Whether in the classroom, the principal’s office or the district school board, all members of the College begin their careers with formal training in a teacher education program that meets the requirements set out in regulation. The teaching licence issued to you annually by the College is an acknowledgement to employers and the public of your qualifications and credentials.
Your Professional Requirements
The Education Act defines a teacher as a member of the College. Clearly defining academic, professional, language proficiency and suitability requirements for teacher certification is one way in which the College assures its membership and the public that all teaching professionals are qualified to work in publicly funded schools in Ontario.
The information in this section provides detailed information about Basic Qualifications, Additional Qualifications and the Ministry of Education’s New Teacher Induction Program. All members of the College must meet the following requirements.
Teacher education programs
Teachers who complete their teacher education program in Ontario have the required areas of study – commonly known as Basic Qualifications – to teach in two consecutive divisions – Primary/Junior, Junior/ Intermediate, Intermediate/Senior or Grades 9–10/ Grades 11–12 in technological education. It is the Basic Qualification that determines if you are qualified as a general education or a technological education teacher, and in what language, grades and subjects you may teach.
Teachers in technological education subjects have also provided work experience and proof of competence in the areas selected as options in their teacher education program.
Teachers who completed their teacher education program outside Ontario are granted basic qualifications that reflect their areas of study.
Your Basic Qualifications are listed on your Certificate of Qualification and Registration. They identify the divisions or areas of study that were a focus in your teacher education program.
In Ontario, teachers must be qualified in at least two consecutive divisions. The divisions are: Primary (Grades K–3), Junior (Grades 4–6), Intermediate (Grades 7–10) and Senior (Grades 11–12).
Junior/Intermediate teachers must be qualified in at least one general education subject appropriate for Grades 7 and 8 from the list. Teachers who hold Intermediate/Senior qualifications must be qualified in two general education subjects from that list.
Teachers of technological education must be qualified in subjects from the technological education list. A teacher may add qualifications by taking Additional Basic Qualification courses in different divisions and/or subjects.
If you completed your teacher education program at an English-language faculty, your Basic Qualifications are listed in English, indicating that you are qualified to teach in the English-language system. If you completed your program at a French-language faculty, your qualifications are listed in French, indicating that you are qualified to teach in the French-language system. If you did not complete your teacher education program in English or French but provided proof of language proficiency in one of these languages, your qualifications are listed in that language.
Since 2000, applicants to the College have been required to provide proof of language proficiency in English or French in order to be certified to teach in Ontario. The College records the names of teacher education degrees, and initial and Additional Qualification courses on your certificate.
The College issued a professional advisory, Additional Qualifications: Extending Professional Knowledge, to help members understand teaching qualifications in Ontario. The advisory is available here.
Find an AQ
The College has made searching for Additional Qualification (AQ) courses easier and more convenient for you. The College’s online search tool, Find an AQ, will help you find the AQ and the provider to suit your specific needs.
You can enter a subject area, course name, Additional Qualification schedule, keyword or provider to find a list of related courses.
Access Find an AQ directly from the College’s main page at www.oct.ca or under Additional Qualifications.
Transitional certificate holders are not eligible to enrol in College-accredited AQ programs.
New Teacher Induction Program
All new Ontario Certified Teachers must complete the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP). The program provides support, including mentoring, for newly certified teachers in permanent positions in publicly funded schools.
Teachers have up to two years to complete the program. Boards notify the College when teachers have successfully completed the program so that the NTIP notation can be added to their teaching certificate.
Temporary Letter of Approval
School boards apply for a Temporary Letter of Approval (TLA) when they cannot find teaching professionals with the qualifications they need to fill certain subject areas or teaching needs.
The responsibility for granting TLAs does not lie with the College but rather rests with the Ministry of Education.
TLA applications must be sent to the regional offices of the Ministry and not to the Ontario College of Teachers. Only district school boards and other authorized employers can apply for a TLA.
The College’s Evaluation Services Unit has extensive information about teacher education in other parts of Canada and the world. The College relies on this information to evaluate
the qualifications and credentials of individuals who have been educated and/or certified outside Ontario.
If you have taken a course in teaching methodology outside Ontario and would like to add it as an Additional Qualification (AQ) to your certificate, you can do so by filling out an Application for Equivalent Standing, available on the College web site at www.oct.ca - Forms. Send the completed form and a fee* per qualification to the College. AQ equivalency may be granted only for coursework, not for teaching experience.
