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Choosing how to study for your Diploma in Education - a how-to guide

Search online for “Diploma in Education and Training”, and you’ll be delivered a huge number of results; from online courses requiring a few hours of study per week, to in-person courses requiring many hours of face-to-face class time. This article will provide guidance on how to decide what’s the right programme for you, by looking at what the Diploma in Education and Training is, how it’s taught and what it costs.

What is the Diploma in Education and Training?

The Diploma in Education and Training is a level 5 qualification in teaching which has both theoretical and practical teaching elements. It is aimed at people wanting to teach in further education and adult education, as a way for professionals to transfer from industry into teaching. Following a regulation change in 2012, there is now legal parity between QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills), meaning it can also lead to a professional qualification to teach in school. Diploma credits can also be used towards a degree in the future (check with the degree awarding institution). The Diploma in Education and Training is approved by the Society for Education and Training as initial teacher training.

Is the Diploma in Education and Training right for me?

As a level 5 qualification, the entry requirements generally state that you hold a level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, and a level 3 qualification in the subject area you want to teach. You can find out more about qualification levels here (

For instance, you might have GCSE Maths and English at grade C, a Level 3 Certificate in Childcare, and have the goal of teaching childcare at an FE college.

Simon applied for the Diploma in Education and Training with Teacher Training UK after being made redundant. He already held a level 5 qualification in Business Management. To complete his teaching hour requirement, he secured a placement in a secondary school, and since completing the diploma, Simon gained QTLS and now teaches business at a secondary school.

What does it involve?

All diplomas in education and training have components of teaching/guided learning, self-directed study and teaching practice (a specific number of hours of which has to be observed). This means you’ll need to have time each week to dedicate to attending in person, online or by watching pre-recorded classes/reading, plus additional time to complete assignments each week, on top of your teaching practice. It’s not mandatory to have prior experience working in a school or college, but you will need to be able to secure the teaching practice by gaining employment or volunteering at a school or college. This is crucial since you’ll want to be putting what you’re learning on the course into practice! Your course provider can give you some advice around this.

How long does it take to complete?

The Diploma in Education and Training typically takes 1 to 2 years; this depends largely on the amount of time you study each week and how the course is structured. If you decide to go for QTLS after completing your diploma, this is a 6-month process, during which you will bring together your evidence of ongoing professional development and practice after initial teacher training.

How is the diploma taught?

There are a number of options for studying for the Diploma in Education and Training, and this will be one of the main factors in deciding the right programme for you. Some programmes offer a remote, flexible, online option if you want to fit your studies around your current commitments. If you’re self-motivated and happy to study outside a traditional classroom setting, this could be a good option for you.

40% to 80% of online students drop out of online classes (B. Smith, 2010). A review of existing literature indicates that online courses have several social, technological, and motivational issues existing from both the learners' and the faculty’s perspectives. Remember that the benefit of having a flexible course with no deadlines is just that … there are no deadlines, and you may find it hard to keep motivated. Success rates of in-person courses are much higher.

Other programmes are delivered in a more traditional way, in person at a specific location and at specific times of the week. If you can afford the time, an in-person teaching experience can be a more motivating environment for learning and affords more opportunities to interact with both the tutor and other students on the course.

A virtual programme follows a similar pattern to an in-person course but all contact with tutors will be online, in real-time virtual seminars and tutorials. This gives you more flexibility for being able to study from home, and, depending on the size of the class, more opportunities for real-time contact and discussion.


The benefit of an online course is that there’s more scope to offer you different speakers and tutors, which gives you a range of different perspectives and resources to draw from. Teacher Training UK’s virtual programme includes different speakers, such as Dylan Wiliam, one of the world leaders on formative assessment, Andy Griffiths, author of Teaching Backwards, Matt Bromley, author of numerous best-selling books on education, plus a wide range of internationally renowned specialist practitioners.

Other factors you should consider:

  • The level of support on offer: how much time can tutors offer you on a 1:1 basis if you need support?

  • The quality of resources available: what materials are provided during the course to support your study and research? Can the provider offer you the literature to underpin and expand your learning?

  • How the course managed: what virtual learning environment is used, and is it easy to upload work, download materials and collaborate with fellow students?

Why do courses vary in cost?

You’ll find diploma programmes vary in cost, from several hundred pounds to £10,000. This is largely due to the difference between how the courses are taught and supported. A purely online course is likely to be a lot cheaper than an in-person course which has a lot of contact hours. Cheaper online courses can often have hidden costs, such as charging you for re-assessments and for 1:1 time with course tutors. When considering an in-person course, remember to factor in the cost and time of travelling to the venue.

It’s important to weigh up your budget, the time commitments and the quality of the learning resources and experience being offered, to find the right course for you.

Teacher Training UK offers the Diploma in Education and Training taught virtually, which we believe offers the best of both online and in-person study.

We’re driven by 3 actions - to inspire, educate and motivate. Our programme is taught by some of the leading educators globally and supported through the use of world-class educational tools. Teacher Training UK students also have access to 1 million academic and non-fiction titles through Perlego, an online library of resources. We want to ensure that you are provided with the highest level of quality support during your journey as a teacher and offer comprehensive support so that you can get help and advice whenever you need it.


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