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Diploma in Teaching vs Degree in Teaching


This article aims to point out the differences between diploma in teaching and degree in teaching in terms of requirements, benefits, factors, and the job expectations.

Diploma in Teaching vs Degree in Teaching

Gone are those days when anyone can just be a teacher. To become a teacher an educational background in teaching is now required, even those who have a degree in a particular discipline are required to do a diploma in education before they can teach such a subject. You may as well from the onset study education for your degree. There are major differences between a diploma and a degree, this articles, therefore, exposes these differences for clearer understanding for anyone who may be interested in pursuing an education relation course.

Teaching job is becoming more respectable day by day and sooner this career will receive the prestige it deserves. Teaching as a profession comes with a lot of challenges that only teacher can fully understand but the profound joy of making differences in the life of future generation suppresses this feeling.

Worthy of note, teaching is gradually going beyond the conventional teaching approach, it is required for anyone going into teaching in this century to be well abreast with digital learning as it is one of the major prerequisites in this 21st- century to land a dream teaching gig.

Diploma in Teaching vs. Degree in Teaching

What is the difference between a diploma and a degree?

Just as these two do not spell the same, so are their differences. These are two distinct qualifications that take different time to complete and different level of study. To make an informed decision about which to choose, knowing their peculiarities and perks are needed.

Diploma in teaching

This evolves from the extensive knowledge of a bachelor’s degree to equip students to teach in primary and secondary schools with the exception of the United Kingdom where Qualified Teacher Status is the acknowledged professional qualification for those that want to teach in (state) controlled primary and secondary schools. Notwithstanding, in the UK holders of the Cert Ed, awarded after completing a three-year teacher training course, could use the diploma as a route to degree equivalence, and if passed at the appropriate level progress to a master’s degree in education. Diploma in education does not bestow the holder a registration status rather a pathway to being registered as a teacher. It is a worthy experience needed to become a qualified teacher, students are taught the theory, mandated to tale professional practicum before graduation. There is an alternative for those who already have a bachelor degree in another course of study e.g Bachelor f science and wish to specialize in that area instead of going for a postgraduate in education. Depending on the school, they will be required to study education for two or three years and be conferred a Bachelor of education alongside their former certificate.

Another differentiating quality of DipEd is the degree-awarding institution, it is normally conferred by a technical or vocational school.

Postgraduate Diploma in Education

A Postgraduate Diploma in Education is a wholly separate qualification to the Scottish Professional Graduate Diploma in Education, even though both are referred to as a PGDE, somewhat confusingly. The Graduate Diploma in Education is a one-year teacher preparation program for students who already hold a tertiary degree.

The PGCE was earlier offered in Scotland but was renamed the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from 2005 to 2006. It is identical in content to the previous PGCE. Like the PGCE, the PGDE has widely recognised throughout the rest of the United Kingdom and the rest of the world

The main disparity between a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a PGCE is the fact that the Postgraduate Diploma in Education enables you to gain 120 CATS credits – twice as many as a PGCE. This means that if you want to convert your PGDE into a 180-credit Masters, you have fewer added credits to complete than if you’d done a 60-credit PGCE.

Simply put, a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is effectively the Scottish equivalent of the PGCE. However, there is also a qualification called the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These are worth 120 CATS credits, rather than 60.

A Postgraduate Diploma in Education is an exemplary alternative if you intend on setting your credits towards a Masters qualification. Most PGDEs take one year of full-time study to complete – the same as a PGCE – but with the additional CATS credits you’ll be earning, you can expect to spend a bigger proportion of your time on academic rather than teaching work.

In Australia, the Graduate Diploma in Education, typically a 1-year programme, was gradually phased out in favour of a 2-year Master of Teaching course

Benefits of pursuing a Diploma include

  • Relatively short time to complete
  • Lower costs of studies compared to a degree programme
  • Flexible class schedules
  • Focus on essential skills required in the field
  • Practical knowledge
  • Hands-on practical experience due to some kind of internships. This provides a network for future job opportunities.

Degree in teaching

A degree in teaching is conferred by colleges and universities to students who finish higher learning. The certificate issued after the completion of the degree is called the Degree certificate. These can be either graduate degrees or post-graduate degrees.

Types of Teaching Degree Programmes

There are various levels of degrees you can earn, including:

  • B.Ed (Bachelor Degree in Education
  • Associate Degree
  • M.Ed (Masters Degree in Education)
  • Doctorate in Education

What are Degree Requirements?

Degree Requirements are designated by an institution for completion of a programme of study. Requirements may include a minimum number of hours, required GPA, prerequisite and elective courses within the specified major and/or minor areas of study.

Bachelor Degree

A student generally must complete at least 120-semester units or credits to earn a Bachelor of Education

Undergraduate students may desire to complete the requirements for more than one major i.e., graduate with a double major (Mathematics and Physics). Double major usually require more credits.

