Qualified teacher status (QTS): qualify to teach in England

Find out how to obtain qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England.

Applies to England


This guidance explains routes to QTS for teachers trained in the UK.

If you are a qualified teacher from a country outside the UK, or have gained teaching experience outside the UK, please read guidance for international applicants for QTS.

Qualified teacher status (QTS) is a legal requirement to teach in many English schools, and considered desirable for teachers in the majority of schools in England.

Schools where QTS is a legal requirement are referred to as maintained schools. Maintained schools are part of the state-funded schools system in England – funding and oversight are generally provided by the local authority.

They include:

  • community schools or voluntary controlled schools (where the local authority employs the school’s staff and is responsible for admissions)
  • foundation and voluntary-aided schools (where the school’s governing body employs the staff and is responsible for admissions)

You must also have QTS to teach in a non-maintained special school.

In some schools in England, QTS is not a legal requirement:

  • within the English state school sector, academy schools and free schools can employ teachers without QTS
  • outside the English state school sector, private schools or independent schools can employ teachers without QTS.

Learn more about teaching and training to teach in a private or independent school in England.

However, even where QTS is not a legal requirement, many schools use it to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is the competent authority in England for the teaching profession on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. They are responsible for awarding QTS. They also award QTS to qualified teachers outside England.

Teachers who trained in England

When you finish your training, your initial teacher training provider will tell us about your results. This applies to all teacher training routes and to those awarded QTS following the assessment only route. If you’re successful, we’ll award you QTS and update your teacher record. Your QTS certificate will be available online from the teacher self-service website.

Teachers who trained in Wales

If you completed your initial teacher training in Wales, you’ll be awarded QTS by the Education Workforce Council (EWC). This is recognised in England and the information is held on teacher records.

Teachers trained or recognised in Northern Ireland or Scotland

If you trained in either Northern Ireland or Scotland, you must apply for QTS if you intend to take up a teaching post in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England.

Overseas trained teachers who have gained recognition as a teacher in either Northern Ireland or Scotland can also apply for QTS in England.

You can apply for QTS.

It should take between 2 and 4 weeks to process your application.

Recognition of QTS for teachers who want to teach overseas

To find out if the country where you plan to work recognises QTS, and whether they require any further teaching qualifications, check with the organisation that regulates teachers in that country.

UK ENIC is the UK’s national information centre for professional qualifications and can give you contact details for the appropriate organisation in your chosen country.

Qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS)

If you are an experienced post-14 teacher and have QTLS status and membership of the Society for Education and Training, you may be eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England.

You can find out how to obtain QTLS and how to teach in a maintained school with QTLS.

Independent sector teachers

If you’re from the independent sector, you need QTS to teach in the maintained and non-maintained special schools sectors. There are a number of routes which assess previous teaching experience. Further details are available at Get into Teaching.


Teaching Regulation Agency


Telephone 0207 593 5394

Published 15 April 2014
Last updated 29 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated page to include details of qualified teacher status for teachers trained in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  2. Updated section 'Teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA' to clarify the evidence applicants need to submit when applying for QTS.

  3. Updated 'Overview' and sections on 'Teachers who qualified in other countries'. Combined sections on 'Teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland' and 'Teachers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or USA' and updated with new information. Added a section on 'Recognition of QTS for teachers who want to teach overseas'.

  4. Added information about the recognition of teaching qualifications from 1 January 2021.

  5. Updated with information for teachers from overseas about gaining QTS during coronavirus (COVID-19).

  6. Confirmation of the application process for QTS for teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland up to 1 January 2021.

  7. Added information for teachers recognised in the EEA or Switzerland on arrangements after Brexit.

  8. Added information for teachers who completed their initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales.

  9. New online application form available.

  10. First published.