British Sign Language Teacher

Job Description:

British Sign Language (BSL) teachers teach sign language to children, young people and adults, and teach other subjects using sign language.

Job Category:

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will depend on the age group you’re working with, but you may:

  • plan and prepare lessons
  • teach students to learn sign language
  • teach curriculum subjects to pupils, using sign language
  • set project work and mark essays and exams
  • check students’ progress
  • work with staff teams to develop new courses and teaching materials
  • talk to parents and carers about students’ progress
  • take part in meetings and events like open days
  • attend professional development training courses
  • maintain and update student records


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • 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 (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things (creativity)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a British Sign Language (BSL) Teacher, you will need specialised training and certification in sign language teaching rather than specific high school qualifications. However, certain skills and educational background can be beneficial in preparing for a career as a BSL teacher. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. British Sign Language (BSL): Although BSL courses may not be offered at the GCSE level, having prior knowledge of BSL or sign language basics can be advantageous. Consider enrolling in introductory BSL courses if available.
  2. English Language: Strong English language skills are essential for BSL teachers because they need to explain sign language concepts, grammar, and vocabulary in English.
  3. Linguistics (Optional): Courses in linguistics can provide a deeper understanding of language structure, syntax, and phonetics, which can be applied to teaching sign language.
  4. Education (Optional): While not always required, having a background in education, particularly in teaching methods and curriculum development, can be beneficial if you plan to work in educational institutions.

Post School

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 can do a course in British Sign Language (BSL) before moving on to a higher level qualification.

You’ll also be expected to have a qualification in your own subject area aside from BSL, and usually a teaching qualification.

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 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.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 16-30 hours of work during the term time. You could be required to work evenings occasionally.

You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a language school, at a college or in the community.

Career Path & 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.