Becoming a Teacher in BC

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a career in education in British Columbia. Teachers in BC work in a dynamic environment where they are able to make a difference in the lives of students.

The information in this section describes how to obtain a Ministry of Education teaching certificate. You will need this certificate to show that you qualify to work in BC’s education sector – that you have the academic qualifications, teaching experience and personal characteristics required for working with children.

Who requires a Ministry of Education teaching certificate?

If you would like to teach in BC’s kindergarten to grade 12 education sector, you must have a teaching certificate from the Ministry of Education issued through the Teacher Regulation Branch.

  • Public schools: All teachers, administrators and superintendents employed in the province’s kindergarten to grade 12 public school system must have a valid Ministry of Education Certificate of Qualification. This includes full-time, part-time and teacher-on-call positions. If you would like to work in a BC public school, you must apply to the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education for a Certificate of Qualification, and you must pay an annual fee to maintain your certificate. A Certificate of Qualification also enables you to work in all independent schools and First Nations schools in the province.

    You must have completed a teacher education program to apply for a Certificate of Qualification. The application process is slightly different depending on whether you completed your teacher education program in BC, elsewhere in Canada or outside of Canada. Please click on the link that applies to you for further information. Please see the Previously Certified Teachers section if you are re-applying for a Certificate of Qualification.

  • Independent schools: If you would like to work in a BC independent school that has group 1, 2, or 4 classification, you may apply for an Independent School Teaching Certificate or a Certificate of Qualification. An Independent School Teaching Certificate will allow you to teach only in BC’s independent schools and is restricted to a particular subject area, school system, or school. For information about BC independent schools, please visit the Independent Schools area on the Ministry of Education website. For more information about applying for an Independent School Teaching Certificate, please see the Independent School Certificate section.

    If you have completed a teacher education program, you may choose to apply for a Certificate of Qualification instead of an Independent School Teaching Certificate. A Certificate of Qualification would allow you to teach in BC’s public and independent schools. Please see the section under BC Graduates, Canadian Graduates or International Graduates for information about how to apply for a Certificate of Qualification.

  • First Nations Schools: If you wish to teach in a First Nations school that has group 1, 2, or 4 classification, you may apply for a Certificate of Qualification or an Independent School Teaching Certificate. If the school is a member of the First Nations Schools Association, only the Certificate of Qualification is accepted for employment. Please visit the Independent Schools area on the Ministry of Education website for more information about BC independent schools. Please visit the First Nations Schools Association website for a list of member schools.

How do you apply for a Ministry of Education teaching certificate?

You need to apply to the Ministry of Education for a certificate by submitting forms and other documentation to the Teacher Regulation Branch. We will then evaluate your qualifications based on the following three areas:

  • your academic record, including teacher education training and subject area studies
  • your relevant teaching experience
  • your fitness, or suitability, for working with children.

If you meet the requirements for all three areas, you will be eligible for a certificate. If you do not meet the requirements of one or more areas, we will tell you what you must do to qualify for a certificate, such as completing additional coursework.