How to Become a SEN Teacher | Compass Schools

How to become a SEN teacher?

Special Educational Needs (SEN) teachers educate and support children and young people who require extra support throughout their education. A SEN teacher is responsible for making education accessible and obtainable for the children in question.

In most cases, working as an SEN teacher will offer you a competitive salary and flexible working hours – which are two bonuses for working within this field.

What can you expect?

The key thing to remember with a role like this is: expect the unexpected. There will never be two days the same and it will be valuable for you to know this right from the start. What you also need to be aware of is quite how much time and effort goes into the role. Although you will benefit from the long school holidays, it is important to remember that these holidays will likely be filled with planning and training.

Is SEN teaching right for me?

In a role such as SEN teaching, you need to know this is the career choice for you. Like mainstream teaching, SEN teaching is more than just a full-time profession – it will be extremely time consuming and, at times, emotionally exhausting. However, that isn’t to say this isn’t the right career for you.

Along with a love and passion for teaching, there are a few extra qualities a SEN teacher will need for their role. Resilience and commitment, both to the role and the children, is essential. These two characteristics are essential – given you will be working with a variety of different children with different needs and demands.

The students you will be working with will have different learning styles, abilities, and requirements. Therefore, you are going to need to be adaptable, creative, and inventive when coming up with new teaching methods.

Other key characteristics you may possess that would make you perfect for the role are:

  • An excellent communicator
  • Energetic
  • Positive
  • Organised
  • Patient
  • Empathetic


How to become a SEN teacher?

SEN teachers must hold their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) before moving on to SEN education. There are a few ways someone can go about gaining QTS:

  • The most traditional route is to get a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which is achieved after obtaining a degree.
  • You could gain a Bachelor of Education with QTS status
  • Through a school centred route, you’d be able to gain QTS status while in the classroom
  • As well as all of the above, you will also need a SEN qualification (one which is no older than three years). In some instances, you may need more specific qualifications, such as BSL training.

Along with all the training and qualifications, we always recommend that you view the SEN school before you apply to work there. You may have an expectation of the school setting that is completely different to the reality – so always visit a setting before applying.

Opportunities that come with the role

Becoming a SEN teacher will open so many doors. The demand for SEN teachers is only going to get greater, so you will never be out of work. Along with this, there are incredible career progression opportunities, such as becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).

We hope this has answered a few of the questions you may have had regarding how to become a SEN teacher. For more advice, you can visit the National Careers Service for extra information, average salary and much more. If you are looking to start a career within a SEN setting, take a look at our to find the right role for you.