A degree can be earned at various levels such as bachelor’s (four years); master’s (two years beyond a bachelor’s degree); and doctoral (three years or more beyond master’s degree).

You can achieve a degree in teaching in two ways:

  • Take a full undergraduate course in teaching
  • You need to have completed an undergraduate degree in order to apply towards a postgraduate degree in teaching.

 Master’s in Education

All master’s degrees require the completion of a bachelor’s degree and usually require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Many schools also require taking entrance examinations like the GRE or GMAT. Some institutions require a minimum 2.75 GPA or require you to take an entrance exam if you do not meet the GPA criteria.

After that, you can expect to find a wide variety of prerequisites—from the number of required courses to highly-specific or technical courses that must be completed before you can begin a master’s programme.

A master’s degree can earn you teaching opportunities beyond primary and secondary schools e.g polytechnics, colleges, universities

Doctorate in Education

Depending on the area of specialization and learning mode, a doctorate programme in education  takes on average about three to eight years to complete. Each student needs to finish their coursework and pass all written examinations required by their individual doctorate programme. It all depends, logically, on what you have studied during your master’s program and how closely it is related to what you’re doing during your doctorate.

Therefore, how long it will take for you to get your degree depends on how fast you will be with your dissertation work. Conducting research takes an indefinite amount of time. This may earn you an education consultant role. It is also a pathway to becoming a professor of education.

Benefits of Pursuing a Degree

  • Better potential for securing higher salaries jobs.
  • More marketable and sought-after for jobs.
  • Learning supplementary skills like analytical thinking and analysis.
  • Networking opportunities for future career options.
  • Better job benefits like insurance, retirement, and possibly even travel.

Diploma or Degree in Teaching. Which one is Better?

There is no one size fit all answer to this, the choice is conditioned on what you want. Both have their pros and cons but nonetheless, the age group of students you wish to teach can define your choice. There’s no law that says a doctorate holder in education cannot teach in primary school, weighing your options, desire, capabilities and other personal factors will help you in making an informed decision. Also, if you want to teach a specific subject, you could get a bachelors degree in that subject and follow it up with a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education). It is a requirement to pass the subject you wish to teach before you can be allowed to teach such a subject. To be qualified to dispense your knowledge in such subject to higher learners, a higher degree is required in such a subject.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing between a Degree and Diploma In Education

Before you opt-in for any of the two, the following factors or questions must be answered:

1. How much time do you have to complete classes?

What do you need the programme for? Are you planning a career change? Do you work full-time and will not be able to meet up with the rigorous course work of a degree programme? A diploma might be a better option. If you’re working full time, a programme that has options for evening or online classes seem to be more conducive.

2. Financial Aid.

Unlike students who have buoyant parents that can foot their bills for degree programmes regardless of the cost, self-sponsored students might not enjoy that luxury. Are you financially capable to pay for the cost of obtaining a degree? If no, you might want to take a diploma, work for a period to save enough for a degree programme. Most degree programmes have diploma courses that can be taken as a prerequisite for a degree in the future. E.g, you might settle for a diploma in Education should you want to study a degree in Education Management in the future if you’re not currently capable of footing a degree programme. You might want to explore scholarship offers that are available to you as well. There are specific government and school scholarship offers.

3. Evaluate your skills and interests.

No matter your career interest, whether as a newbie that is just entering the labour market or you have an established career and you’re looking to spice things up or move totally to a new career. Your skills, educational prowess and personality play an important role in choosing an education programme. Determine these:

  • What comes easily for you?
  • What you’re passionate about? and
  • What are your inherent abilities?

Answers to these question determine your success in any chosen programme. Assessing your skills and interests can help you pick a programme that will work best for you and will lead you to a job you’ll be enthusiastic about.

What Do Employers Want ?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Earning a diploma, certificate, or degree will depend more on the job title you want. Some professions only require diplomas, whereas others will require a degree. That’s why it’s important to first assess your goals and then choose what to earn. While keeping in mind that some of the employers today might favour a degree, that doesn’t mean vocational education is worthless.

Other areas you can explore with Education Degree.

  • Curriculum developer
  • Community Education officer
  • Special Education Need Coordinator
  • Education Administrator
  • Hospital play specialist
  • Human resource adviser
  • Learning designer
  • Policy adviser for the Ministry of Education
  • Primary school teacher
  • Researcher


Education has gone beyond teaching, there are other areas to explore such as school administrator, school counsellor, drama and dance instructor, sports master etc. It could be that you don’t enjoy teaching in the classroom but being in a school system is appealing to you. You could look at what you love and see where you fit in a school setting. Teaching remains one of the few jobs with strong job security, with advocates all over the world rooting for education for all children and girl child education, the need for teachers becomes more prominent day by day.

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