You must also arrange for official documentation of your successful completion of the course to be sent directly to the College with the seal and signature of the granting institution’s registrar. The institution must include a covering letter in English or French that carries your name and your College registration number.
To qualify for equivalent standing, a course must:
- be beyond the teacher education program required for initial certification
- have been completed as part of an accredited teacher education program that is acceptable to the College
- match the curriculum content of the Additional Qualification guideline for which you seek equivalency (the guidelines are posted here)
- consist of at least 125 hours of coursework
- contain a concentrated study of teaching methodology appropriate for curriculum or school settings in Ontario.
If equivalency is granted, the College will add the Additional Qualification to your record, including your record on the Find a Teacher section of the website, and send you an acknowledgement letter. You can use this letter, along with your current Certificate of Qualification and Registration, as official confirmation for employers and faculties of education, as well as Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario (QECO) and Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) certification. QECO and OSSTF evaluate teachers’ qualifications for salary purposes.
The Additional Qualification will appear on your Certificate of Qualification and Registration on the College website within a few days. You can print the updated certificate yourself for free from the Members section, or if you prefer, you can request that the College reprint your certificate for a fee*.
Supervisory Officer’s Qualification
There are provisions for a person to be appointed to a supervisory officer’s position without having completed the Supervisory Officer’s Qualification.
Additionally, provisions exist for a candidate’s prior learning and experience to be considered in lieu of one or more Supervisory Officer’s Qualification modules.
The Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Application Guide is available on the College web site at www.oct.ca - Additional Qualifications - Schedules and Guidelines g Supervisory Officer’s Qualification.
*Current fees are listed here.
Your Certificate of Qualification and Registration
When you are accepted as a member, the College sends you either a Certificate of Qualification and Registration or a Transitional Certificate of Qualification and Registration.
The College issues and may suspend, cancel, revoke and reinstate Certificates of Qualification and Registration.
Certificate of Qualification and Registration
A Certificate of Qualification and Registration is for College members who completed their teacher education program and other registration requirements. Some Certificate of Qualification and Registration holders may have terms, conditions and limitations on their certificate. They must complete the conditions within three years.
Members in good standing who provide evidence they are working towards the requirement, may request a one-year extension by making the request to the Registrar before expiration. If the requirement is met, the condition is removed. A member’s licence to teach will expire if the requirement is not completed within that time. Those with expired certificates must complete their teacher education program before reapplying to the College.
Transitional Certificate of Qualification and Registration
A Transitional Certificate of Qualification and Registration is for College members who are still completing their professional education and are enrolled in a College-accredited, multi-session program or an equivalent in another Canadian province or territory. For example, they have completed only the first session of their multi-session teacher education program. This certificate is valid for six years.
If the professional education program is not completed within six years, a one-year extension may be requested. A member’s certificate will expire if the program of professional education is not completed in that time. Those with expired certificates must complete their teacher education program before reapplying to the College.
The transitional certificate is provided to:
- people of First Nations, Métis or Inuit ancestry preparing to teach in the Primary and Junior divisions
- teacher candidates preparing to teach technological education, a Native language or in the French-language school system
- teacher candidates who are enrolled in a multi-session program that will prepare them to teach students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
The transitional certificate is converted to a Certificate of Qualification and Registration when the teacher education program has been completed.
Your annual certificate is issued when you renew your licence to teach in Ontario. To maintain your licence, you must pay an annual membership fee. The fee is due on January 1, and you must pay it no later than April 15 to avoid suspension and the reinstatement fee. To see or print a copy of your certificate, please go to the Members section of the College website.
Your certificate outlines your teaching qualifications, degrees earned, your program of teacher education, initial qualifications, referred to commonly as basic qualifications, and Additional Qualifications.
Basic Qualifications identify the divisions or areas for which you have successfully completed studies in teaching methodology: Primary (Grades K–3), Junior (Grades 4–6), Intermediate (Grades 7–10) and Senior (Grades 11–12) or Technological Education (Grades 9–10) and (Grades 11–12).
Additional Qualifications identify that you have successfully completed courses in education methodology, school administration or school board administration.
The certificate also notes any conditions you must fulfill and the time allotted to complete them.
