After many years spent in university I finally figured out how to become a certified ESL teacher in both the Quebec and Ontario public school system. What follows are my findings...


Teacher Certification in Quebec

A CEGEP graduate needs to apply to either Concordia, McGill, or UQAM in the B.Ed. specialization Teaching English as a Second Language (B.Ed. TESL). The 120 credit program that takes 4 years to complete. These 4 years of schooling inlcude classes that are electives, prerequisites as well as internships. Because I am a student from Concordia University, I know that each student in the B.Ed. TESL program needs to do 4 interships (2 in the primary and 2 at the High School level). There is NO way around this, unless you are a certified provincial teacher from another province. In this case you would have to do one class at Concordia University called Education in Quebec (EDUC 445) and you might receive a teachng permit valid for 5 years. Once you have completed your 4 year program, and successfully passed all your intership with a minimum grade requirement, provided to you by your TESL department, you may apply for jobs in different school commissions anywhere in Quebec.

HOWEVER, you will need to pass a French written test called the SEL (Service d'Evaluation Linguistique) or the CEFRANC test. Because the subject ESL teachers teach is English as a second language, we do not need to take the original version of the SEL or CEFRANC test. We do however need to take another version. For the SEL test I'm not quite sure what it is, but for the CEFRANC test it's TEST 3.

Once you have completed all these steps, you can easily find a job as an ESL teacher anywhere in Quebec given that there is a significant droubt in ESL teachers right now. Look at these news reports and articles on the droubt of ESL teachers in Quebec: Enjeux "yes no toaster" in french, La Presse article "Teachers without permits" in french, Quebec teacher shortage a blog from concordia TESL students association.

It is also important to mention that if you plan on getting an ESL teaching certificate you will NOT be able to teach in the public school system of Quebec. You will, however, be allowed to teach in private ESL schools that provide classes to adult learners or learners from other countries. One school like this that exists in Montreal is ILSC (International Language School of Canada). I currently work there and the learning atmosphere is of the highest standards. Students are motivated to learn the language, and teachers are always encouraged to provide a student centered classroom atmosphere.

This site might help you with more information: http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/dftps/


Teacher certification in Ontario

Students in Ontario who apply into the Second Language Teaching program at Ottawa University have the choice to pick between the Major (3 years) or the Honors (4 years) program. Once you have finished either program you may choose to start working in private ESL schools (like ILSC) or pursue your studies in order to become a teacher in the ontario public school system.

The way to become a public school teacher in Ontario is quite different from the Quebec proceedures. First, you need to have a bachelors degree (3 or 4 year program) in any subject matter that has a close relation to education. For example, geography, psychology, mathematics, ESL... Once this is complete you will need to apply to teacher colleges accross Ontario. DO NOT APPLY TO ONLY ONE TEACHER COLLEGE!!! This is what I did for Ottawa University, and did not get accepted. They have over 1000 applicants and only a few hundred get in and the others go on a waiting list. Your other option are univerisities like York and Nipissing as well as others. You will have to apply to teacher colleges through your OUAC account. A more complete list of universities that offer teacher training is available through their website.

If or when you get accepted into a teacher college, then you will have 1 more year of studies to pursue. In these studies I assume you will also have to complete interships. I do not think you will have to complete 4 interships like in Quebec, but I think 2 is the norm in Ontario. You will also have to choose at what level you want to teach: primary/ junior, junior/intermediate, and intermediate/ senior divisions.

If you graduate from the 1 year teacher college program and want to come to Quebec and teach, then you will have to take the course Education in Quebec in order to get a teacher's permit (valid for 5 years). However, only holding a BA in Second Language Teaching and then taking this course will not permit you to teach in the Quebec school system for very long. This option provides you with no job security and you may get bumped by a person who holds a B.Ed.

I hope this information has helped some of you out there in this crazy world of teaching, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me at helen@eslonline.net and I will try to answer your questions to the best of my abilities or direct you to the best place in order to get your answers.

Last Updated: June 8th, 2008