What to be a psychology teacher? Here are the ways you can do so:

  • Study for a PGCE
  • School Direct route
  • SKE courses

If you tell someone you’re training to be a psychology teacher, they generally assume it means you are studying and analysing people. Whilst this is certainly true, psychology is far broader and in depth, covering many different and interesting specialisms – sports psychology, neuropsychology, clinical psychology and educational psychology to name but a few.

How to become a psychology teacher in the UK.

Training to be a psychology teacher is most definitely not a soft option and gaining a degree can be challenging. However, this interesting and diverse subject can lead to many roles such as teaching psychology at A-Level at a Sixth Form College or becoming a further education teacher.

How do I start training?

You’ll need a degree now to teach psychology in the UK and to have qualified teacher status (QTS). Some undergraduate degrees will allow you to gain QTS straight away. However, for most students, a postgraduate entry route is the usual method.


Many teachers will have studied their chosen subject at degree level and then gone on to take the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). A BSc in psychology normally lasts three years though some universities will give you the chance to include other specialisms such as educational psychology or a language. 

It isn’t compulsory that you have a psychology degree, your degree could be in another subject, but you could then take a PGCE with psychology or social science. Many universities now offer the option of doing a PGCE specifically with psychology but you’ll need to check with individual institutions what their options are.

A PGCE normally lasts one year full-time or two years part-time and you can apply through UCAS to undertake teacher training. PGCE fees are currently around £9,000 for the year though you will have living expenses on top to consider. However, it is worth looking at funding options as you may be eligible for a grant, loan or bursary.

School Direct 

Another route to becoming a psychology teacher is to work within a school. School-led courses normally last a year, are the equivalent of a postgraduate qualification, and give you some masters credits. They also offer you a hands-on approach and lead to QTS. In addition, you are highly likely to continue working in one of the schools you train in once you are qualified.

The School Direct programmes are run by a school or group of schools with close links to a university or School Centred Initial Teacher Training Consortium (SCITT) and are unpaid though your tuition fees may be covered. However, there are plenty of funding options available, depending on your degree and subject. 

If you have a degree in any subject and have more than three years of work experience you may be eligible for a School Direct (Salaried) Programme. Schools recruit you directly as a trainee and salaries vary greatly. 

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

This is very similar to the School Direct Training. You will spend at least 120 days in a school working towards QTS. Training programmes are often tailored to teaching in the local area and you will be taught by experienced, practising teachers. It may also allow you to qualify for a PGCE alongside your QTS.

Career changers.

If you’re already working but want to change careers and retrain as a psychology teacher, then there is lots of help available. You could be eligible for bursaries or scholarships, making this a more viable option financially. You may also be able to join the School Direct (Salaried) Programme.

I’m already a trained teacher, how do I start in psychology?

If you have already trained as a teacher, are fully qualified, and have ample experience in teaching then there are other routes to becoming a psychology teacher. If you are changing subjects, or want to teach psychology as a secondary subject as well as your main subject then you could look into subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses.

These courses are generally fully funded and help to enhance your knowledge in subjects you have not studied in full previously. They are perfect for people who:

  • Have a degree closely related to but not in the subject they want to teach 
  • Studied the subject at A Level but not University
  • Have relevant teaching experience

The courses are designed to show how you can apply existing knowledge of the subject to the current national curriculum. You will also learn more about psychology, and how to apply this new knowledge to the curriculum to get the most out of your new found experience.