Teacher Regulation Branch: Questions and Answers for Becoming a Certified Teacher in BC

BC's Ministry of Education Teacher Regulation Branch on steps to launch your teaching career.

Make a Future recently held a well-attended info session with the TRB to clarify the certification process for domestic and international applicants.

Here is a round-up of the session, including some high-level questions that were asked, to help you understand what is required to teach in BC. Additionally, there are several links to learn more about what steps to take based on your situation and specific needs.

Before jumping in, please note three key takeaways from the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) to help move the process along:

  • If you are seriously interested in moving to BC, apply as soon as possible.
  • At the onset of your application, ensure all post-secondary institutions that you attended are listed on your application to reduce the chance of delays at the time of evaluation.
  • Once you receive your list of required documents, upload the signed criminal record check consent form and other identification documents.
  • Check your account regularly for updates and information.

What type of teaching certificate should I apply for?

Explore the different teaching certificates in British Columbia, including Certificates of Qualification, Independent School Teaching Certificates, and First Nations Language Teaching Certificates.

If you are still trying to decide which teaching certificate to apply for, the Ministry of Education and Child Care has created a tool to help you decide which teaching certificate to apply for.

The link also has information on Letters of Permission, a special permit that allows someone to teach without a certificate in a particular school for up to one school year.

It will only be used when a certified teacher is unavailable to fill a vacant position. The employer and the applicant each submit a part of the application form. The employer is responsible for helping the applicant apply for the Letter of Permission.

Students and teacher looking at plants


What can I expect in the BC teacher certificate application process?  

This graphic provides a clear path for applicants, showing how an application moves through the process. 

Be aware that you must complete the process within three years of submitting your application. 

What steps do I take to apply for a teaching certificate in BC if I am from outside the province or the country? 

If you hold a current, valid, unrestricted teaching certificate from another Canadian province or territory, you may qualify for a certificate of qualification under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) without completing any further coursework. The TRB will evaluate your application and submitted documents after you apply for a teaching certificate. 

For international applicants, the TRB can only advise eligibility for a certificate once the evaluation is complete. However, here are some helpful links that provide information on required country-specific documents. 

 For international applicants, this section answers questions about familiarization training and additional teacher education program documents. 

What are conditional certificates for teaching in BC? 

The application process is the same, with the goal of reaching full certification. A conditional certificate means that an applicant has met the minimum requirements for certification and can be hired, but you must complete certain requirements to upgrade to a Professional Certificate of Qualification and have up to 60 months (five years) to do so.   

In some circumstances, applicants who still need to complete specific academic and professional education requirements may be issued a Conditional Certificate of Qualification. This temporary certificate is valid for up to 60 months (five years). Applicants issued this certificate must complete any remaining academic and professional education requirements within the timeframe.  

Can you teach in all schools with a conditional certificate? 

Yes, however, you have up to 60 months (five years) to complete the steps to becoming fully certified. 

What about independent school certification? Do I need to complete a practicum? 

Teachers at BC independent schools (classified as groups 1, 2, or 4) must have an Independent School Teaching Certificate (ISTC) or a Certificate of Qualification. To learn more about teaching requirements for independent schools, visit the link below: 


How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in BC? 

It can depend on several factors such as how busy the system is when you apply and how long it takes an applicant to submit documents to us. Currently, the application process, from start to finish, for Canadian applicants can take up to six months, and for international applicants, it can take ten months. Timelines can vary depending on how long it takes for each applicant to have documents submitted to the TRB. 

For certification of qualification applicants who have completed a teacher education program in Canada, the wait time for an evaluation is one month from the date the application is complete. For certification of qualification applicants who have completed an international teacher education program, the wait time for an evaluation is at least three months from the date the application is complete. This information is based on the TRB's current service standards. 

The Teacher Regulation Branch recommends applicants consent to a criminal record check as soon as their application has been reviewed. It can delay the process if done later. The TRB completes their own criminal record checks and cannot accept any previously completed checks. 

Additionally, the TRB notes that you should be sure that all your post-secondary information is included in your application. Not having all transcripts at the onset can also cause delays. 

I have almost completed my B. Ed in Ontario. If I apply for the conditional certification now, will I have to reapply for the official certification once I graduate?  

You should first apply for certification in the province where you completed your Teacher Education Program (TEP) and then for your BC certificate. When you apply for a certificate, you do not select a professional or conditional certificate; the TRB determines this. You may qualify for a certificate under CFTA without completing any further coursework. 

What if I have done some of my training online? Does this affect my eligibility? 

Details regarding distance teacher education programs are available here.  

Whether you are a domestic or international student, if you have completed any part of a teacher education program by distance or online, your institution may need to provide details about the studies completed within your program. Upon request, the TRB may ask you to provide: 

  • The courses that you completed face-to-face. 
  • The courses that you completed by distance or online. 
  • The number of lecture hours you attended for each on-campus course. 

The site recommends asking your institution to send this information directly to the Ministry of Education and Child Care. 

What about setting my pay scale? 

To learn more about setting your pay scale, visit the Teacher Qualification Service (TQS). Pay is determined by the TQS and the employer. Pay is determined by the TQS and the employer. 

I will finish my teaching program in early December (ending with the 10-week practicum). Can I start my application process early? 

You can register for a Basic BCeID account on the TRB your account webpage to start your application for certification. The TRB recommends applying before your program has been completed. 

Once you complete your TEP program, request that your institution submits transcripts for your application (if it is noted on your required documents list). Some TEP programs in BC will automatically send your transcript and recommendation to the TRB. Please check your list of required documents to confirm this. The TRB only evaluates the application once all required documents have been submitted, otherwise it sits in the system as an in-progress application. 

I have two teachers who have completed applications as of the beginning of January. Their original applications were submitted in October.  How can we rely on hiring international teachers when it takes 7+ months for their certification to be approved? 

The TRB is responsible for preserving the integrity of the education system by ensuring that an applicant meets the academic and professional requirements for certification and is of good moral character and fit and proper to teach in BC K-12 schools.  

An applicant can check the status of their application here, and an employer can potentially request an LOP if there are no certified teachers available to fill a vacant position. An applicant can apply for more than one certificate type at the same time. 

What is required for language levels in English for a teaching certificate in BC? 

This link provides a breakdown of the ways you can demonstrate English language proficiency. 

I'm getting my B. Ed. in Alberta, does an interim Alberta teacher certification work in a BC application?  

If you hold a valid teaching certificate from another Canadian province, you can likely receive a certificate of qualification without completing any further coursework.  

Meanwhile, applicants who completed their teacher education outside of Canada and who will apply for a Certificate of Qualification in the fall of 2024 should regularly check the Ministry of Education and Child Care website for updates on potential changes.