If you complete an accredited Additional Qualification course during the year, the faculty of education or other provider automatically sends electronic confirmation to the College that you have successfully completed the course. If you included your email address when you opened a personal account in the Members’ Area of the College web site, we will notify you when the AQ is added to your record.
Your Additional Qualifications appear on your record on Find a Teacher and on your printable teaching certificate in the Members section of the College website.
Teaching by Non-Members
Two provisions in the Education Act and its regulations allow a board, under special circumstances,
to hire a non-member of the College to teach.
Letter of Permission
The Minister of Education may, by granting a Letter of Permission to a board, authorize the board to employ
a person to teach who is not a member of the College.
A Letter of Permission is issued only after a school board has pursued all recruitment requirements as laid out in regulation and found that no member of the College is available to fill the position.
A Letter of Permission is effective only for a specified time and a specified position and may not exceed one year.
Under an emergency provision, a school board may appoint a person who is not a teacher in the event
that no member of the College is available. In this circumstance, a board may employ a person for up to
10 school days who is 18 years or older and who holds an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
Professional Advisory on Additional Qualifications: Extending Professional Knowledge
The Council of the College approved a professional advisory on extending professional knowledge through Additional Qualifications on March 28, 2008. The intent of this advisory is to clarify for members the purpose of the regulated system of qualifications in a division or subject, commonly referred to as Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs) and Additional Qualifications (AQs). They play an important role in a teacher’s ongoing professional learning. This advisory is the outcome of an intensive review of teachers’ qualifications by the College, its members and its education partners.
Extending Professional Knowledge
Ongoing professional learning is an integral part of teaching. The College mandate includes a requirement to provide for the ongoing education of members. The profession’s standards reflect the expectation that all members will participate in ongoing learning. Adding to professional knowledge enhances teaching practice, which improves student learning.
Ongoing learning, as expressed in the College’s Professional Learning Framework, covers a wide range of activities that help members expand their knowledge, increase their skills
and prepare for career changes.
Many valuable courses and opportunities are offered by universities, colleges, teacher federations, principals’ organizations, school boards, subject organizations and community organizations.
The regulated system of Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs) and Additional Qualifications (AQs) is one form of professional learning. ABQs/AQs are recognized in legislation, accredited by the College, offered by providers approved by the College and, when successfully completed, recorded on the member’s Certificate of Qualification and Registration.
The College works with experts to develop guidelines that providers must use in creating ABQs and AQs. Guidelines establish content, learning expectations, instructional strategies and forms of assessment. The College itself does not conduct courses or programs.
Each year, thousands of members enrol in and complete additional qualification courses. The College is committed to increasing accessibility to these courses because of the unique educational value they offer to College members. Some additional qualifications are recognized for salary purposes.
This advisory presents members with an excellent opportunity to assess their plans for ongoing professional learning.
Additional Basic Qualifications courses allow teachers to add another division or subject area to what they are already qualified to teach. ABQ courses can prepare teachers to teach students at the Primary, Junior, Intermediate or Senior level or in Technological Education. They can also provide English or French-speaking teachers with the skills to work in the other language.
Additional Qualifications courses allow members to expand their knowledge and skills within the divisions and subjects in which they are already qualified or to acquire knowledge in new subject areas. Specialist and honour specialist courses allow teachers to focus on leadership and curriculum development.
The College’s review of teachers’ qualifications in 2006 resulted in the creation or revision of more than 150 ABQs and AQs. Out-of-date courses have been dropped and some courses modified to respond to changes to the Ontario curriculum.
The new courses reflect the evolution of the education environment and requests from College members. Some examples are:
- Aboriginal Peoples: Understanding Traditional Teachings, Histories, Current Issues and Cultures
- Enseignement en milieu minoritaire
- Special Education for Administrators
- Teaching in the Catholic School System
- Teaching and Learning through E-learning.
Members can access a complete list of additional qualifications here.
Qualifications in regulation
Most additional qualifications are organized into six schedules – A, B, C, D, E and F – that are part of the Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation:
- Schedule A: One-session Additional Basic Qualifications courses prepare members to teach in another division or general education subject area. They also support a teacher’s professional practice by extending skills and knowledge in design, delivery and assessment in the division or subject.
