Certificate of Qualification

A Certificate of Qualification is required for educators who work at:

  • B.C. public and offshore schools, including full-time, part-time and on-call teachers
  • Schools that are part of the First Nations Schools Association

This type of certificate can also be used to teach at B.C. independent or First Nations schools.

A non-expiring certificate that is valid for teaching in B.C.’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system. It is not restricted to any subject area or grade level.

A non-expiring certificate that is restricted to teaching in a specific trade area. This certificate is for individuals who have:

  • A recognized trade qualification
  • Five or more years working as a journeyperson and/or trades teaching experience in the last 10 years
  • Completed a teacher education program with a trade as their teachable subject

Review the trades certificate brochure (PDF) for more information about this certificate. Teachers with this certificate can upgrade to a professional certificate by completing specific requirements.

A certificate that is valid for up to 60 months that is not restricted to any subject area or grade level. It is for teachers who meet most of the professional certification requirements and do not already have a current, valid, unrestricted teaching certificate from another Canadian province or territory. Teachers are given this certificate while they complete specific coursework requirements to upgrade to a professional certificate.

This certificate is valid for up to 60 months and is restricted to a specialty area such as chef instruction, technology education, or First Nations language and culture studies. Specified coursework requirements must be completed before the certificate can be upgraded to a professional certificate.

This certificate is given to proficient First Nations language speakers who are authorized to teach. Their proficiency is determined by a language authority who also recommends or endorses them for the teaching certificate.


Requirements to Apply

Note: Even if a teacher has not completed all of the following requirements, they may still qualify for a temporary teaching certificate while they finish their course work.

A B.C. Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma) or one of the following is required:

  • Quebec: A DEC after two years of CEGEP, plus one year of post-secondary education
  • United Kingdom: Completion of two or more "A" levels. "A" level coursework with an A or B grade is considered equivalent to six credits of first-year university course work 
  • A combination of secondary school and post-secondary studies: For example, Grade 10 plus a four-year undergraduate degree could be considered equivalent to Grade 12 graduation and two years of post-secondary study

Four years (120 credits) of post-secondary studies and a degree (or equivalent) is required. Post-secondary course work must also meet specific academic and teacher education requirements.

Academic Studies

Six credits of course work in English literature and composition are required. Post-secondary studies completed entirely in French must include six credits in French literature and composition.

Secondary school teachers also need at least 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

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

  • 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

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. They also must also meet the English course work requirement and teacher education course work requirements.

Teacher Education Program

Applicants also need 48 credits (about 1.5 to 2 years of full-time study) from an approved teacher education program that includes classroom teaching experience. For example:

  • A degree or diploma in education
  • Teacher training courses completed as part of an academic degree

Studies must include course work in:

  • Human development and learning
  • Educational foundations (history, philosophy, sociology)
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Diagnosing and providing for students with special needs
  • Evaluation and testing

Post-secondary education outside of Canada: 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:


  • Very short programs
  • On-the-job or employment-based programs
  • Programs completed entirely online or by distance education
  • Programs that do not include training or education related to teaching in the K-12 school system

You can still apply for certification if you have completed a teacher education program that is not recognized in B.C. Once your application and supporting documents are assessed, you will receive a letter that explains what you need to do to qualify.

You must be able to read, write and speak at an advanced level in English or French.

If you have completed any of your education in a country where English or French is not the only official language, you will need to provide proof of language proficiency.


Use one of the following tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) – use the TOEFL Institution Code 8693
  • International English Language Testing System Academic (IELTS Academic)

Send your results to the Ministry of Education as soon as possible. You can use results from previous tests taken within the last two years.

  • 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


If you teach in French or are planning to teach with the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie- Britannique, use one of the following tests:

  • For those employed by the Conseil scolaire francophone, a letter indicating acceptable proficiency in the French language
  • A minimum score of C1 on the Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) to teach secondary Immersion
  • A minimum score of B1 on the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) to teach Core French secondary or Elementary immersion

You must be a person of a good and moral character and fit and proper to teach. This is determined based on the following documents you submit when you apply for a certificate:

  • Application form (personal information questions)
  • Confidential character references
  • Assessment forms and teacher evaluation reports
  • Criminal record check results
  • Academic records
  • Statements of standing (if you are certified in another jurisdiction)

Teaching experience within the last 10 years is required for a Professional Certificate of Qualification.

  • 75 days of teaching experience in one academic year


  • 100 days of teaching experience over two consecutive academic years


  • A practicum completed as part of a teacher education program

Teachers who have a current, valid, unrestricted teaching certificate from another Canadian province or territory will likely qualify for a Professional Certificate.

If you do not meet the minimum teaching experience requirements, you may need to complete:

  • Some teacher education courses, including a practicum
  • An acceptable teacher education program (if you do not have relevant teaching experience within the last 20 years)

Applicants who have studied in an education system that is significantly different from the education system in Canada may need to take training to learn about the culture and curriculum of the Canadian education system. The training takes about one year to complete and includes 12 credits of teacher education courses related to your subject area. Some applicants choose the:

  • Professional Qualification Program at Simon Fraser University
  • Teacher Updating Program at University of British Columbia

Find out if you need this training by completing your application for a teaching certificate. Your evaluation letter will tell you if you need this training – you can use it to enroll in a university program.


Apply for a certificate