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


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

Get into Teaching explains teacher training routes to QTS for UK citizens.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) are responsible for awarding QTS. They also award QTS to qualified teachers outside England.

Schools where QTS is a legal requirement are referred to as maintained schools. Maintained schools are part of the state-funded school 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. For example:

  • 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

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

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 in Northern Ireland and 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.

You can apply for QTS.

Teachers who trained outside the UK

If you are a qualified teacher from a country outside the UK or have gained teaching experience outside the UK, read the guidance on routes to QTS for teachers who qualified outside the UK.

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 school sectors.

There are a number of routes that assess previous teaching experience.

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


Teaching Regulation Agency

Our helpdesk no longer provides support by phone but you can contact us by email instead.

Published 15 April 2014
Last updated 10 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. The service level agreement for processing applications has been removed as the related legislation no longer applies.

  2. Minor update to reflect that since February 2023 teachers who trained in Scotland or Northern Ireland have been able to us the ‘Apply for QTS in England’ service to check they meet the requirements and apply.

  3. We will aim to assess applications for QTS within 90 days.

  4. Added a link to Get into Teaching which explains teacher training routes to QTS for UK citizens.

  5. Updated page to include details of qualified teacher status for teachers trained in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  6. 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.

  7. 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'.

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

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

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

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

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

  13. New online application form available.

  14. First published.