Skip to main content

Teaching Languages in Northern Ireland


To teach in a primary or post-primary school in Northern Ireland you will need to have completed either a B.Ed. or an undergraduate degree and then a PGCE.

You must have a recognised teacher training qualification in order to gain a permanent teaching post in a school in Northern Ireland.

Posts involving working with children and young people in educational establishments are subject to the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007. Disclosure must be provided  if there is any reason why a successful candidate cannot work in regulated activity (as defined by AccessNI).  For further information on regulated activity please refer to the AccessNI website.

Teachers must have eligibility to teach and be registered with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). Those who trained outside Northern Ireland must apply to the GTCNI to have their qualifications approved prior to registration.

Candidates seeking to work in schools can apply directly to individual institutions and should contact institutions for application forms and course details. Alternatively, applications can also be made through the Northern Ireland Education Authority or the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

Courses in Northern Ireland

A range of courses that will prepare you to teach languages.

Post-Primary PGCE in Modern Languages

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast offers the only full-time Post-Primary PGCE in Modern Languages in Northern Ireland. The PGCE course combines tuition at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) and two school experiences of 11 weeks.

Read more

Teaching English

Training to teach English to speakers of other languages

Find out more information on training courses across Northern Ireland on how to teach English to speakers of other languages. Courses include TESOL and CELTA.

Read more

St. Mary's University College

Train to teach Irish in Irish-Medium or English-Medium schools

More information

Stranmillis University College

Contemporary Approaches to the Teaching of Modern Languages in Primary Schools

Find out more

Study at Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast offers the only full-time Post-Primary PGCE in Modern Languages in Northern Ireland

The PGCE course combines tuition at the university’s School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW), (consisting of lectures, seminars and subject methods,) as well as two school experiences of 11 weeks. Time for independent study is also built into the course and Modern Languages students also benefit from conversation classes with native speakers on a weekly basis throughout their time at university.

The programme of study is organised around three interdependent strands:

  • Subject teaching
  • Professional role of teacher
  • Professional performance

Potential students can apply during or after the final year of their degree and applications must be received by 1 November of the preceding calendar year. The course begins in early September and is usually completed in June of the same academic year.

For more information on this course click here.


Irish Medium Post-Primary PGCE

In response to the demand for subject-specific teachers in the growing Irish Medium Post-Primary sector, Queen’s University, St Mary’s University College, and Ulster University have formed a partnership to offer a one year PGCE course to students interested in becoming teachers in Irish Medium Post-Primary education. 

Extra places are reserved on the PGCE courses to prepare those who are interested in teaching a subject through the medium of Irish. These students attend a Gaeltacht residential, delivered by St Mary's University College, before beginning their course. They receive an additional certificate in IME and applications for the course at Queen’s University are welcomed from students offering a range of subjects.

Training to teach English as an additional language

Queen's University Belfast offers full-time and part-time courses in Diploma and MSc TESOL over 1 to 3 years. These courses are aimed at those who intend to pursue a career in English Language Teaching (ELT) and teachers who wish to extend and develop their knowledge of teaching English language learners.

For more information visit the Queen's Course Finder here.


Ulster University also offers courses in Diploma and MA TESOL over 1 to 3 years, based at the Coleraine Campus of the university. The Masters programme includes a 6 week teaching placement in a primary or post-primary school in Hungary.

You can read more information on these courses at Ulster University here.


International House Belfast offers 4-week Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) courses for trained teachers and those who wish to enter into TEFL teaching but have no previous experience. Courses run throughout the year. For more information visit the IH website here.


Foyle International also offers 4-week courses in CELTA between May and August, as well as an International Certificate in TEFL over 10 weeks. This is a blended learning course to get you started in teaching English. Foyle International also offers a 2-week Intensive Refresher Course for English Teachers. For more information on these courses and more visit the FI website here


Belfast Metropolitan College also offers courses in CELTA. These are offered part-time, intensive and online. For more information visit the BMC website here


This video below outlines one student's experience of the TESOL course at Queen's University Belfast.

St. Mary's University College, Belfast

Teacher education courses for teaching Irish in both English-medium and Irish-medium schools have been offered as a specialist area at St Mary’s University College, Belfast, since 1996. They are offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

The College collaborates with subject specialists in a range of curricular areas and works closely with a range of other organisations which support Irish-medium Education including: The Irish-Medium Resource Unit at St Mary’s University College, the Council for Irish-Medium Education, the Columban Initiative, Pobal and CCEA.

Students can avail of the most up-to-date Irish-medium educational resources and materials produced by the Irish-medium Resource Unit based in the College.

For more information click here to visit the St. Mary's University College Belfast website.  

Stranmillis University College

Stranmillis University College is academically integrated with the main body of Queen’s University Belfast and therefore uses the same regulatory framework governing standards of courses and awards. 

Students studying for a B.Ed. in Primary Education can, in their third or fourth year, select an optional module entitled “Contemporary Approaches to the Teaching of Modern Languages in Primary Schools”. Students must have at least an A-level or equivalent in a modern language to be accepted to study the module. The module also involves weekly practical teaching experience in local primary schools. For further information contact Dr Sharon Jones, Senior Lecturer in Education at Stranmillis University College.

Stranmillis University College provides opportunities for international links for students have the opportunity to spend part of their course studying abroad through the Erasmus and International programmes. 

More information on the B.Ed. and PGCE programmes at Stranmillis is available here

Click here to visit the Stranmillis University College website.