees can earn from £22,503 to £30,737, while fully qualified practitioners start at £35,027.
Technicians work in schools, colleges and universities. They support science, design and technology, art and information technology (IT) teachers by preparing equipment and materials, and helping in practical lessons, such as conducting experiments in chemistry lessons.
A good standard of general education – for example, GCSEs – is needed for this role. Some employers may ask for higher qualifications such as A-levels. One possible route into this work is through an apprenticeship.
Salaries start at £15,000, rising to £28,500 with experience.
Special educational needs teacher
Working with pupils with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, emotional or behavioural problems, as well as those with dyslexia or sensory impairments, a special educational needs – or SEN – teacher offers support and a safe learning environment and identifies individual needs. Roles are available in mainstream, private and special needs schools.
To become a SEN teacher in England and Wales you’ll need qualified teacher status. Previous teaching experience may also be useful and qualified teachers can undertake additional training to teach pupils with special needs.
The starting salary is £24,500 rising to £35,000, which includes an allowance (ranging from £2,085 to £4,116) for the responsibility of looking after children with SEN.