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)

System Restricted Certificate to Montessori or Waldorf
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. Eligibility criteria include:

  • 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education from a recognized institution.

  • 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 perspective.

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 a practicum that is supervised and evaluated will be recognised.

System Restricted Certificate to l’Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger (AEFE)
This certificate restricts the holder to teaching in schools that operate under l’Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger (AEFE). Eligibility criteria include:

  • 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; and

  • 120 or more semester hour credits of relevant post-secondary education.

System Restricted Certificates are non-expiring upon issue.

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. These certificates are restricted to teaching in the following subject categories:

     

Aboriginal Education
Applied Skills
Fine Arts
English Language Arts
French
Library

          

Health Sciences
Humanities
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Second Languages
Special Education

Eligibility criteria 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 at least one of the teachable areas identified with the applicable subject category below (certificates can be issued to an applicant under multiple subject categories if the applicant demonstrates these academic qualifications under each category):

Subject Category
(SR Restriction)
Teachable Area/Academic Qualifications
Aboriginal Education First Nations Education
Applied Skills Accounting +
Business Education
Computer Science/Programming +
Culinary Arts
E-Commerce
Entrepreneurship & Marketing
Food Studies
Home Economics
Technology Education +
Textiles

+ Qualifications could also fall under STEM subject area
Fine Arts * Art
Art Studio
Dance
Directing & Scriptwriting
Drama
Drawing and Painting
Film & Television
Graphic Arts
Music
Photography
Sculpture
Theatre Production
English Language Arts Composition
Creative Writing
English
Journalism
Literary Studies
New Media
Spoken Language (Focus on verbal communications and oral traditions)
French Core French
Français langue première
Français langue second – immersion
Library Library
Science, Technology,
Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM)
Accounting +
Anatomy
Astronomy
Biology
Calculus
Chemistry
Computer Science/Programming +
Environmental Science
General Science **
Geography
Geology/Earth Science
Geometry
Life Sciences
Mathematics
Ocean Science
Physical Geography
Physics
Statistics

+ Qualifications could also fall under Applied Skills
Health Sciences Active Living
Fitness and Conditioning
Health Education
Outdoor Education
Physical Education
Kinesiology
Second Languages English as a Second Language (ESL)
French as a Second Language (FSL)
German
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Mandarin
Punjabi
Russian
Spanish
Humanities Anthropology
Asian Studies
BC First Peoples
Canadian Studies
Career Education
Classical Civilization
Comparative Cultures
Comparative World Religions
Contemporary Indigenous Studies
Economics
Geography
History
Human Geography
Journalism
Law Studies
Philosophy
Political Science
Psychology
Religious Studies
Social Studies ***
Sociology
Special Education Special Education

Note: SR Certificates 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).

** 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 and Economics.

Subject Restricted 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.

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.

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.

School and Subject Restricted 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.

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, such as:

  • 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 assessment.

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.

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