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What A-levels do you need to become a teacher?

Got your sights set on becoming a teacher? If you want to study a teacher training course at university, make sure your A-level line-up ticks admissions tutors' boxes...

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There are two main paths into teaching:
  • take a teacher training undergraduate course at uni
  • study a different subject at uni and then take the postgraduate route into teaching (via a PGCE qualification)

Teaching training undergraduate courses are often called 'primary education courses'. They include something called QTS, which stands for 'Qualified Teaching Status', and essentially means the qualification will allow you to go straight into teaching (to become a primary or secondary school teacher).

The A-levels listed below refer to those you need for a primary education course.

You should also decide whether or not there is a subject you want to specialise in. It will be useful to have this as one of your A-level choices. Get more tips for picking the right A-level subjects with our six-step guide.

What A-levels are essential to getting on a teacher training degree?

You’ll need at least one of the curriculum subjects below. Curriculum subjects are subjects that are taught as part of the UK National Curriculum. Some unis might ask for two of these at A level. If you’re unsure, you can check the entry requirements for your uni course search and take a look now:
  • art
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • design and technology
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • history
  • IT
  • Italian
  • maths
  • music
  • physics
  • physical education
  • religious studies (theology)
  • Spanish

Other A-level subjects popular with students on a teaching course are:
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • sports science

You should also note that for primary teaching you must have GCSE maths, English and science, all at grade C (or 4/5 under the new grading system) or above.

This is a government requirement for all teaching courses. For secondary teaching, you may be able to get away with not having this for science.

Take a look at individual teacher training courses on The Uni Guide you should always have a look at entry requirements when deciding where to apply, but you can also see the most popular subjects students studied before taking a teacher training degree.


What are the entry requirements to get onto a primary education course?

Below are a few examples of primary education courses offered by different universities and the A-level entry requirements they ask for in the September 2024 intake (as of 26 April 2024).

You should always check the entry requirements yourself before you apply, but this will give you a rough idea of what to expect. Bear in mind that many universities will make contextual offers for students who meet the eligibility criteria. These offers may have grade requirements close to or slightly below the typical offer.

University of Sussex – Primary and Early Years Education (with Qualified Teacher Status): "B,B,B
You must also have GCSE (or equivalent) in English, Mathematics and Science with at least grade 4 in each (or grade C). If you have taken Combined Science GCSE, you must have a score of 4,4 or better."

Bath Spa University – Education: Primary and Early Years: "Grades BBB-BCC preferred."

Liverpool Hope University Primary Education with QTS BA (Hons): "B,B,C"

Search for degree courses and narrow your search down by your predicted grades or Ucas points.


What other subjects are similar to taking a teacher training degree?

Not quite sure whether teaching is for you, but interested in the educational sector, or learning early behaviour? You could try: 
These similar subjects may have different A-level requirements to teaching, so if you want to keep your degree options open, be sure to check before you finalise your choices.

What can you study at university with your A-levels? See what similar students went on to do, with our A-level Explorer...

What about teaching assistants?

You don’t have to have a degree to be a teaching assistant. You will need basic literacy and numeracy skills, and experience of working with children, though.

Where could your A-levels take you?

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