If you’re looking for a teaching course, it’s the Level 3 Award in Education and Training that will keep popping up… and rightly so! It’s a brilliant introductory further education teacher training course...but what’s the difference between the level 3 Award and level 4 Certificate and why might you choose to do the level 4 either after or instead of the level 3? 
1. This course is about your development as a teacher: there’s no fast track 
 
Fast track is great at level 3: often people need the level 3 Award in Education and Training to support an application for a job or get approval to open their own training centre. They can move through the course really quickly, either in the classroom or via distance learning and there are hundreds of providers offering it, often at outrageously low prices! At level 3, you complete your assessments, demonstrate your teaching skills in a 15 minute microteach session and then you’re done. 
 
We at SKL Training are not offering the level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET) as a fast track course. Of course, if you choose our distance learning option, you can move through at your own pace but we’d advise you to take your time. Don’t rush. Learn about the topics. Apply the topics to your teaching. Improve as a teacher. 
2. You get a lot more feedback 
 
This is one of the ways you will improve. At level 4, a lot of your evidence is obtained through observation: we need to see you teaching at least three times. You’ll receive detailed feedback from your tutor after each observation, then you’ll reflect on those three observations. When we receive feedback from someone else, we learn more about what we did well, so we can do more of it, and about what we didn’t do as well, so we can do less of it! Our own reflections work in the same way. At level 3, while you receive feedback throughout the course on your assessments, you only receive feedback on your actual teaching right at the end and it’s only based on your performance during a 15 minute session. 
3. There’s a lot more detail 
 
Many of the topics are the same as the ones we cover at level 3; such as behaviour, assessment, inclusivity and feedback but at level 4 they’re covered in a lot more detail and you’ll carry out your own research too (more on this in the next point). We also pick up topics you might have wondered about at level 3, such as resources, course and lesson planning and your delivery. 
4. You will get to study more theory 
 
Hear me out… this is a good thing! When we read what the experts have to say, we don’t always have to agree! For example, some of our students have no time for Anne Gravells…despite her being well known as one of the leading further educational fonts of knowledge! But reading books on the subject you’re studying often leads you to other journals and books which focus on the same area, continually improving your knowledge and, usually, your skills. At level 4 we ask you to evidence understanding of theory as well as demonstrating your competency as a teacher or trainer. 
 
If you study with us, either in the classroom or via distance learning, we give you a workbook that will guide you through the whole process. Our students say our workbooks help immensely with their studies because they’re readable and break everything down into smaller chunks. We recommend useful reading for you to do and support you throughout. 
5. It’s a good compromise if level 3 isn’t enough and level 5 is too costly or time consuming 
 
Maybe you already have other qualifications at level 3 and want to do something at a higher level. Or perhaps your other qualifications are at level 4 or above and you don’t want to study below that level. Maybe you’ve done the level 3 Award in Education and Training, loved it and now want to learn more. 
 
If you’re considering the level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, this is huge. Ideally you’ll be teaching full time to do the level 5 but then there’s an enormous amount of coursework, research and practice to complete, plus your own observations and reflections. Maybe you have the time and money to do it – if so, it’s definitely worth it because you can complete your QTLS afterwards (Qualified Teaching and Learning Skills: the badge of professionalism for post-16 education and training). But many of us are not in that position…. in which case, a level 4 Certificate could be the answer. 
6. Not everyone has it 
 
Honestly? Since we’ve been delivering this course, which is almost 3 years, we’ve only had two students (who came from the same organisation) who had been told that their awarding body insist that they hold the level 4. Most places want you to have the level 3… or level 5 if you’re specialising. So if you work (or want to work) somewhere that asks for the level 3 and you have the level 4, you’re automatically at an advantage over other applicants who hold the level 3. 
7. You might earn more 
 
Many schools and colleges work to salary scales whereby if you have a higher qualification, you earn more money. We can’t guarantee it, of course, but it’s certainly a topic to discuss at the point of your job offer. 
8. If you’re already teaching, you can jump straight to level 4 
 
There is a unit from level 3 that also features in the level 4 course called Understanding Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships in Education and Training. As long as you complete this (which you will, because it’s in the course!) then you can jump straight to Level 4. The important thing for this level is that you can evidence 30 teaching hours. 
 
Teaching can mean many things: you can be paid or voluntary, full or part time; it can be a small element of your substantive role; you can teach groups or one to one or a combination… there are many situations we can use as evidence of your teaching hours. If you’re not sure whether your situation counts, ask us. 
 
It’s worth noting that not all training providers will allow you to jump straight to level 4, so if you’re considering the level 4 with a provider who isn’t SKL Training then do check with them first. 
9. This qualification works for a lot of different sectors 
 
With the level 3, 4 or 5 in Education and Training, you can teach in the following areas: 
 
o Community and adult education 
o Commercial and industrial training 
o Work based learning providers 
o Colleges and some academies 
o NHS, private hospitals and other healthcare 
o Prison or offender learning institutes 
o Armed or uniformed services 
10. It’s a real commitment to your career as a teacher 
 
It costs more than the level 3. You have to do more than you have to at level 3. It takes longer than level 3. But with all of the advantages listed above, taking on this course is a real commitment to your future career development, giving you the edge on other applicants and the knowledge you need to teach in your specialist area. 
 
Not sure which education and training course to choose? Try our flowchart. 
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. For more information about this or any of our courses, please contact us
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