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What is a PGCE? Guide to levels, funding, and more

Discover what a PGCE is, its meaning, duration, and how to pursue it with this in-depth PGCE guide.

Teacher talking to student

Welcome to FutureLearn’s comprehensive guide to PGCEs! Whether you’re considering a career change or looking to enhance your teaching qualifications, understanding what a PGCE entails is the first step towards achieving your goals. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the meaning of a PGCE, its duration, levels, and online opportunities, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is a PGCE?

A PGCE, which stands for Postgraduate Certificate in Education, is a professional qualification that prepares individuals for a career in teaching. It combines academic study with practical teaching experience to equip aspiring educators with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the classroom. 

What does a PGCE involve? Let’s unpack the essentials

At its core, a PGCE is a postgraduate-level qualification focused on education and pedagogy. It’s designed to provide individuals with the necessary expertise to become effective educators and make a positive impact on students’ lives. 

Beyond academic study, hands-on classroom experience is a key part of PGCE training. That makes PGCE candidates highly employable. Statistically, PGCE graduates are more likely to secure employment in teaching than candidates with a first degree in education or a teaching-related subject. 

How long is a PGCE? Let’s look at duration

A full-time PGCE programme typically lasts one academic year, while part-time options may span two years. However, the exact duration can vary based on the specific requirements of the course and institution. 

People can be any age when they enrol on a PGCE, and do so for a host of different reasons. So if you’re thinking about taking the leap, it’s important to start by reflecting on your goals and motivations. It’s equally important to set up your course of study and timeframe to reflect your life, commitments and requirements. The flexible options available at FutureLearn mean the choice is yours! 

What level is a PGCE? Let’s take a look at your qualifications

PGCE programmes are available at various levels, catering to individuals with different educational backgrounds and career aspirations. Here are some of the most common levels found among candidates:

  • Postgraduate level: this refers to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject.
  • Professional level: this is geared towards individuals seeking to enhance their teaching skills and qualifications.
  • Specialised level: this is targeted at individuals interested in teaching specific subjects or age groups.

If you’re interested in exploring teaching-related degree programmes, browse all FutureLearn online degrees, and specifically our online teaching degrees.

Online Degree

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE): PGCE with QTS (Salaried)

  • 1-2 years
  • postgraduate
  • Flexible Learning
Apply now

Types of PGCE: let’s explore your options

FutureLearn offers a range of PGCE options to suit a wide variety of learner needs, in partnership with over 260 globally recognised learning partners, including UCL, Deakin University and Accenture. Here are the main routes available:

  • Online degrees: fully accredited programmes from chartered institutions offer in-depth learning experiences and a registered qualification.
  • Microcredentials: professional qualifications, some with accreditation, completed in 10-12 weeks at a lower cost than online degrees
  • ExpertTracks: a bundled series of short courses for comprehensive learning in one programme.
  • Short courses: a series of accessible programmes available to “Unlimited” subscribers, completed in a matter of weeks, with certificates on completion.

How to get a PGCE: steer your way to success

Embarking on a PGCE journey requires careful planning and preparation. Here’s a step-by-step guide and handy checklist to help get you started:

  • Research: Explore different PGCE programmes and institutions to find the right fit for your goals and aspirations.
  • Application: Submit your application through the respective institution’s website or admissions portal, ensuring that you meet all requirements and deadlines.
  • Study: Engage in academic study and practical teaching experience as part of your PGCE programme, immersing yourself in the world of education and pedagogy.
  • Assessment: Complete assessments and assignments to demonstrate your understanding and skills, applying theoretical knowledge to real-world teaching scenarios.
  • Certification: Upon successful completion, receive your PGCE certification, marking the culmination of your journey and the beginning of your career as an educator.

Can you do a PGCE online? Let’s explore virtual opportunities

Yes, you can do a PGCE virtually and there are many reasons to consider this option! Online PGCE programmes offer flexibility and accessibility, allowing you to study from anywhere at your own pace. FutureLearn’s online PGCE options provide a seamless learning experience, combining interactive content with expert guidance to support your professional development as an educator.

Final thoughts as you embark on your PGCE journey

As you embark on your PGCE journey, remember that you’re investing in your future as an educator. Whether you choose to pursue a traditional or an online PGCE programme, the knowledge and skills you gain will empower you to make a difference in the lives of your students. You’ll be working to shape the future of the next generation.

With FutureLearn’s diverse range of PGCE options, you can kickstart your journey with confidence and conviction. Check out our online PGCE degrees to start your PGCE adventure today and take the first step towards realising your teaching aspirations!

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