Independent School Teaching Certificate
Teachers at B.C. independent and First Nations schools (classified as group 1, 2, or 4) must have an Independent School Teaching Certificate (ISTC) or a Certificate of Qualification.
A non-expiring certificate that restricts to teaching within a B.C. independent Montessori or Waldorf school. The certificate can also:
- Be restricted to Kindergarten, depending on the teaching program completed
- Be issued for teaching in schools that operate under l’Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger (AEFE)
This certificate restricts educators to teach subjects that are directly related to their post-secondary studies.
The certificate is initially valid for up to 60 months and can be upgraded to a non-expiring certificate if a teacher demonstrates successful teaching experience for at least 1.5 years full time (or equivalent part time). Teacher-on-call experience (substitute teaching) is not accepted.
These certificates are not issued to elementary generalists.
This certificate restricts educators to teach:
- Only the subjects related to their specialized post-secondary training, unique life skills or practical experience (e.g. religious studies or board authority approved courses)
- Only for the independent authority seeking to hire them
- Specific grades, depending on the applicant’s credentials, training and experience
The certificate is initially valid for up to 60 months. It can be upgraded to a non-expiring certificate if the teacher demonstrates successful teaching experience for at least 1.5 years full time (or equivalent part time). Teacher-on-call experience (substitute teaching) is not accepted.
SSR certificates are not issued for Special Education or for core, provincially-regulated subjects such as: Drama, English, Fine Art, French, Math, Music, Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Social Studies (including History and Geography), Physical Education, and Technology Education.
In some cases, an application for these courses may be considered, depending a school authority’s specific school or community identity or if it's difficult to find teachers for a specific teaching area. As an alternative, you may consider applying for a Letter of Permission.
Requirements to Apply
System Restricted Certificate to Montessori or Waldorf
- 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education from a recognized institution
- A teaching credential from a recognized institution that provides teacher training solely within the Montessori or Waldorf philosophical, educational or pedagogical perspective
Only teacher education programs that contain significant on-campus education and a practicum that is supervised and evaluated will be recognized. Programs completed entirely by distance/online education are unlikely to be recognized. Programs completed internationally will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Montessori education programs must be accredited through:
- Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
- American Montessori Society (AMS)
- Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE)
Waldorf education programs must be completed in North America accredited through:
- Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN)
- Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)
System Restricted Certificate to l’Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger (AEFE)
- Any of the following certificates demonstrating successful completion of a competitive examination, which qualify the holder to teach in the French public school system: CRPE, CAPE, CAPES, CAPET, CAFEP, CAPLP, CAPEPS, or the Agrégation
- 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education
Subject Restricted Certificate
- A degree and 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education from a recognized institution
- 18 credits of upper level (third and fourth year) academic course work or 30 credits of any level academic course work in at least one valid teachable area with the applicable subject category. Certificates can be issued to an applicant under multiple subject categories if the applicant demonstrates academic qualifications under each category
- For the subject category of additional languages, in the absence of 30 credits (18 upper level credits) of course work in a teaching area, applicants who have a first language other than English will be given 30 credits of academic course work in that language if they have both of the following:
- High school completion and a post-secondary degree in a country where that language is the primary language of instruction
- Six credits of literature and composition at the post-secondary level in the language to be taught
A letter from the institution may be required confirming the language of instruction for the program attended.
Note: The Director of Certification may add a teachable area or academic qualification to one of the established subject categories. Only the ISTCSC may add additional Subject Categories to the list.
School and Subject Restricted Certificate (SSR)
- An SSR-1 designation requires post-secondary training in a teachable subject area, and is typically limited to grades K-9
- An SSR-2 designation requires post-secondary training and credential completion (certificate, diploma, etc.) and is typically needed for instruction of electives at the Graduation Program level
You must be able to read, write and speak at an advanced level in English or French.
Proof of language proficiency may be required if your first language is not English or French. You will be notified by the Ministry if language proficiency is required.
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)
System Restricted and Subject Restricted Independent School Teaching Certificates
- TOEFL iBT: a total 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
School and Subject Restricted Independent School Teaching Certificate
- TOEFL iBT: a total score of 85 with a minimum of 20 on reading, 20 on listening, 25 on speaking and 20 on writing
- IELTS Academic: overall band and speaking score of 6 with no band below 5
Use the following test:
- A minimum score of B1 on the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF)
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 (if requested)
- Assessment forms and teacher evaluation reports
- Criminal record check results
- Academic records
- Statements of standing (if you are certified in another jurisdiction)
The Ministry of Education can accept post-secondary transcript in different ways
- Find out more about submitting your documents
The Ministry of Education uses requirements established by the Independent School Teaching Certificate Standards Committee for the regulation and certification of educators in B.C. independent schools.