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5 Great Reasons to do a PGCE

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PGCE It is hardly surprising that every student considers teaching at least once in the course of their studies. Everyone has been exposed to teaching at some point in their life, be it when they were young, or for some students, their whole lives to date. For many, teaching may seem an easy option, a comfortable alternative to difficult, oversubscribed sectors. As the PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education) demonstrates, however, teaching is an incredibly demanding and stimulating career choice, with varying routes in and many opportunities for career growth.

There are many reasons why the PGCE could be the perfect choice for you:

#1 Provides great preparation for your future career

Compared to some other routes into teaching, such as the government scheme School Direct and the independent Teach First programme, the PGCE is relatively tame in terms of its expectations. You are not expected to perform miracles. The one year full-time course (although it can be taken as a two-year part time course) is unevenly divided between the classroom and the lecture theatre – by the end of the year, your time will be very much classroom-focused, with your spot in a local primary or secondary school feeling pretty much like a full time job (unfortunately without the payment part at this stage).

#2 You’ll be well respected and employable

Not only is teaching a fun and communicative career, it also has great employability. A well-established and well-respected qualification, most institutions won’t take you seriously without it. Its intention is clear – you are learning how to be a better teacher and are given the space and preparation time for this development to happen. Every student enters the course ab initio (from the beginning), and no student will leave the course a perfect teacher. The course is the beginning of a journey – teaching takes you places and has great flexibility in terms of other commitments, such as family plans which can have a habit of interrupting your career!

#3 It’s not as expensive as you might think

As a PGCE is a government funded course, there are some great opportunities to save money on the qualification. For some lucky students with undergraduate degrees in subjects as diverse as Physics and Modern Languages, the so-called ‘shortage subjects’, there is much more funding available. With these more desirable subjects, students can receive grants to cover the entirety of their tuition fees and to cover all living costs. Although it’s not quite as jammy for other students, they ought not to be deterred – there are some generous grants for the course and, unlike most MA programmes, students can still apply for loans to cover the tuition and maintenance fees.

#4 It’s a qualification for life – anytime and anywhere you go

An exciting development recently is that, in many universities, the PGCE course counts for the equivalent of half an MEd. The second half of the qualification can then be completed part-time over the following year, costing half the price and with the opportunity to work in teaching until the course is finished. With a PGCE and an MEd under your belt, you’ll be unstoppable!

With recognisable qualifications on your CV and after your surname, you’ll be able to travel all over the globe. After years of studying and after your stint as a postgraduate student, it might be high time you travelled the world. The qualification is very well recognised by International Schools in Africa and Asia and it can always take you to other English-speaking countries like Canada and Australia.

#5 A PGCE is not a walk in the park – but it's totally worth it!

If you’re stuck for ideas, the PGCE course might be the perfect way to determine if teaching is the right course for you. It is compulsory to partake in at least some work experience in either a primary or secondary school before starting the course because it must be clear that your heart is in teaching. Those who teach most definitely do – they go on to do amazing things and change lives, but there’s a lot of hard work involved too. Read our PGCE student diary for a greater insight into what you can expect from being a PGCE student.

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