Overview of Eligibility Requirements for International Graduates

The information in this section applies to you if you have completed a teacher education program outside of Canada. If you have not completed a teacher education program, you may be interested in reviewing the eligibility requirements for an Independent School Teacher Certificate. This certificate enables you to teach in a specific area(s) in the BC kindergarten to grade 12 independent school system.

To teach in BC's kindergarten to grade 12 public education sector, you must apply to the Teacher Regulation Branch for a Ministry of Education teaching certificate. We will evaluate your application to see if you qualify for certification in BC. We will assess your:

  • academic record, including teacher education training and subject area studies
  • teaching experience, and
  • fitness to teach (that is, whether your moral character makes you suitable to work with children).

Please note that academic studies alone are not enough to qualify you for a BC teaching certificate that enables you to teach in the public school system. You must also have completed a teacher training program that qualifies you to teach in the kindergarten to grade 12 public school system in the jurisdiction where you completed the program.

If you have not completed a teacher training program, you will need to do so before applying to us for a certificate. Please see Teacher Education for a list of BC universities that offer approved programs leading to certification.

The following are some basic requirements for certification through the BC Ministry of Education Teacher Regulation Branch:

BC grade 12 diploma or its equivalent

You must have completed the equivalent of a BC grade 12 diploma. We consider the following to be equivalent to a BC grade 12 diploma:

  • Ontario: Grade 13
  • Quebec: A DEC after two years of CEGEP is considered equivalent to a BC grade 12 diploma and one year of post-secondary education.
  • British education system: Completion of "O" levels and at least two "A" levels. "A" level coursework with a grade of A or B is considered equivalent to six credits of first-year university level coursework.

If you have not completed 12 years of elementary and secondary schooling, we may use your years of post-secondary study to meet the grade 12 requirement. For example, if you have a grade 10 education and a four-year undergraduate degree, we may consider this equivalent to a BC grade 12 diploma and two years of post-secondary study.

Post-secondary studies

You must have completed four years (120 credits) of post-secondary studies and a degree or its equivalent. Within these studies, we will look for coursework that meets our academic requirements and teacher education requirements.

Academic studies
All public school teachers in BC, regardless of subject area or level, are required to have completed 6 credits of coursework in English literature and composition. If you completed all of your post-secondary studies in French, you must have completed 6 credits of coursework in French literature and composition.

Secondary school teachers must have completed at least 24 credits of coursework in one of the following acceptable subject areas:

Business Education
Computer Science
Earth Science
First Nations Studies
General Science

Home Economics
Physical Education
Social Studies
Special Education
Technology Education

Elementary school teachers must have completed 30 credits of general coursework in areas related to the BC elementary curriculum. These 30 credits must include the following:

  • 3 credits of Canadian studies
  • 3 credits of mathematics and
  • 3 credits of science.

The science course must be in the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology (earth science and/or ocean science), physics or physical geography.

Trades teachers can qualify for a restricted Trades Certificate if they hold a trades qualification issued or recognized by the BC Industry Training Authority in a trade that has a minimum of three levels of technical training and a minimum of 5 years of journeyperson work and/or trades teaching experience. Trades teachers must also meet the English coursework requirement and teacher education coursework requirements below.

Teacher education studies
You must have completed a teacher education program consisting of at least 48 credits of education courses and classroom teaching experience. This is equivalent to approximately 1.5 to 2 years of full-time study. This could include a degree or diploma in education, or teacher training courses that you completed within an academic degree.

The program must include studies in the areas of:

  • human development and learning
  • educational foundations (history, philosophy, sociology)
  • curriculum and instruction
  • diagnosing and providing for students with special needs and
  • evaluation and testing.

The teacher education program must qualify you to teach in the elementary and/or secondary public school system in the jurisdiction where you completed your program. Whenever possible, you must also have registered with the education authority in the jurisdiction where you completed your program, even if you have never taught in that jurisdiction.

