How to get into teaching

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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