Postgraduate study: teacher training, social work, healthcare

Signing up for a postgraduate course can help you retrain as a teacher, social worker or follow a career in healthcare.

Teacher training

To become a fully qualified teacher in state-maintained schools in England and Wales, you need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) first. For graduates, there are two main ways to get QTS:

  • taking a postgraduate course such as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • following an employment-based route, where you train in a school and learn on the job

Postgraduate courses normally take one year full-time, or two years part-time. The employment-based route will take from three months to a year to train, depending on your level of previous experience.

Social work

The Degree in Social Work is the recognised professional qualification for social workers throughout the UK, as well as for Probation Officers and Education Welfare Officers in Northern Ireland. The Degree does not offer a Masters or Post Graduate Route in Northern Ireland.

However, Post Graduate qualifications in social work are available in England and Scotland where, if your first degree is not related to social work and you would like to retrain, you can apply for a two-year postgraduate diploma or three year Master of Science (MSc) in social work. Both of these qualifications allow you to work as a social worker

Careers in healthcare

There are areas of healthcare such as speech therapy, art therapy, music therapy and counselling, where you can study for a postgraduate diploma if your first degree is arts-related rather than healthcare related. If you want to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse and your first degree is not related to medicine, you will have to study for another undergraduate degree or diploma, taking three to six years.

There are no formal fast track schemes for graduates; however, in subjects such as nursing you may be able to get credit for having studied at graduate level and may not need to do certain access modules. To find out more about funding for careers in healthcare, see 'Finance for NHS and Social Work students'.

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