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1:I have a degree from outside of Canada and want to teach in Canada. What steps should I take to find out if I am eligible to teach in Canada?

Steps you will need to follow include:
  • (1)Contact the Ontario College of Teachers and speak with a representative. In this initial contact explain your situation and find out if your credits transfer from the country you obtained them in to Canada. Ask them what type of documents you need to present in order to be considered for evaluation.

    Prepare your documents before your arrive in Canada. This should include proof of a university degree and an official transcript with names of the courses you have completed. If you have more than one degree or courses from different universities do the same for each university. A basic requirement is generally a 4-year degree. The College may also request ministry documents such as a Teacher Certification.

    Official scores for English proficiency tests will also be needed. You can ask the Ontario College exactly about this and whether or not there is any other information you will need to be able to provide about language proficiency. Further down on this page we have included some of the info they have on the site.

    Please be advised that this is often a long process with several phone calls. It can take months to be approved. You may need to be able to access resources/institutions from your home country. It would be best if you can establish the contacts before you leave to come to Canada. If you do not have or think that you will be unable to get these documents (which is sometimes the case), you need to make this clear to the College and ask what recourse you should follow.

    Often the College will suggest that you need to do a B.Ed course or Early Childhood Education course. Past experience will help towards the completion of this process. The applications are available on-line if you would like to look at them. In the case of the University of Toronto 50% of applicants are accepted at the secondary level (grades 9-12). It is at the secondary level that one can specialize in history and geography (Social Sciences) as well as another discipline. Choose one which you have experience with through university or employment. If you opt for elementary (grades 1 to 8) level 25-40% gain admission. There is a demand for male primary teachers. The admissions committee will also look to see if you have experience in the age range you are applying for. You may want to keep this in mind. More information about the teaching programs available in Toronto is provided further below (See #5 in this list).

    Document all conversations and correspondence with the College as well as anywhere else, get the name of who you are speaking to, ask who you should address the letters to, and make sure that whatever documents you send...make copies of each for your own files.

    Info for College of Teachers:


    416-961-8800 (in Toronto)
    Toll-free telephone 1-888-534-2222 (in Ontario)


    Mailing address:
    121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor
    Toronto ON M4W 3M5

    Regarding Language:

    Applicants must provide assurance that they can communicate effectively in one of Ontario's official languages of instruction. If you have been trained outside Canada and completed your teacher education program in a language other than English and French, you are required to provide proof of proficiency in English or French by completing a language proficiency test. Applicants who complete their teacher training in English or who successfully complete an English-language proficiency test will be certified to teach in the English-language school system.

    Applicants who complete their teacher training in French or who successfully complete a French-language proficiency test will be certified to teach in the French-language school system.

    Individuals who have completed a teacher education program in the English language in Canada, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guyana, republic of Ireland, Jamaica, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Kitts-Nevis, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom or United States of America are exempt.

    Individuals who have completed a teacher education program in the French language in Canada, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco or Switzerland are exempt.

    If you are required to take the test, you must arrange for your test results to be sent directly by the testing agency to the Ontario College of Teachers. For test results to be considered valid, the test must have been completed no more than two years before the date the College receives your application.

    The College accepts the following test results as proof of language proficiency:


    International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    Evidence of an overall score of at least 7 on the IELTS with scores of at least 6.5 in reading and listening and scores of at least 7 in writing and speaking.

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - computer-based and Test of Spoken English (TSE) Evidence of a score of at least 250 on the computer-based TOEFL, with scores of at least 5.5 on the written component, 24 on each of the listening and reading components and a minimum score of 60 on the TSE.

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - paper-based and Test of Spoken English (TSE) Evidence of a score of at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, with scores of at least 58 on each of the listening and reading components, 5.5 on the Test of Written English (TWE) and a minimum score of 60 on the TSE.

  • (2) Volunteer in a school -- Your idea to gain Canadian experience is excellent. What will help you most is volunteering at a local school (If you have family or friends with children in school...their principal's may be more open to your participation). Some private schools may hire you as a casual teacher or for a position. Often they require Ontario Teacher's College certification though. If you volunteer, you need to work with a teacher/teachers who can provide you reference letters, help them in the classroom, and observe/help with daily routine. If they will let you teach a little this will help when you write a description of your work [some schools have strict policies on this though and you may only be able to volunteer]. Almost all schools require that you complete a criminal check. The process involves completing a form, paying a fee, and having them verify that you are okay to be in the classroom. During your volunteer time you should familiarize yourself with the Canadian Educational system and work with children in the age group which you would like to teach. This type of experience is extremely significant for new teachers in not only getting hired, but also if they are trying to get accepted into the B.Ed or training program. Even one afternoon a week would be helpful.

  • (3) Contact Skills For Change and speak with a representative. -- You can also get information from the Ontario College for teachers website about the BRIDGING PROGRAM. In September – Skills for Change – will offer a new program for Internationally Trained Teachers (ITT). Instead of having to go through a Bachelor of Education program. Newcomers can go through an upgrading program. You must qualify through the college in order to be part of the program. They have only recently hired a co-ordinator and there isn’t very much information about it. The program is in the development stage but they may have information which would be helpful. It will be offered under Sector Terminology, Information & Counseling (STIC).

    The head of Skills For Change in Toronto is:

    Peggy Edwards
    The contact information is: 791 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario M6C 1B8
    Phone 416 658-3101 Fax 416 658-6292
    Website http://www.skillsforchange.org

  • (4) Access the New Canadian Teacher’s Website:

    URL: http://newcanadianteachers.oise.utoronto.ca

    It is a new site and under construction but will have helpful information in it. This site contains resources and information for New Canadian and non-native English speaking teacher candidates at OISE/UT as well as for internationally trained teachers who are either considering teaching in Canada or already working in Canadian schools. You will find information about language and cross-cultural support services available from OISE/UT as well as links to resources outside of OISE/UT that have been selectively chosen based on the quality and the usefulness of the content offered. Services at the New Canadian and Non-Native English Speaking Teacher's Resource Site are designed to provide information that will support pre-service and in-service teachers as well as to strengthen a sense of community at OISE/UT and beyond. Our primary goal is to help you with the linguistic and cultural challenges you may be facing and to facilitate your ongoing professional development as a teacher in the Canadian context.

  • (5) If you need to upgrade your qualifications most universities you may be thinking of attending will have information on the Internet. Queen's university has a special program for internationally trained teachers. It is located in Kingston, ON. Ottawa University has a program as well as others in the province. If you live in Toronto, upon arrival, you can make an appointment with someone at the registrar at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto or York University so that they can explain the application process etc... You should bring your resume and additional documents in case they would like to look at them. Glendon and other colleges offer Early Childhood Education programs as well. Most degrees take one-year. You may want to look into the cost as it is nearly impossible to work and study at the same time. Another option is the Master's of Teaching program. This gives you a Master's in Education and a Bachelor of Education. You can teach in colleges as well as elementary schools with this degree. It takes 2 years.

Related Resources

  • Teach In Ontario A consultation centre for teachers and teaching in Ontario. If you are a teacher from another country or a teacher who has received teacher training in another country, Teach in Ontario can help you become eligible to teach in this province. In addition to helping you through the process of becoming a teacher in Ontario, Teach in Ontario offers services that will help make your job search and your transition to teaching in Ontario as simple as possible.
  • OCT (Ontario College of Teachers) Information Sessions For Teachers Educated Outside Of Ontario The website provides information on registering and preparing for the information sessions. During the sessions you will have an opportunity to ask questions about the entire application process.
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This page last updated: Nov. 01, 2004