Teach Physics: A guide for career changers

The satisfaction that comes with teaching is hard to beat. But that’s not all. Job security and a desire to help the next generation are just some of the reasons why engineers make the move into teaching.

Retraining to teach physics can be a daunting prospect, but we have plenty of information to help you make a well-informed decision.

Career changers

Funding and finance
As physics is a shortage subject, trainee teachers are fortunate enough to benefit from some of the most generous funding packages.
Depending on your degree class, you could be eligible for a substantial tax-free bursary or a scholarship to help you through your training year.
The IOP is awarding 140 Teacher Training Scholarships to outstanding teachers entering physics teacher training in September 2018. Scholars benefit from £28,000 tax free funding, as well as opportunities for professional development and membership of the IOP. Scholars with a degree in mechanical engineering also benefit from Associate membership of the IMechE.
You could also apply for a student loan to help you cover the £9,000 tuition fee.


Subject knowledge
A lack of confidence in your physics subject knowledge needn’t hold you back. You could complete a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course to boost your confidence before your training begins. SKE courses run from eight to 36 weeks, but the delivery is fully flexible, which means you can study online, face-to-face or through a combination of both.


Starting salaries
Starting salaries for newly qualified teachers start from £22,2917 – or £28,662 in inner London. For more information about salaries visit the Get Into Teaching website.


School experience
To help you make an informed decision about teaching, we recommend you spend some time in a secondary school observing physics lessons before you apply for teacher training. We can help you arrange a school visit through our School Experience Programme.


IOP support
Even before your training begins, we’re here to guide you through the options. Just email teach@iop.org or call us on 020 7470 4959.


Our tailored advice for teachers will support you through your first few years in the classroom, and our online resources will keep your knowledge topped up as your career progresses.  


You could also benefit from the mentoring support of an experienced practitioner who will help you set targets for your professional development and answer any questions about teaching physics.

Ready to find out more? Explore the routes into teaching or sign up for our newsletter to receive information by email.