How to Become a Teacher in Canada
In Canada, teaching is a highly professional field of work where financial compensation may or may not match the effort required to complete the training. Consequently, teachers need to be motivated by love of the work and their students, excitement about participation in a community of knowledge, and desire to serve humanity by keeping the principles of a field they love alive for the following generations. The teacher certification required varies depending on whether you aim to
- teach Early Childhood Education,
- open a licensed daycare,
- teach private clients, for example as a tutor, music teacher, or yoga teacher
- teach in the public system of elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities and trades or technology institutes.
No matter what level of teaching you aim for, candidates for teacher certification in the public school system need to start with a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized university. In most cases, this is a four year program. There are several ways to get a teaching certification in Canada, depending on what area of the education system you want to work in.
Teaching Credentials for Early Childhood Education Certification in Canada
Teachers in pre-schools and daycares for children from infancy to 5 years need an Early Childhood Education Certificate . This requires three semesters of study at a college or university college like University College of the Fraser Valley. Applicants need to be 19 years old, have updated medical vaccinations, and a criminal record check. After completing the program of classroom study, 500 hours of supervised practicum experience in a licensed childcare program are required for licensing.
Montessori programs are an increasingly popular pre-school choice for many parents. Many of these programs are private, independent businesses, and some of them for school-aged children run as alternate programs in the public schools. The Montessori teacher education is a year-long certificate that is recognized internationally. Teachers who have this training, the Association Montessori International diploma for Infancy, Casa Dei Bambini (3-7 years) or Elementary (6-12 years), also require the Early Childhood Education Certificate described above or the Professional Pedagogical Diploma described below in order to get a teaching certification in Canada and work.
Montessori training centres for the 3-7 Casa Dei Bambin (Children's House) diploma and the elementary (6-12) years diploma are located throughout the world.
The PPD Teaching Degree, or Professional Pedagogical Diploma in Canada
This is the professional teaching certification, which is required for teachers to teachers in public schools across Canada. It is also recognized internationally as a professional teaching degree. After graduating with a university degree in a teaching subject, candidates study for twelve months before receiving the diploma, taking three semesters of full-time university study. One of these semesters is a practicum. During the program, candidates choose whether to train for kindergarten, elementary (grades 1-8) or secondary (grades 9-12) levels. Once the new teacher is hired, the first two years of full-time teaching are a probationary period, before receiving a permanent certificate.
Candidates apply for admission to these competitive programs at many of the main universities in Canada, including Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, and others. In Canada, education is a provincial responsibility, but the various provincial teaching certifications are recognized across the country.
Teaching Certification for Adult Education in Canada
You may be more interested in teaching adults rather than children and youth, and in Canada adult education also has high standards of training.
Teacher Education for University Teaching
Specific training in how to become a teacher is not usually required at this level. Expertise in your chosen field counts for more. Universities require a minimum of a relevant Master’s degree and extensive teaching experience for a sessional position, and relevant Doctorate with teaching, research and publishing credentials for a tenure-track position.
Colleges and Institutes of Trades and technology require instructors to have the professional ticket of their trade, extensive experience, and most also require a Diploma in Adult Education This is a seven-course program offered at night, on weekends and on-line. In some cases, an exceptional candidate may be hired to teach, and required to earn the Diploma in Adult Education within a certain time period.
TESOL Certification, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is required to teach in private language schools or in university academic preparation programs. This is also referred to as ESAL, or English as a Second or Additional Language. Training centres that offer this teaching certification usually also offer TEFL courses, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which is designed to prepare teachers to teach English overseas. This is a program that takes about 3 months full-time to complete, and usually can be taken part-time evenings and weekends as well. Vancouver Community College and Thompson Rivers University are two places that offer highly respected training in British Columbia.
Certification to Teach for Lifelong Learning and Special Fields of Interest
Another less formal form of adult education takes place in short courses at community centres or private instructional businesses. Lifelong Learning and Special Fields of Interest include hobbies or special interests that you may want to teach to the community. In Canada, many people run independent businesses teaching private clients in areas of their personal expertise and interest. At the moment, regulations regarding these vary widely in Canada. The diplomas listed below are generally recognized by peer associations as professional requirements indicating a high level of expertise and safe, effective instruction.
