How to Become a Teacher in BC

a woman writing on a white board / how to be a teacher in BC

Teachers play an incredibly important role in our lives, but in order to be effective teachers, they need to undergo special training and education. Here’s how you can become a teacher in British Columbia. 

Stages of Teacher Education

Becoming a teacher in BC actually follows simple steps. They make some time, but in the end it’ll all be worth it.

Stage 1: A Bachelor’s Degree

You technically have three options when it comes to what Bachelor’s degree you want to graduate with.

  1. Any teachable discipline – These subjects are your typical maths, sciences, history, English, and all those kinds of subjects. If you study any of these majors, then you have a goal to teach that specific subject at school. Taking this route may take six to seven years of school, depending on how quickly you want to finish.
  1. Bachelor’s of Education – If you choose this route, you’re more likely going to be an elementary or middle school teacher. The Bachelor’s of Education is more generalised and will equip you with teaching techniques for young to old. The bright side is that you may not have to spend as long at school. 
  1. Minor or Double Major – Much like the first option, this will also take some time. You can combine a Bachelor’s of your choice with an Education minor or vice versa. A double major doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to spend eight or more years at school, but it’s a plan that allows you to accomplish both Major’s basic skills in order to graduate with both.

Regardless of what you do during your time in post-secondary education, you must complete at least the following:

  • Six credits of coursework 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

If you want to become a secondary teacher, you’ll have to accomplish the above and along with an equivalent of 24 credits subject areas such as: 

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Science
  • English
  • First Nations Studies
  • French
  • General Science
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • Mandarin
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Technology Education

The above list is non-exhaustive. This is generally what most teachers go for, but if you would like to see other subjects available, then see the COQ Requirements

Stage 2: Teacher Training

If you completed a Bachelor’s of Education, there’s no need for you to take extra training to be a teacher. In other cases, you’ll need to take a post-degree program in order to receive the proper training in child development and teaching pedagogy. 

Regardless, this is a required step in your education. In order to apply for the certificate of qualification in the next stage, you will have to provide proof that you have completed teacher training. Depending on where you get this further training can take one to two extra years of education.

Some schools where you can receive instruction on how to be a teacher include (and are not limited to):

  • Simon Fraser University (SFU)
  • University of the Fraser Valley (UFV)
  • University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Douglas College
  • Langara College

You will need to have completed 48 credits worth of education and include 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

Stage 3: Apply for the Certificate of Qualification

The BC website is transparent about what you need to accomplish in order to qualify as a teacher. Once you have the above requirements, you can make an account with a BCeID, then submit all the documents. 

You will likely have to give your transcripts and credentials so that they can see that you have done everything. 

Regarding Other Provinces

For other provinces, the requirements will have a slight variation. For example, if you’re looking to be a teacher in Ontario, you’ll still have to finish a Bachelor’s and have teacher training, but they have a College of Teachers. In which, it’s a community of teachers and membership allows you to teach in Ontario. 

If you are looking to teach in other provinces, make sure to look into each province’s requirements. Ultimately, you can assume that you will need a Bachelor’s combined with a teaching credential. 

Why Study Teaching

Some of the best choices you can make during your time as a student is to take an education minor. You can pair it with your current major and open up your options for your future career or careers. 

Even if you decide not to become a teacher, you still hold degrees that can get you anywhere you set your mind to. A degree doesn’t dedicate your path after all, it gives you a new perspective on wherever your life takes you. 

Check out what teaching is like in BC: High Opportunity Occupation

Sources: Become a BC Certified Teacher VPL Skilled Immigrant Infocentre – Teachers COQ Requirements

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