Further education lecturer

Further education (FE) lecturers teach students over the age of 16.

What does a further education lecturer do?

FE lecturers work in a variety of learning environments, ranging from colleges and community centres to prisons and the armed forces.

The types of courses taught include:

  • academic subjects, such as maths and English – often leading to qualifications such as GCSEs and A levels
  • vocational courses that train students for careers such as catering, construction or childcare – often leading to qualifications such as City & Guilds or BTECs
  • Diplomas delivered in colleges or at partner schools
  • leisure and hobby courses, such as photography

Depending on the subject being taught, a variety of teaching methods might be used, such as seminars, tutorials and demonstrations.

Daily tasks would normally include:

  • planning and preparing lessons or seminars
  • setting and marking assignments, tests and exams
  • monitoring and assessing students’ progress
  • developing new courses and teaching materials
  • keeping records and carrying out other administrative tasks
  • going to meetings, professional development courses and workshops
  • interviewing prospective students
  • acting as personal tutor – supporting students and helping with problems
  • supervising practical work, work placements or field trips

This role may involve teaching full-time, part-time (day or evening) or day release courses.

What do I need to do to become a further education lecturer?

You will be expected to already hold a minimum of a Level 3 qualification in the subject area you wish to teach. You will also need a teaching qualification that is relevant to the level of teaching responsibility that you have in your job.

Employers are free to set their own entry requirements.

Teaching qualifications changed in September 2013 and new awards are now available. These are:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training – short introductory course (approx 10 weeks, part-time) for those just starting out in teaching or those thinking about working in further education. It covers understanding teaching roles, and different learning and assessment methods.
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training – suitable for those already teaching in a paid or voluntary post with access to a minimum of 30 hours’ teaching practice. It lasts between six and nine months and includes units on lesson planning, teaching and assessment methods, and teaching resources.
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training – lasts between one and two years and is suitable for teachers who have access to a minimum of 100 hours’ teaching practice. It includes units on developing teaching and assessment skills, theories and models of learning, and professional practice.
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training with specialist pathway – suitable for teachers wishing to teach numeracy, literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), or those who wish to work with learners with disabilities. It takes between one and two years to complete.

Colleges, universities and private training providers offering these qualifications will assess your skills and knowledge in English, maths and ICT when you apply. As a guide, you are likely to need Level 2 qualifications in these, for example GCSEs or equivalent, to apply for the Award, Certificate or Diploma.

For the Diploma with specialist pathway, you will need a minimum of a Level 3 qualification in the subject you wish to teach, for instance A level maths to teach numeracy.

Some training providers may still be offering the former teaching qualifications, which are recognised as equivalent to the newer versions above. These are:

  • Level 3 or 4 Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector (PTLLS)
  • Level 3 or 4 Certificate of Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS)
  • Level 5 Diploma of Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS)

You can contact The Education & Training Foundation (ETF) and see the talent website for more details about careers in further education, routes to qualification and to find training providers.

If you have a degree qualification, you could apply to do a postgraduate PGCE in Further Education or Post-Compulsory Education. You can search for PGCE courses on the UCAS Teacher Training website.

You may also need to have background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – formerly the Criminal Records Bureau.

You may be eligible for a training bursary if you are looking to specialise in teaching maths, English or special educational needs. Visit the GOV.UK website for more details.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Patience

Academic route

  • GCSEs or equivalent in English, maths and ICT
  • A level or equivalent in the subject you want to teach

Essential qualifications

  • A teaching qualification

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could be based in a classroom, workshop or laboratory, depending on the subject you teach. You might need to travel during your working day, for instance to accompany students on field trips or assess students in the workplace. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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