Teacher education programs are often very different from one jurisdiction to another. Graduates of the following types of programs will not qualify for certification in BC:

  • programs that are less than 30 credits
  • programs completed entirely by distance education
  • programs that do not qualify their graduates to teach in the public school system
  • programs that are not awarded university credit
  • programs that include teaching experience only.

Once we have completed our evaluation, we will send you a letter describing the courses or program you need to complete before you qualify for a certificate. You can appeal our decision if you believe there are additional factors that we should consider that were not described or included in your initial application.

You may still qualify for a teaching certificate, even if you have not completed all of these requirements. In some cases, we will grant you a temporary teaching certificate. You can upgrade the temporary certificate to a permanent certificate by finishing the remaining coursework while you teach. We will send you a letter describing the courses you need to complete once we have finished evaluating your application.

Recent teaching experience

You must have taught within the last 10 years. We require a minimum of either 75 days of teaching experience in one academic year or 100 days of teaching experience over two consecutive academic years.

If you do not have paid teaching experience, you must have completed a minimum of 10 weeks of student teaching experience within your teacher education program, and you must have completed this program within the last 10 years.

If you do not meet the minimum teaching experience requirements, we will ask you to complete some teacher education courses related to your subject area(s) and a practicum before we will grant you a certificate. If you have not had acceptable teaching experience within the last 20 years, we will ask you to complete an acceptable teacher education program.

Proficiency in English or French

To teach in BC, you need to be proficient in English. You must be able to read, write and speak English at an advanced level. If you teach in French or are planning to teach with the French education authority of BC (le Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique), you need to be proficient in French.

If you have completed any part of your education in a country where the only official language is not English or French, you will need to submit results from an acceptable language proficiency test before we issue you a certificate. See Language Proficiency for more information.

Familiarity with the Canadian education system

If you have studied and/or taught in an education system that is significantly different from the education system in Canada, we may ask you to complete a familiarization program to learn about the culture and curriculum of the Canadian education system before we grant you a certificate. The familiarization program adds to the knowledge and experience you already have and prepares you for a successful career in education in BC.

As part of the familiarization program, you will need to complete 12 credits of teacher education courses related to your subject area(s) and a practicum through a BC university. Regardless of the university you choose to attend, familiarization programs usually take approximately one year to complete. Many applicants who are asked to complete a familiarization program choose to complete Simon Fraser University's Professional Qualification Program or the University of British Columbia's Teacher Updating Program.

We will tell you in our evaluation letter if you must complete a familiarization program. You will need this letter to enroll in a university's courses or education program.

Fitness to teach

You must be a person of a good and moral character. We evaluate your suitability (or what we call "fitness") to teach based on some of the documents you must submit as part of your application. These include:

  • confidential character reference forms
  • assessment forms and teacher evaluation reports
  • the criminal record check results we receive from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
  • in some cases, the results of a fingerprint search through regional and/or national police records.

What if you cannot submit required documents?

You may find it impossible to obtain some of the documents or alternate forms of the documents that are required to qualify for a BC teaching certificate, despite your efforts and any assistance that we may be able to provide.

If this is the case, we may still be able to assess your application based on additional information that you provide. This includes the reason(s) for why you are unable to obtain the necessary application documents or alternate forms of the required documents. Your reasons may include circumstances that are outside your control, such as:

  • An institution (such as a school or governmental organization) is unable to provide the required document(s) because it no longer exists, is not operational or has lost records due to war, upheaval, natural disaster or other crisis;
  • An institution refuses to provide the required document(s); or
  • You fear that you will be discriminated against or persecuted if you contact an institution to request the document(s).

We will collect from you any information and/or materials about your particular circumstances and present them to the Director of Certification. The Director of Certification will also determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether additional testing or assessment is required once the application has been reviewed. The Director of Certification will then decide whether a teaching certificate can be issued based on the submitted documentation and, if applicable, the results from the test or assessment.

Videos about the Certificate Application Process

The videos have been prepared to help guide you through the application process.

Ready to apply?

Please review the Standards for Educators, the application process, the videos that will help guide you through the application process, and the required application documents. Then, create your online account in the Applicants' Area and submit your application.