Requirements to apply for a Certificate of Qualification (COQ)

Last updated: January 20, 2022

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Grade 12 graduation

Applicants must have B.C. grade 12 (or equivalent).

Post-secondary studies

Applicants must have four years (120 credits) of post-secondary studies and a degree (or equivalent).

Post-secondary course work must meet specific academic and teacher education requirements.

In some circumstances, applicants who have not completed all the academic and teacher education requirements below may be issued a Conditional Certificate of Qualification. This is a temporary certificate that is valid for up to 60 months. Applicants who are issued this certificate must complete any remaining academic and teacher education requirements within the 60 months. 

Elementary school teachers need 30 credits of general course work in areas related to the B.C. elementary curriculum and must include:

  • Six credits of course work in English or French literature and composition
  • Three credits of Canadian studies
  • Three credits of mathematics
  • Three credits of science (in the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, earth science and/or ocean science, physics or physical geography

Secondary school teachers need 30 credits of academic course work and must include:

  • Six credits of course work in English or French literature and composition
  • 24 credits of course work in one of the following subject areas:

Business Education
Computer Science
Earth Science
First Nations Studies

General Science
Home Economics

Physical Education
Social Studies
Special Education
Technology Education

Trades teachers need a trades qualification issued or recognized by the BC Industry Training Authority in a trade that has at least three levels of technical training and a minimum of five years of journeyperson work and/or trades teaching experience. Trades teachers also need six credits of course work in English or French literature and composition. Read more about the certificate for trades teachers (PDF).

Applicants need to have completed a recognized teacher education program including:

  • At least 48 credits (about 1.5 to 2 years of full-time study) of professional education course work
  • An acceptable practicum
  • Studies in:
    • Human development and learning
    • Educational foundations (history, philosophy, sociology)
    • Curriculum and instruction
    • Diagnosing and providing for students with special needs
    • Evaluation and testing

Teacher education programs completed outside of British Columbia must have resulted in a licence to teach being granted in the jurisdiction in which the teacher education program was completed, if applicable.

Not all teacher education programs are recognized in B.C. Some examples of programs that do not qualify a person for teaching in B.C. include:

  • French as a Foreign Language (FLE) programs that do not lead to teaching in France's K-12 schools
  • Cambridge CELTA and DELTA programs
  • TESOL language programs
  • Alternative certification programs, such as SCITT and provincial instructor programs
  • Programs that do not include training or education related to teaching in the K-12 school system

Other teacher education programs that may not meet certification requirements include:

  • Very short programs
  • Alternative certification programs, such as TEACH-NOW and TeacherReady
  • On-the-job or employment-based programs
  • Programs completed entirely online or by distance education
  • Other alternative certification programs


Proficiency in English or French

Applicants who have completed their teacher education program outside of British Columbia may need to take a language proficiency test.

Applicants who are required to provide evidence of an acceptable score on a language proficiency test will be notified directly.

In B.C., English language proficiency is determined from results on either IELTS Academic or TOEFL iBT (Institution Code 8693). French language proficiency is determined from results on the DELF/DALF test.


Use one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL iBT: a score of 98 with a minimum of 23 on reading, 23 on listening, 27 on speaking and 25 on writing
  • IELTS Academic: overall band score of 6.5 with no band below 6 and with a minimum of 7 on the speaking and writing bands

Use one of the following requirements:

  • A minimum score of C1 on the Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) 
  • A minimum score of B1 on the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) 
  • A letter from a Francophone Education Authority indicating acceptable proficiency in the French language
  • A written assessment from the French Department of a Canadian university attesting to demonstrated proficiency sufficient to conduct all teaching in the French language


Fitness to teach

Applicants must be of a good and moral character and fit and proper to teach.

Familiarity with the Canadian education system

Applicants who have studied in an education system that is significantly different from the education system in Canada may need to take additional training to learn about the culture and curriculum of the B.C. education system. The training takes about one year to complete and includes some teacher education courses and a supervised practicum.

Teachers transferring from other Canadian provinces and territories

All teachers practising in British Columbia must have a B.C. teaching certificate. Teachers moving here from another province or territory may be eligible for a teaching certificate without needing to take additional coursework.

To qualify for a certificate of qualification under existing labour mobility agreements, teachers from other Canadian provinces and territories must:

  • Hold a current, valid, unrestricted teaching certificate from another Canadian province or territory
  • Meet B.C.’s standards for fitness to teach and language proficiency
  • Complete and submit an application and submit required documentation

Certification standards

The BC Teachers' Council set the requirements and qualifications for teachers to be certified B.C.

Apply for certification

Start your career as a certified teacher in British Columbia.

Apply for a Certificate of Qualification