- Schedule B: One-session Additional Basic Qualifications courses prepare members to teach additional technological education courses. They support a teacher’s professional practice by adding to technical proficiency and pedagogical knowledge and skill.
- Schedule C: One-session Additional Qualifications courses extend teachers’ knowledge and skills in design and delivery of specific programs. They also support professional practice by preparing teachers for specific roles.
- Schedule D:Three-part specialist courses develop professional knowledge and teaching practice in
a particular subject or in cross or integrated curriculum areas.They enable teachers to explore pedagogy related to a subject area without taking more subject-specific university courses.They also prepare a teacher
to assume leadership roles such as co-ordinator or consultant for a particular course or program.
- Schedule E: One-session honour specialist courses in general education and one-session honour technological education specialist courses develop leadership in teaching practice for the design and delivery of particular subject areas. They may allow a teacher to assume leadership roles for particular courses or programs.
- Schedule F: One-session courses to provide technological education teachers with the opportunity to gain a greater depth of knowledge in their broad-based technology area.
Principal’s Qualifications, Parts 1 and 2, qualify teachers for positions as vice-principals or principals. In addition, the Principal’s Development Course provides opportunities for practising principals and vice-principals to explore their roles in greater depth.The Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Program qualifies members to serve as supervisory officers.
Expectations of members
Throughout their careers, teachers acquire additional skills and knowledge to take on new assignments and responsibilities.
A change in interests or employment prospects may prompt teachers to add another subject area or division to their qualifications. Changes in technology or in their students’ needs may lead teachers to search out courses that add to their knowledge and support their professional practice. A teacher’s long-term career plan may include acquiring qualifications to become a consultant, subject area
or program co-ordinator, principal or supervisory officer.
Members are responsible for learning what prerequisites are necessary to enrol in courses or programs and to apply for some jobs. Prerequisites are set out in regulation, but faculties of education or providers may impose additional requirements for entry, such as a stronger subject background or proficiency in the language of study. For example, faculties of education or providers offering ABQs from Schedule A set their own prerequisites for enrolment. Most require at least three full courses in the subject in a postsecondary degree.
Teachers interested in working for a district school board as a subject or program co-ordinator or consultant will find that Regulation 298, Operation of Schools requires the position to be filled
by a teacher with a specialist or honour specialist qualification in the relevant field.
The scenarios included as part of this advisory give examples of what additional qualifications members may acquire in response to particular teaching assignments or in pursuit of a particular professional interest.
Members of the College look for professional learning opportunities that will continually enhance their teaching. For example, a teacher qualified to teach primary grades might take the three-part Primary Education to build on what they learned in initial teacher education.
Here are some examples of the learning opportunities members of the College might choose.
To increase understanding of the unique aspects of the teaching and learning environment
Whether you work in the Catholic system, in a school in a First Nations community, in a French-language milieu, or in another unique learning environment, courses in Schedule C can provide an orientation to teaching in that environment.
Such courses include Adapting Curriculum for the Catholic School System, Leadership en milieu minoritaire, Teaching Cayuga (or one of six other Native languages), Teaching Combined Grades or Alternative Education.
To expand the range of subjects one can teach at Intermediate/Senior Division level
Teachers with general education qualifications who want to add to the subjects/divisions they are qualified to teach can take an Additional Basic Qualification (ABQ) from Schedule A.
A teacher with technological qualifications wanting to add another technological education qualification can take any other ABQ from Schedule B for teaching Grades 9 and 10, provided the teacher can demonstrate competency in the subject as defined by the faculty of education. To teach Grade 11 and 12 students, a teacher with technological education qualifications must have one year of work experience or one year of academic study in the subject or an equivalent combination, and must demonstrate competency in the area of study.
To extend knowledge of teaching in the French-language system
Teachers who want to extend their knowledge of the unique aspects of teaching in the French-language system could:
- complete an AQ in Schedule C such as Leadership en milieu minoritaire or Enseignement en milieu minoritaire
- complete a Qualification de base additionnelle
- complete the three-part AQ Actualisation linguistique en français / Perfectionnement du français (ALF/PDF) in Schedule D.
To supervise or co-ordinate a subject or department
A teacher wanting to apply to supervise or co-ordinate programs at the board level must hold a specialist or honour specialist qualification in the subject or program area. Specialist or honour specialist AQs are listed in Schedule D and E.
