If you plan to work as a teacher in Canada, it’s critical to understand the employment and job requirements before you arrive. Many jobs in Canada belong to regulated professions. And teaching is one of those professions. Newcomers to Canada often discover that they struggle to find work in their chosen profession after they arrive. This also applies to teachers who will have to get their international qualifications recognized and gain Canadian teaching experience.
What’s the best way to prepare for a teaching career in Canada? Continue reading for a helpful overview.
1. Understanding Teaching Job Requirements in Canada
In Canada, regulatory bodies in each province or territory set the requirements to practice teaching. And while the requirements can vary by jurisdiction, you will require a bachelor’s degree in education and a provincial teaching certificate.
If you intend to specialize in special education or instruction of English or French as a second language, you may be required to take additional training and certification. Unlike elementary and secondary teaching, teaching at the university or college level is not regulated and generally, it’s up to the hiring department or institution to recognize your academic credentials obtained outside Canada. University teaching positions are competitive and normally they require that you have at least one graduate degree and a proven teaching record or academic publishing.
Before You Move to Canada
Before you arrive, it’s important to research the Canadian labour market and job requirements for teachers. It’s also essential to know how your international qualifications will be assessed. This information will help you make important decisions based on the amount of time, cost, and other factors that will allow you to teach in Canada.
There are steps that you can take to improve your chances of landing a teaching job when you arrive:
- Research the labour market demand for teachers in Canada at the national, provincial, and municipal levels.
- Contact the regulatory body for teachers in the province where you intend to settle in Canada to learn about the licensing process.
- Learn what process steps you can take before and after you arrive.
- Verify what documents you need to bring to Canada and whether or not they need to be translated. You may have to use a professional translation service in Canada.
- Gather and organize your official education, work and identity documents while still in your home country.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- Improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while you are in your home country and continue them when you arrive in Canada. You’ll need to prove your English or French language competency (depending on your destination province) or be tested.
- Understand how teaching is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the laws and legislation that govern teaching in the province where you will settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
- Check with the professional association that governs teaching in your home country and find out if they have any links with similar associations in Canada.
Start Your Research with the NOC Code for Teachers
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s reference for occupations. It provides job descriptions, occupational statistics and labour market information. The NOC codes for teachers are:
University professors and lecturers (NOC 41200)
Secondary School Teachers (NOC 21220)
Elementary School and kindergarten teachers (NOC 41221)
The NOC code provides example titles for teachers. These are possible titles that you can search when conducting your job search.
2. Employment for Teaching in Canada
Credentials Recognition to Meet Teaching Job Requirements in Canada
One of the first things to do is learn what’s required to work as a teacher in Canada. This will allow you to identify if you meet the requirements, or what steps to take to meet them. A good place to start is with the regulatory body that governs the teaching profession in the province or territory where you intend to settle in Canada. They will advise you about the documents you need to provide as well as assessment fees. It’s important to take this step before you arrive in Canada. It’s also important to understand the licensure process and what the regulatory body expects of you. Once you have all of the information, then you can begin the application process.
Credentials Assessment Services
If you plan to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills, contact the school that you plan to attend to inquire about the steps you should take and the credential assessment agency you should use.
To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here.
Best Locations to Find Teaching Jobs in Canada
There are hundreds of schools, colleges, universities and teaching centres across Canada and you can find jobs in many cities or towns. However, finding a job today may be a challenge if you want to work in the provinces of Ontario, B.C. and Nova Scotia, where the supply exceeds the demand. It will be helpful to focus on the provinces and cities that are seeing population growth. There will be a higher demand for teachers in areas with population growth.
The figures from the last census in 2021 show that of the 10 fastest-growing census metropolitan areas in Canada, four are in Ontario, and two each are in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. Other areas to focus on and where the shortage of teachers will likely be more severe are the historically under-served northern and rural areas of the country. With the boom in skilled trades, there’s also a need for instructors at community colleges, technical institutes and vocational schools. Also read: Best cities to find teaching jobs in Canada
Major Employers for Teaching Jobs in Canada
You can view a list of provincial school boards associations that represent just over 250 school boards in Canada by visiting the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) website.