- Private Yoga Teachers need an established personal practice and recognized 200- hour or 500-hour teacher training from a recognized teacher training program, such as the Prana Yoga College in Vancouver, British Columbia or one of the Sivananda Ashrams around the world. To teach in a community center or gym may also require a First Aid Certificate and membership in a professional association like Yoga Alliance or Yoga Association of British Columbia.
- Private Music Teacher: most Canadian music teachers and music schools work with the Royal Conservatory of Music syllabus. Skilled musicians can run a private business and teach beginning clients, but to be recognized as a professional music teacher, the Advanced Royal Conservatory Teaching Certificate (ARCT) is required, after the grade 10 performance and theory exams.
- Master Gardener is a certification that requires part-time training and practice over 18 months, and is renewed annually. Master Gardeners are active internationally and in their communities, teaching people about gardening, using plants to conserve water, attract bees and birds, and reducing human impact on the environment. An overview of program requirements is described here.
How to Get Your Foreign Teaching Credentials Recognized in Canada
Canada is a multi-cultural country and continues to become more so. Many people from all walks of life want to immigrate to Canada from across the globe, and if they have professional training and experience from their home country, they want to try to continue their career in Canada. This is not always easy. I know many highly trained professionals, doctors, engineers, university professors, and teachers who are driving cabs, delivering pizza, or working in convenience stores and small businesses because their English skills are not good enough to pass licensing exams, or because their credentials are not recognized in Canada. Their children may thrive here, but for many older professional immigrants, their experience in Canada becomes a kind of prison, where they trade dreams of personal fulfillment and prosperity in their own career that was possible at home, for hopes that their children's lives and opportunities will be better than they could have achieved in "the old country."
If you are a teacher seeking to relocate to Canada, find out if you will be eligible to work in your field by contacting the Service Canada office which evaluates credentials.
Depending on your country of origin and your language of study, you may need to upgrade your training. Once your license is accepted and your training is recognized, there is no guarantee of work. In fact, many Canadian-trained teachers are unemployed or employed as sessionals or teachers-on-call. With the declining birth rate in Canada, school populations are falling in many communities and there is a general climate of austerity and budget cutbacks in most of the public sector, including public elementary, secondary, and tertiary (college and university) schools.
mosnadia on April 20, 2017:
Great article! I had big difficulties in getting this info in Montreal Qc. Now I am going to Vancouver....
Janis Goad (author) on August 31, 2012:
Hi , Aman,
I suggest contacting the Service Canada office in the second last paragraph above, to have your credentials evaluated so you know what you will have credit for.
You will need to take a Professional Pedagogical Certificate at a university to get a license, and you apply to the universities for that. I suggest you contact universities near you and ask them what program they offer.
Good Luck on your journey, and welcome to Canada!
Aman on August 31, 2012:
hiii, m aman. M from India and i am already graduated in bachelor of science and also finished the degree of education i.e. B.ed. and now here in Canada, I am perusing early childhood education diploma. After completing the diploma I am interested in getting teacher licencee in Canada. Anyone suggest me that what i have to do for getting the licence. thanxxx
Janis Goad (author) on July 17, 2012:
I don't have the details for this job in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but contact Tina if you want more information.
tina on July 17, 2012:
Updated : there're some good news in it ;)
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Tina on July 15, 2012:
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francis5k on June 27, 2012:
nice article and info! it's helpful.. goodjob!
Sophie on May 09, 2012:
Comprehensive and informative. It really sounds like a tough deal for immigrants. The standards there seem pretty high. Very useful for those seeking such information.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 08, 2012:
This will be helpful information for someone seeking certification in our neighbor to the North. I still hold my Florida certificate and plan to renew next year even though I am retired.
You have highlighted the important information that perspective teachers need to know. So glad you shared this.
Krystal from Los Angeles on May 08, 2012:
Wow! This was so interesting and thorough. I never thought about what the standards of teachers are like in Canada. I am a teacher in the U.S. I find the standards for Early Childhood higher which I appreciate. I am also pretty impressed with the Lifelong Learning and Special Fields of Interest informative. Sometimes people leave this professionals out when thinking about teachers. The information on how to get a foreign teaching certificate rocognized is really important. Who knows how long American teachers are going to take the general lack of respect and mismanaged systems before we cross the boarder ;) Thanks and voting up!