To become a principal
A member of the College wanting to become a principal must successfully complete Principal’s Qualifications, Parts 1 and 2 and a leadership practicum. Prerequisites for Part 1 Principal’s Qualifications are:
- five years of teaching experience in an elementary or secondary school
- qualifications in three divisions, including the Intermediate Division, or Grades 9 and 10 in a technological education subject
- additional academic learning that ranges from a combination of specialist or honour specialist courses and master’s level credits.
Once all parts of the program are successfully completed, the member is eligible to be assigned to a position as a vice-principal or principal.
To acquire knowledge of students with special needs
College members who have students with special needs in their classroom or who want to accommodate students with special needs can take Special Education, Part I of a three-session AQ in Schedule D. This provides a background for teaching all exceptionalities.
Teachers who want to study a particular area of special needs can take one or more AQs in Schedule C, such as Teaching Students with Behavioural Needs, Teaching Students with Communication Needs (Autism Spectrum Disorders) or Teaching Students with Intellectual Needs (Giftedness).
Successfully completed AQs
Once a teacher has successfully completed an AQ or ABQ, the course provider notifies the College, which adds the qualification to the member’s record. The completed additional qualification appears on the member’s certificate and on the public register.
The additional qualifications listed on a member’s certificate are an acknowledgement by the profession and to the public that the member is qualified to teach in the divisions, subject areas and roles indicated. The listed AQs also provide information to course providers that a teacher has the prerequisites that may be required to enrol in some courses.
Additional qualification courses are designed by teachers for teachers. The courses and programs that make up the system of additional qualifications reflect the experience and pedagogy of the teaching profession in Ontario.
The acquisition of AQs may result in an improvement in the member’s salary. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) or the Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario (QECO) evaluate qualifications for salary categories. For more information about which additional qualifications courses are related to salary scales, members should contact QECO or OSSTF Certification.
Commitment to learning
A commitment to student learning, one of teaching’s key professional values, presupposes a commitment to teacher learning.
The Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession describe the beliefs and values that guide the professional judgment and actions of College members. The four ethical standards – care, respect,
trust and integrity – establish the core ethics of teaching. Care includes insight for developing students’ potential. Respect includes honouring cognitive development. Trust includes inspiring confidence in students and their parents. Integrity includes continual reflection. Ongoing professional learning enhances these attributes.
The Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession provide a framework of principles that describes the knowledge, skills and values inherent in the profession. Ongoing professional learning, one of the five standards, is integral to effective practice and to student learning.
The College has developed the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession to place ongoing professional learning in a career-long context. This framework identifies accredited initial and ongoing courses and programs designed to reflect the ethical standards and standards of practice. It also describes the many other ways in which members engage in professional learning to improve their practice and enhance student learning.
The legislative context
The College’s mandate, set out in the Ontario College of Teachers Act, emphasizes the importance of supporting and promoting teacher education. The College’s mandate is to:
- develop and maintain qualifications for College membership
- provide for the ongoing education of members of the College
- accredit professional teacher education and ongoing education programs for teachers
- establish and enforce professional standards and ethical standards applicable to members of the College.
Members should consult their employers’ policies to ensure they are familiar with any requirements in their workplace that relate to additional qualifications and teaching assignments.
Ontario College of Teachers Act
Two regulations under the Act work together to govern teaching qualifications.
The Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation addresses initial and ongoing teachers’ qualifications.
The Accreditation Regulation sets the parameters of the College’s responsibility to accredit teacher education programs in Ontario.
Several regulations under the Education Act govern qualifications for teaching and supervisory roles and highlight the benefits of additional qualifications:
Regulation 298, Operations of Schools – qualifications for principals, vice-principals and teachers
Regulation 296, Ontario Schools for the Blind and the Deaf – qualifications for teachers of students who are deaf, blind or deaf-blind
Regulation 309, Supervisory Officers – qualifications for supervisory officers
Regulation 98/02, Teacher Learning Plans – the importance of defining professional growth objectives
Regulation 99/02, Teacher Performance Appraisal – the importance of adapting and refining teaching practice through continuous learning
Education-related legislation and regulations are available at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/index.html.
www.oct.ca - Additional Qualifications
www.oct.ca - Additional Qualifications - Course Providers
www.oct.ca - About the College - Education Legislation - Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation
www.osstf.on.ca - Services