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Athabasca University

How to Become a Teacher

by Julia McDonald

In This Section


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 Program. However, you could complete up to two years of AU courses toward a BEd at another university, or complete an AU Bachelor's degree and take an after-degree BEd elsewhere. It could take from four to six years to become a teacher depending on where you complete your BEd.

Many Athabasca University undergraduate degrees can 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. In an elementary school, you may be asked to teach variety of subjects 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 major or concentration in a disciplinary area relevant to teaching school could be another option. Other options could be the Bachelor of Science or the Bachelor of Commerce.

If you plan to teach secondary school, it is generally suggested to do a major or a concentration (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 B.Ed. degree 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 choosen teacher education program to ensure you select proper selection of courses and/or degree program.

Here is a list of AU courses that may be considered teaching subjects for some Bachelor of Education programs across the country:

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. Career Services at University of Waterloo provide excellent tips on how to write a personal statement.
  • Personal interviews with the selection committee.

Note: This information is general in nature. Admission requirements to the various BEd programs differ 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.

Next Steps

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.  Look at Elementary Teacher, Secondary Teacher and Special Needs Teacher.

See: Alberta Learning Information Service

See also:

Explore other web sites for information on teaching

Explore the teacher education programs at various universities

This information will help you to decide which program suits you best plus provide you with entrance requirements and transferable credits information.

Other useful sites:

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. Please contact the Department of Education in your province for information on teacher certification.

3. Contact an AU Counsellor

A counsellor can provide you with more information on this particular career path and make sure the AU program you choose meets your goals. You can contact a counsellor by scheduling a telephone appointment using the online appointment form, call 1-800-788-9041 ext. 6723, or e-mail .

4.  Become an AU Student

Once you have decided on a program of study, apply and enrol in your program.

5.  Select your courses

An advisor can help you select courses and develop a program plan for studies at Athabasca University. Contact an AU student advisor. (For courses or programs at another institution, contact that institution for further assistance.)


Alberta Learning Information Services (2013). Alberta Occupational Profiles.

National Occupational Classification (2013). 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians.

Ontario College of Teachers: Becoming a Teacher.

University of Toronto at Scarborough. Academic Advising & Career Centre, Preparing for Teaching.

University of Waterloo, Centre for Career Action: Teaching.

Updated August 06 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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