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How to Start a Career in Further Education

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 3 min

Getting a job in further education typically means that you will be teaching people who are aged 16 or over including mature students, considered as adult learners. You can teach vocational subjects, academic subjects usually up to A-level or basic skills such numeracy and literacy.

In addition to these three categories, you may also be able to teach more recreational subjects which students might do as hobbies in the evening such as cake decorating or drawing.

While work will typically be done in a college classroom you might get opportunities to work in more unusual spaces such as prisons, community education centres or visit different workplaces to teach work-based learning.

Job Basics

What you are expected to do will largely depend on where you are based and what subject(s) you will teach. However, some things that will be common to all subjects include:
-give lectures/teach classes
-conduct smaller tutorials which will usually include more in depth learning of a particular skill
-set assignments, mark these and give feedback
-arrange additional support for students who may require it
-prepare lesson plans
-recruit and interview new students
-teach day classes and or evening classes
-general administrative work

What Qualities Should You Have?

You will be/have:
-excellent communication skills
-a good knowledge of the subject(s) you intend to teach
-enthusiastic and passionate in order to engage your students
-patient and encouraging

How do You Become Qualified?

Some further education institutions do not require you to have any particular qualifications, however you will need to demonstrate your capacity to teach the subject. Most institutions will require you to have a good qualification in the relevant subject or be prepared to work towards a teaching qualification if you do not already have one. These may include a ‘Level 3 award in education and training’, ‘Level 4 certificate in education and training’ and ‘Level 4 diploma in education and training’. To increase your chances of getting a job in further education you should try to gain these qualification(s) or at least demonstrate knowledge of them and show that you are happy to work towards them.

If you already have a degree in an academic subject that you want to teach, you might consider doing a PGCE which incorporates Level 4 and some extra units. It is the preferred education qualification in the UK and so having one will significantly increase your chances of being able to teach in further education and even higher education.


You will be rewarded for the additional qualifications you gain as the salary will increase significantly with each level of qualification.

An untrained teacher in further education can expect to earn £19,500- £22,500 whereas a qualified teacher can earn £24,000-£36,000. For more advanced teaching and into senior management roles you can earn from £40,000 to even £90,000 for the roles with greater management responsibility.

A career in further education is hugely emotionally rewarding and with hard work and commitment can also be financially rewarding too.

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