How to become a prison instructor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


You'll need a recognised teaching qualification or be willing to work towards one. Qualifications include:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training
  • Level 5 Education and Training Diploma

You'll need access to 100 hours of teaching practice. You'll also need experience and a level 3 vocational qualification in your subject area or trade.

You may find it useful to do qualifications in assessment, like the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths

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You can complete a learning and skills teacher higher apprenticeship.

You'll need a qualification in the subject you want to teach. Employers will be looking for relevant up-to-date industry experience.

You'll also need to show ability in English, maths and IT.

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More Information

Further information

You can find out more about teaching qualifications from FE Advice.

Find out more about the role from Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

You would also need to meet the usual Prison Service entry requirements, which include nationality and security checks. See Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service for more details.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • finding out the skills and training needs of each prisoner
  • planning training sessions
  • preparing teaching materials
  • providing group or one-to-one instruction
  • updating prisoners' individualised learner records
  • supporting prisoners working towards qualifications
  • making sure prisoners are supervised at all times
  • keeping the working area safe
  • making sure tools and materials are counted to avoid security risks
  • searching prisoners, known as a 'rub down' or 'pat down'

Working environment

You could work in a prison.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

You could become a senior or principal officer, or move into other areas of training or instructing.

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