She does need a degree. Perhaps the person who told her this assumed she already had one? I think she has been misled. Becoming a HLTA, whilst may be useful experience, is not a recognized way into teaching. However, she could enrol on the foundation degree for TAs (once she's done her level 3 NVQ). This is designed as a way for TAs to get into teaching. She would continue with her job whilst studying part-time. Once completed, she would then need to do the BA Hons top-up course (1 year) to achieve a BA honours. Then she would need to do teacher training in some form (another year). The HLTA is not a qualification, merely a status. In my LA, the training is about 5 days so in no way compares with a degree or any other qualification.