Seven things you don't know about becoming a teacher

Applying for teacher training is not like applying for a job. Let us show you the way and reduce the hassle. Career Change Specialist Rachael explains.

5 mins

3/19/2024 12:20:20 PM
Website Blog Seven Things Mar 2024

Starting out on your journey to become a secondary school teacher is exciting, but often people don’t realise quite how many steps are involved. So let me explain.

If you were a traveller planning that next big adventure, you would carefully organise your route, prepare the necessary supplies and map out your destinations. And you’d probably buy a guidebook first.

Now Teach’s first role is to be the Lonely Planet guide to Teaching.

Applying for teacher training is not too dissimilar, in which case Now Teach’s first role is to be the Lonely Planet guide to Teaching, filled with insight, expertise and questions that will ensure you change career with confidence.

It’s often a surprise to people that it can take between two and four months get everything done. But it does!

We want to avoid the situation where you turn up at Career Change Junction in May to find that you’ve missed all the connections to Teaching Central – and the next ones don’t leave until next year...

So let’s explore the seven crucial tasks to complete before you can embark on the world of teacher training – and how long each of them can take to complete.

Don’t forget, you’ll be making confident decisions at every stage because your Career Change Specialist will be there to offer expert insight, coaching and mentoring.

It can take between two and four months to get everything done to become a teacher.

1. Choose your subject - up to four weeks

It’s crucial to decide on a subject that you’re passionate about because it will shape your teaching career.

You also need to consider your qualifications, experience, interests and the impact you want to make through your teaching career.

You need either an undergraduate honours degree in your chosen subject or an A level at B or above.

Extensive career experience can also considered.

It’s hard to put a timeline on this part because it’s very personal. You may have decided already. For those weighing up different subjects, we recommend visiting a school to see your potential subjects in action. This can take about four weeks to organise.


2. Get your qualifications ready - up to eight weeks

Ensuring you have all your academic qualifications, certificates and transcripts is massively important. It’s the evidence that shows you have the academic knowledge to teach. So if you don't where they are, get cracking!

Every trainee needs maths and English GCSE at C or above. You can take an ‘equivalency test’ if your grades are below this.

If you need to do an equivalency test, you’ll need time to revise and make a booking. If you book around Easter, you can normally get one within one month. If you leave it later to book, it may be longer.

If you have international qualifications these will require an equivalency certificate from ENIC ( This can take up to 8 weeks and they are especially busy in the summer.

If you don't where your qualifications are, get cracking!

3. Write your personal statement - up to two weeks

Your personal statement is a window into who you are, your passion for teaching, and the relevant experiences and qualities that make you an ideal trainee.

Give yourself time to craft a statement that really allows your enthusiasm for education to shine through – we’ll be there to provide guidance and feedback.

This normally takes about two weeks from first to final draft.


4. Choose your four training providers - up to four weeks

With the personal statement done, it’s time to apply - and you put four choices.

If you know which school you’ll likely train in, book a visit. The right ‘school fit’ is key to having a positive training year.

It is vital to choose a course that aligns with your goals and values. Also consider location, programme structure and trainees support. We’ll help you here by pointing out what to look for.

Researching early gives you time to visit schools where your prospective providers work to find the courses that resonate with you. And if you know which school you’ll likely train in, it’s important to book a visit too. The right ‘school fit’ is key to having a positive training year.

It normally takes Now Teachers two weeks to choose their four courses, depending on how long they’ve been thinking about retraining.

If you want to visit schools, they will normally be open to it but you’d probably have to wait a few weeks for it to happen, increasing the time. Also bear in mind school holidays.


5. Attend interviews - up to one week

You will then wait to hear if you’re invited to interview. Training providers have 40 days to give you an outcome.

These interviews are likely to be very different to interviews you’ve done before, so preparation is key. We’re here to support and you can book a 1:1 session with your career change specialist to understand each element.

Interview timelines can vary. You’ll normally get about one week’s notice before an interview, and you’d normally hear back within two weeks.

To consider: If you're not invited to any interviews, you can re-apply to four more courses, but these will start to fill up as the academic year progresses. Applying early gives you more options.

You can book a 1:1 session with us to understand each element of the interview.

6. Get interview results and accept an offer - up to two weeks

After attending interviews, it’s important to carefully evaluate feedback and your impressions from the interview.

If you are deciding between offers, take time to wait for your other applications, which could be a few weeks, and choose the one that aligns best with your aspirations and values. It’s vital to consider the support and resources that will enhance your learning.

To consider: If you chose to decline the offer, do you have other live offers and have you allowed enough time to re apply for other options? Doing the entire process again will take up to 40 days.


7. Complete an SKE (if needed) - eight to 20 weeks

Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses are designed to bridge any gaps in your subject knowledge, prior to starting in September. 

They can be compulsory for some offers, so you need enough time: they can last between eight and 20 weeks.

Now Teachers generally say they find SKEs helpful and interesting because they offer a chance to reconnect with their subject.


And relax... for the ride of your life

Congratulations! With all that done you can breathe a sigh of relief. The plane has taken off and you can put your passport and boarding pass back in your bag.

You’ll meet your Now Teach Programme Manager and your fellow Now Teachers as you join our Network and begin preparations for day one of training!

And unlike that travel rep who just wants to flog you over-priced outings to tourist traps, we’re here for the long-term. We'll help you apply for training and we're here to help you thrive in your new career for the long term.

You’ll meet your Now Teach Programme Manager and your fellow Now Teachers as you join our Network.

The earlier you start this journey, the less stressful it will be as you prepare for a new career, a new academic year and the significant changes it will mean for you.

So talk to us. Change starts today.

Register to talk to a Career Change Consultant.