Eligibility Requirements for an Independent School Teacher Certificate
The information in this section applies to you if you have not completed a teacher
education program and contains information about applying for a certificate that
will enable you to teach in a specific area(s) in the BC kindergarten to grade 12
independent school system. To apply for a certificate that enables you to teach
in all BC kindergarten to grade 12 schools (public, independent and First Nations
schools), you need to have completed an approved teacher education program. For
more information, please visit Becoming
a Teacher on our website. If you are interested in pursuing a teacher
training program in BC, please visit
Teacher Education on our website.
Independent School Teaching Certificate Types and Requirements
The Teacher Regulation Branch issues three types of
Independent School Teaching Certificates (ISTC). Please note that
this is a general introduction to our certificate types and requirements. We will
not be able to tell you what you may need to do to obtain a certificate until we
evaluate your complete application.
Proficiency in English or French
To qualify for an ISTC you must meet the English or French language proficiency
requirements. You must be able to read, write and speak at an advanced level in
either language. Proof of language proficiency is required where the first language
is not English or French. Please refer to
Language Proficiency for information on the acceptable tests and
required scores for each Independent School Teacher Certificate.
System Restricted Teaching Certificate (SYR)
This certificate restricts the holder to teaching within a BC Independent Montessori
or Waldorf School. A certificate can be further restricted to kindergarten depending
on the program completed. System Restricted Certificates are non-expiring upon issue
due to the fact that recognized Montessori and Waldorf programs contain practicum
that is supervised and evaluated. Eligibility criteria for the SYR Certificate include:
- 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education from a recognized
- The above-noted 120 semester hour credits of post-secondary education must include
a teaching credential from a recognized institution that provides teacher training
solely within the Montessori or Waldorf philosophical, educational, or pedagogical
For certificates restricted to Montessori Education, the Teacher Regulation Branch
is currently only recognizing programs that are accredited through the Association
Montessori Internationale (AMI), American Montessori Society (AMS), or the Montessori
Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). These bodies are recognised
in North America as accrediting programs that adhere to the Montessori principles
and carry out regular inspections of the programs they accredit. Programs completed
internationally will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
For certificates restricted to Waldorf Education, the Teacher Regulation Branch
is currently only recognising Waldorf education programs completed in North America
that are accredited through the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America
(WECAN) or the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Programs
completed internationally will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Programs that are completed entirely by distance/online education are unlikely to
be recognised by these bodies and are therefore not currently recognised by the
Teacher Regulation Branch. The Montessori/Waldorf method and philosophies are inherently
practical and therefore only teacher education programs that contain significant
on-campus education and supervised practicum will be recognised. Proof of language
proficiency is required where the first language is not English or French.
Subject Restricted Teaching Certificate (SR)
This certificate restricts the holder to teaching subject(s) within the BC Independent
School System that are directly related to his/her post-secondary subject concentrations.
SR Certificates are interim certificates, initially valid for up to 60 months. To
upgrade to a non-expiring certificate, the certificate holder must demonstrate successful
teaching in an acceptable BC Independent School for at least 1.5 years full time
(or equivalent part time). Teacher-on-call experience (substitute teaching) is not
accepted to upgrade to a non-expiring certificate. Eligibility criteria for the
SR Certificate include:
- 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 the following core teachable areas.
First Nations Education
General Science ***
Social Studies ****
Note: SR Certificates must be restricted to one or more teachable areas. Therefore,
they are not issued to elementary generalists. The above list of teachable areas
is not exhaustive. Exceptions can be made for certain languages and Religious Studies/Education.
* At least six credits in a fine and performing arts teaching area must be studies
in theory (i.e. non-studio).
** Subject Restricted Certificates are not issued for English as a Second Language
*** General Science should include courses from a combination of the following disciplines:
Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Physical Geography, Geology/Earth Science, Ocean Science,
Environmental Science and Astronomy.
**** Social studies should include courses from a combination of the following disciplines:
History, Geography, Canadian Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology
School and Subject Restricted Teaching Certificate (SSR)
This certificate restricts the holder to teaching only at the sponsoring authority
seeking to employ the applicant, and in one or more subjects related to the holder's
specialized post-secondary training, unique life skills or practical experience.
SSR certificates may also be grade-restricted, depending on the applicant's credentials,
training and experience. SSR Certificates are interim certificates, initially valid
for up to 60 months. To upgrade to a non-expiring certificate, the certificate holder
must demonstrate successful teaching in an acceptable BC Independent School for
at least 1.5 years full time (or equivalent part time). Teacher-on-call experience
(substitute teaching) is not accepted to upgrade to a non-expiring certificate.
All SSR applications are approved by the Director of Certification at the Teacher
Regulation Branch in consultation with the Inspector of Independent Schools.
- An SSR-1 designation normally requires post-secondary training in a teachable subject
area, and is typically limited to grades K-9;
- An SSR-2 designation normally requires post-secondary training and credential completion
(certificate, diploma, etc.) and is typically needed for instruction of electives
at the Graduation Program level.
SSR certificates are not normally issued for core provincially regulated subjects
commonly taught in the BC school system 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.
Applications for SSR Certificates in Special Education will not be considered.
Applications for SSR Certificates in the areas of Drama, Fine Art, and Music may
be considered depending on a School Authority's specific school or community identity.
SSR applications in teaching areas that are difficult to fill (e.g. Foreign Languages,
Industrial or Technology Education) will also be considered. Applications for the
SSR in Religious Studies/Education or in Board Authority Approved (BAA) authorized
courses are well suited.
Because areas such as Drama, Fine Art, French (as well as other languages), Music,
Industrial or Technology Education are considered core provincially regulated subjects,
these applications may be denied depending on particular circumstances. If this
is the case, the Director of Certification may suggest that an application for a
Letter of Permission (LOP) be made jointly by the individual and the School Authority.
If an employer has an individual teaching on an LOP (who has been denied the SSR),
the employer will be required to post and advertise the position again in the following
school year. If the employer is still unable to fill this position with a certified
teacher, the Director of Certification, in consultation with Inspector of Independent
Schools, will consider the issuance of an SSR to the individual. This ensures that
the School Authority continues to advertise the job in an attempt to find a certified
individual to fill the position.
Fitness to Teach
You must be a person of a good and moral character to qualify for a certificate.
We use the following to evaluate your suitability or "fitness" to teach:
- the confidential character reference forms
- the criminal record check results
- in some cases, the results of a fingerprint search
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,
- 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
Ready to apply?
Please review the Standards for Educators,
the application process
and the required application documents.
Then, create your online account in the Applicants'
Area and submit your application.