You can also visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to assist new Canadians in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada.
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!
3. Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Teaching Job Requirements
In addition to accreditation, upgrading your skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops is an important part of your journey to become a teacher in Canada.
You may have strong teaching skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterwards. You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially in regards to your soft skills. Employers in Canada expect you to be a good communicator, organized, know how to train a child, listen strategically, how to motivate students, how to praise a student so that they respond, how to give good feedback for others’ work, how to win people’s cooperation, etc.
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages, English or French, is important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through the school boards or settlement agencies. There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT). And if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.
Bridging programs are a good way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities and immigrant-serving agencies offer teaching-related bridging programs. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program suitable for you.
University of Calgary
The Bridge to Teaching (Bridge) program is an intensive and accelerated teacher education program that prepares passionate, caring and experienced foreign-trained teachers to teach in Alberta Schools. During the Bridge Program, participants focus on how to teach the Alberta Program of Studies in ways that engage students and how to assess students’ learning. Participants examine various educational policies and pedagogies that affect teaching and learning in Alberta and explore how the expectations for teachers and students compare to those in their previous country.
George Brown College
College Teacher Training (Graduate Certificate)
The College Teacher Training Program provides occupation-specific communication and employment skills and training and experience in the Canadian classroom. It prepares internationally educated teachers to teach in the Canadian college environment. The program offers opportunities to network with college teachers and potential employers and provides opportunities to gain experience in the Canadian classroom.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D. or MBA. Universities and colleges across Canada offer a number of bridging programs to help immigrants get Canadian certification in their field.
4. Job Search Techniques for Teachers
The Canadian job market is very competitive and jobs are not easy to find. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country. So, you may need help to find job vacancies, update your resume, write cover letters, and prepare for interviews. Fortunately, there are many settlement services that can help you with your job-finding efforts.
Here are some tips to help you search for teaching jobs:
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers.
- Seek out a mentor in the teaching sector such as a retired teacher. A mentor can give you valuable insight and advice and introduce you to their professional network.
- Join teaching-related job-finding or networking clubs through settlement services.
- Attend teaching-related career or job fairs.
Immigrant Settlement Agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews. Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
Writing your Teaching Resume
You can improve your chances of gaining a teaching job by polishing your resume using these resume writing tips:
List all teaching certificates and other endorsements. Include completion dates or expected completion dates.
Break this section into separate subheadings such as teaching, related and work experience. Experience can be paid or unpaid; including internships, observation experience, classroom management skills/strategies, teaching methods used, experience with students with special needs and interactions with parents.
List your teaching experiences in reverse chronological order.
Use action verbs and specific details such as grade levels taught, class size and any other information that will help a reader visualize you in that experience. Include job title, name of school and dates for each position.
The following are strengths and experiences you might consider including in your resume if they apply to you: experience with kids, coaching, babysitting, teaching swimming lessons, skiing or any subject or area of interest, management roles as they pertain to training, training in any area or subject, public speaking, acting experience as it applies to teaching, art experience as it applies to teaching, music experience as it applies to teaching.
Make sure you demonstrate your passion for teaching by adding your teaching philosophy to your resume. And, communicate your commitment to student success, teaching and learning.
You are in the education business, so it makes sense that you use a resume strategy that highlights your academic credentials. So include your credentials, certifications and degrees on the first page under your opening resume profile. You can mention your most important teaching credentials in your qualifications summary, which can be part of your Objective field.
A teacher’s resume must have strong accomplishments. Especially as a newcomer, you can include accomplishments from back home or in Canada. You can include your practicum/intern/volunteer experience, and treat it just like a job on your resume. Other things you can list as accomplishments include delivering in-service training workshops for teacher colleagues, developing any after-school programs or extracurricular activities, or expertise in particular teaching methods or approaches.
Specific Resume Keywords:
Teaching and learning, curriculum development, curriculum planning, curriculum design, creative lesson planning, in-service leadership, peer tutoring, peer mentoring, lead teacher, teacher-parent relations, special needs students, gifted/talented students, ESL/ESOL students, student success, testing, learner assessment, technology integration, classroom management, classroom monitoring, discipline strategies, student involvement, parental involvement, instruction, teaching across the curriculum, interdisciplinary teaching approaches, K-12, mainstream, inclusion, brain-based learning.
