How to Become a Teacher
A bachelor's degree in Education (BEd) and a provincial teacher's certificate are required to teach in Canada. Currently, Athabasca University does not offer a BEd degree. However, you could complete up to two years of AU course work toward a BEd at another university, or complete an AU bachelor's degree and take a BEd After-Degree program elsewhere. It could take from four to six years to become a teacher depending on where you complete your Education degree.
Many Athabasca University undergraduate degrees meet the criteria needed for teacher education programs. The three-year Bachelor of General Studies: Arts and Science degree is a popular choice for students wishing to pursue a career as an elementary teacher. You may be asked to teach a variety of subjects in an elementary school, so it is advisable to have a well-rounded background in teachable subjects like Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, French and English. Any AU three or four-year Bachelor of Arts with a concentration or major in a disciplinary area relevant to teaching school could be another option. Other possible program options are the Bachelor of Science or the Bachelor of Commerce.
If you plan to teach secondary school, it is generally suggested to do a concentration or major (10-12 courses) in one teachable subject and a minor in another teachable subject. Another option is to take the number of courses required to fulfill the requirements for teachable subjects. Research the entrance requirements of the BEd degree in which you plan to enrol. You also have the option to do a double major if you are completing a four year Bachelor of Arts. Many of the degrees mentioned above can also meet the requirements for teaching at the secondary level. For more information see our programs.
Refer to the admission requirements of your chosen teacher education program to ensure you select an appropriate program and courses.
Here is a list of AU courses that may be considered teaching subjects for some Bachelor of Education programs across the country:
- Languages: English, French, and Spanish
- Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Studies, Geology, Science
- Social Studies: History, Geography, Canadian Studies, Indigenous Studies
- Social Sciences: Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology
- Business Education: Economics , Entrepreneurship, Legal Studies, Marketing, Organizational Behaviour
- Some programs also recommend: Computer Science and Psychology.
More course information.
Acceptance to university Education programs may include:
- Successful completion of required courses for direct admittance into a BEd program. For example, the University of Alberta has a pre-professional year whereas Memorial University requires 2 years of study prior to admittance into their BEd for elementary education.
- Most universities require a Bachelor's degree, some prefer a four year degree.
- Academic achievement with at least a B average.
- Experience working with children and/or adolescents. For example, experience as a coach, counsellor, parent, tutor, etc.
- Letters of reference.
- Personal Statement explaining why you want to be a teacher.
- Personal interviews with the selection committee.
Note: This information is general in nature. Admission requirements to the various BEd programs may vary from university to university. It is your responsibility to ensure that the courses or degree you take at AU will be accepted at the university you wish to attend.
1. Decide what grade level and subject you would like to teach
Decide if you want to be an Elementary or Secondary (high school) teacher. You need to determine your teaching level in order to select the appropriate courses for your pre-professional year(s) or first undergraduate degree.
Explore occupational profiles on teaching
The following link is geared toward Albertans but contains useful information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, opportunities, salary and a listing of Alberta institutions offering Education degrees. See the profiles for Elementary Teacher, Secondary Teacher and Special Needs Teacher.
Explore resources for information on teaching
- Alberta Teachers’ Association
- Canadian Teachers’ Federation
- Canada InfoNet
- Ontario College of Teachers: Becoming a Teacher
- Education International
Explore teacher education programs at various universities
This research will help you to decide which program suits you best, as well as provide you with admission and transfer credit information for each university.
- Alberta Learning Information Service
- Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
- World of Education
2. Contact your provincial teacher certification board.
You need to be certified to be employed as a teacher in any Canadian province. The educational requirements for certification can differ from province to province.
- Teaching in Canada Certification Regulations by Province/Territory
- Provincial and Territorial Education Systems in Canada CICIC.ca
3. Contact an AU Counsellor
A counsellor can help to ensure the AU program you choose meets your teaching goals. Contact a counsellor by scheduling a telephone appointment using the online appointment form, call 1-800-788-9041 ext. 6723, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
4. Become an AU Student
Once you have decided on a program of study, apply and enrol in your program.
Alberta Learning Information Service ALIS (2019). Alberta Occupational Profiles.
National Occupational Classification NOC (2016).
Ontario College of Teachers: Becoming a Teacher.