How to get into teaching

Published: 26 Aug 2017

Teaching is consistently rated one of the most satisfying jobs in the market. Yet, owing to increased demand for technical and digital skills, Scotland is experiencing a shortage of teachers in Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Teachers have long been the bedrock of Scotland’s world-class education system. At the start of the 2016-17 academic year, there were 200 vacant Stem teacher roles, and ensuring these roles are filled with quality candidates is a priority for the Scottish Government, which pledged more than £1million to encourage students, graduates and those seeking a new career to move into teaching.

While the enviable few know exactly what they want to do from a young age many choose a route because they feel compelled to choose something, which they later regret. This is true of many individuals, currently dissatisfied with their career choice and deliberating their options – perhaps to something more rewarding. Many of these people are suited to teaching and lots have already returned to university to complete their one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) course to allow them a refreshing change in a relatively short space of time.

To qualify for the PGDE course and set you on the road to teaching, you’ll need two things: an undergraduate degree in your chosen subject area, and a genuine passion to share your knowledge and inspire Scotland’s young minds.


Teacher training includes organised placements in various schools and leads to a paid teaching probation year which, upon completion, will enable you to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and apply for a permanent teaching post.

The probationary year is paid at £22,416, but once fully registered, salaries start at £26,895 and rise annually over the first five years to £35,763. Additional money may also be offered for relocation and other expenses.

For most, a year unpaid while they complete a PGDE is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed. Dundee University now offers an accelerate route which combines post-graduate education with the probation year focusing on Stem graduates, meaning candidates qualify for the probationary salary. The University of Aberdeen also offers the PGDE.

A common misconception can be that there is little career progression for teachers, but promotion prospects are good for talented teachers and head teachers in Scotland can earn up to £86,319. Scottish teachers also qualify for generous pension packages.

For more information on university courses and insight from real teachers, visit

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