Careers – Consider a Career as a Teacher

What is a teacher?

Teachers play an important role in creating an environment to allow children and young people to learn during their developmental years.

In high school, teachers teach academic, technical, and vocational subjects either in a public or private setting. Conversely, their colleagues in elementary schools and kindergarten teach the fundamental skills in the subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, and other languages such as French.

Moreover, they may act as mentors, coaches, and facilitators in helping students learn in the areas of science, math, and English.

Education and training

In Canada, education falls under the mandate of the provincial or territorial government. In most Canadian provinces and territories, the requirements to become a teacher are the completion of secondary school (grade 12), four years of post-secondary education, and at least one year of professional studies in teacher education.

Since there are variations to this basic requirement, candidates should directly contact the relevant certification regulatory body across the country.

Furthermore, applicants applying to teacher education programs are interviewed to assess their suitability for a professional career. A strong command of one of the official languages, responsibility, enthusiasm, and a genuine interest in improving the education of young people are highly desirable.

Interviews assess candidates for their ability to relate effectively with students and to establish a fostering learning environment in the classroom. Related to this ability, teachers foster critical thinking skills and enable students to develop and implement problem-solving skills to a variety of topics.

Secondary school teachers may specialize in a particular subject such as chemistry or biology or in a vocational trade area such as auto mechanics or hair design. Elementary school teachers may specialize in secondary language instruction or special education.

Admission requirements

Education programs for elementary school teachers include courses that prepare them for a career in teaching, including courses in teaching methods, psychology of learning, developmental psychology, professional education courses, and science.

For example, in Alberta (as in many provinces), the minimum qualification required to teach in a secondary school is four years of post-secondary education leading to a Baccalaureate of Education (B.Ed.) degree.

Where do teachers work?

Most teachers work as part of the public education system. Some teachers also work in private schools. Elementary and secondary teachers spend most of their working day instructing classes, grading, and preparing lesson plans for their students.

Salaries and demographic information

The salary scale and benefit package offered to a newly hired teacher is established through negotiations between the teacher’s association and the provincial or territorial education representative. Such packages also include a compulsory retirement plan that allows teachers to receive a pension upon retirement.

According to the Canadian Teachers? Federation, entry level educator salaries vary across provinces and territories but a new graduate can earn $36,305 to $58,980 per year.

In Alberta, the average salary of secondary school teachers was $67,800 whereas the number was $63,500 for elementary school teachers.

Moreover, teachers with advanced or specialized training or graduate degrees can expect to earn more than the maximum salary as part of their collective bargaining agreement. In general, salaries are determined by a combination of years of teaching experience and education. Those with additional responsibilities such as administrative duties are provided with additional allowances.

The majority of elementary school teachers are female, while it is approximately split in gender for secondary school teachers. