The UK offers a Post Graduate Certificate of Education which certifies teachers domestically and is useful in the international school system. As an American teaching abroad, I am looking for an equivalent. What is the US equivalent to this?

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    Are you looking for a degree or certificate that will be sufficient to get a teaching license in the US? Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 4:45
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    A MA in education might be it.
    – xuq01
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 4:45
  • @BrianBorchers I'm not looking for a licensure program necessarily just wondering if there is an equivelent to PGCE (in my case to teach internationally)
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 6:20
  • This question is off-topic because it is essentially a question about the preferences of nonacademic employers. If international primary/secondary schools don't want it, it's not a good answer. Further, it is a shopping question. Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 6:12

3 Answers 3


There is no such certificate.

  • To teach at a public school in the US, you will need to be licensed by the state you wish to teach in. If you have a BA/MA in education from an accredited university, it is often trivial to get this -- you normally have to pay a fee, get fingerprinted, and provide your transcripts. But some states are worse than others -- you may have to take exams to prove you're qualified. I've heard stories about having to redo your BA/MA at an in-state school, but I have not been able to confirm such reports. There is also such a thing as "emergency licensure" -- for example, if a school can't fill a key post, they can hire someone temporarily that normally wouldn't be eligible (e.g., a physicist without teacher training to be a physics teacher).

  • At a private school in the US, each school has their own rules. State licensure and/or a degree in teaching is a good first step, but each school sets their own rules.

  • To teach in an American school abroad, things are even less well-defined. To my knowledge, "American Schools abroad" do not have any oversight by the US Department of Education, so there are no uniform standards. Each school sets their own rules in accordance with local laws. Fluency in English and some previous teaching experience is often enough, though in some saturated markets (e.g., Geneva), and in some countries with stricter local policies, the requirements can be much higher.

  • Your last paragraph is utterly wrong. I can speak about France, and I'm pretty sure that someone coming in with "fluency in English" and "some previous teaching experience" and expecting to become a teacher with nothing more would be laughed at and shown the door. This isn't about "saturated markets", this is about the State requiring a little more proof of your abilities before it puts you in front of children – you know, like in the US, in your first paragraph...
    – user9646
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 7:21
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    @Najib I believe cag51 is referring to American schools abroad in their last point, not non-US schools in general. If I may also say, there is no need to take such a harsh tone with your comments, regardless of your opinions on the US education system. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 8:54
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    Sorry, I was referring only to (private) American, English-language schools abroad. You're absolutely right that such schools will have to follow local laws, and most foreign public schools have difficult requirements, similar to the US. I'll edit my answer.
    – cag51
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 14:10
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    @AnonymousPhysicist - I tend to agree that the question may be off-topic (this is an old answer; today I probably wouldn't have answered). That said, I believe the information in this answer is reasonably correct, with the usual caveat that things vary a lot. As for relevance, OP obviously found it relevant. Finally, I would ask you to think carefully about your tone: comments like "this is wrong/irrelevant" are not constructive and could well be seen as a violation of our "be nice" policy.
    – cag51
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 6:58
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    In future (let us end this current exchange), I would recommend that you explain what part of the answer's substance you found lacking. I do appreciate it when downvoters leave explanations, and I often edit or even delete my answers if I think their arguments are valid. But "this is wrong/irrelevant" does not add any information that your downvote did not already convey, and merely comes across as unfriendly (which I will assume was not your intent).
    – cag51
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 20:09

The equivalent in the US would be a one year Master of Arts in Teaching. It is pretty much the same thing.


The role of a postgraduate degree in education often fills the need of the PGCE. In the UK and in other Commonwealth countries, you get your degree first, like a physics degree for instance and then do your teacher training.

The US simply does not use that model, most of the training in regards to your ability to teach is done at the postgraduate level. There is, of course, no uniformity in how the US approaches this, each state has it's own licensing requirements

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