Create A Teaching Portfolio
It’s helpful to bring samples of your work to job interviews, so creating your teacher portfolio can help you succeed in interviews. Your portfolio serves to show what you bring to the teaching job. In your portfolio, you can include your resume, letters of recommendation, sample syllabi, and lesson plans.
Interview Techniques to Ensure You Meet Teaching Job Requirements
Once you are invited to attend an interview, you need to prepare. Use your self-inventory and your research about teaching in Canada to show how you are a perfect fit for the role. Prepare to answer questions with clear examples, similar to the way you prepare to lead a classroom.
You may be interviewed by a school team consisting of the principal, vice-principal and one or two staff members, or you may be interviewed at the board level by a panel of interviewers. It’s important to show confidence during your interview, so practicing your answers is very important!
If you show any shyness or hesitancy it could create doubt about your teaching ability. Be sure to reflect your interest in students and their needs when you respond to questions. Show that you hold yourself responsible for improving the social and academic achievement of your students. The interviewers will be listening for consistency between what you are saying and the information you included in your cover letter and resume. Above all, clearly show how you meet the requirements to teach in Canada.
Sample Interview Questions for Teaching Jobs
Below are sample questions that you may be asked during teaching job interviews:
- What is your educational philosophy?
- How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent?
- Describe a teaching strategy you used to maximize the learning potential of all students.
- Describe any multicultural, gender-fair classroom practices you have used in the past and how you would ensure equality among your students.
- How would you take advantage of resources within the community to enhance your teaching?
- How do you use technology to enhance student learning?
- Describe how you would prepare to teach a large amount of material. (Hint: Show a sample curriculum or discuss how you would use a curriculum map that includes learning objectives, assessments, activities, and standards)
- What are educational issues or trends affecting elementary teaching? (for elementary teachers)
Of course, there are many other questions that you need to prepare for. Consider as well familiarizing yourself with recent news or research about the student population of the school you are applying to. If you are applying for a position as a 3rd-grade math teacher, for example, there may be recent developments in teaching math to this age group that will be relevant to your own teaching philosophy.
Learning about these developments and integrating them into the conversation will demonstrate your knowledge of relevant teaching methods, and your commitment to teaching that distinguishes you from the other candidates.
Informational Interviews to Learn About Teaching Job Requirements in Canada
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting with someone who currently works in teaching. Your goal is to learn more about teaching in Canada. You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information. In addition to gathering information about teaching, you also learn about the teacher’s first-hand experiences and insights on teaching job requirements in Canada.
As many job vacancies are not advertised, it’s helpful to connect with practicing teachers and others within your field. Building networks is an activity that can help you discover job leads, and gather vital information about teaching in Canada. When you network with others, you also get insights about teaching in general or specific schools that you would like to work at. This information can serve to strengthen your resume, cover letter, and interview skills. Meeting with others is also a great way to expand your professional network.
Good places to network include conferences, associations, and other events where you can meet new people, build relationships, and share information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great to connect with former colleagues and employers, search for jobs, and get introductions and recommendations. You can also mingle with people in the teaching sector and join related professional groups.
Note that it’s not appropriate to ask a networking contact for a job, but if they know of any job leads, they may share them. Remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and so, you need to be patient.
5. Teaching Associations in Canada
The associations listed below provide information about licensure and certification. They also offer professional development, education and networking opportunities.
Provincial/Territorial regulatory bodies
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Other provincial associations
Other provincial associations
Professional immigrant networks (PINs) are member-based associations or networks created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to:
- create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities, and
- help members find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.
PINs organize networking events, mentoring, and information sessions. They also provide professional development opportunities such as workshops, training and connections to job opportunities.
Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (isans): helps newcomer professionals with their full economic and social integration in the province of Nova Scotia.
PTAC is a volunteer-run, non-profit professional organization of Ontario residents who are former teachers and educators in the Philippines. PTAC is working towards professional certification and members include Ontario-licensed teachers in career transition or practicing in Ontario.