British Sign Language (BSL) teachers teach sign language to children, young people and adults, and teach other subjects using sign language.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a British Sign Language teacher
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- working towards this role
- training with a professional body
You can do a foundation degree or a degree in British Sign Language (BSL) and deaf studies.
Some knowledge of BSL will be helpful when you apply, though this is not always essential.
Universities will want to know about your reasons for applying and will assess your BSL skills before you start.
After finishing your course, you could go on to complete a teaching qualification, like a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), which you may need if you want to teach in schools.
You’ll usually need:
- at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can do a Level 1 and 2 Certificate in British Sign Language (BSL) before moving on to a higher level qualification.
Employers like schools and colleges usually look for a minimum of a Level 3 or 4 Certificate in British Sign Language. Some will ask for a Level 6 Certificate.
You’ll also be expected to have a qualification in your own subject area aside from BSL, and usually a teaching award. For example a Level 4 or 5 Diploma in Education and Training to teach in a college.
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You can start as a sign language teaching assistant or communication support worker and do training on the job to get a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification at level 3 or higher. You can then do further study for a teaching or training qualification to become a BSL teacher.
You can also train in BSL, if you’re already working as a teacher in a school or college.
You can complete British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications with a professional body like Signature or the Institute of British Sign Language. These organisations offer qualifications from introductory level up to level 6.
It is recommended that you work towards a Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language, if you want be a BSL teacher.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of English language
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties will depend on the age group you’re working with, but may include:
- planning and preparing lessons
- teaching students to learn sign language
- teaching curriculum subjects to pupils, using sign language
- setting project work and marking essays and exams
- checking students’ progress
- working with staff teams to develop new courses and teaching materials
- talking to parents and carers about their children’s progress
- taking part in meetings and events like open days
- attending professional development training courses
- maintaining and updating student records
You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a language school, at a college or in the community.
Career path and progression
You could become a British Sign Language (BSL) teaching co-ordinator in a school or college, or take on responsibility for building links with employers to offer work experience opportunities to students.
You could also do further training to broaden your employment options, including courses in lipspeaking, deafblind communication and deaf awareness.
You could work freelance or set up your own BSL teacher agency, supplying teachers who have BSL skills.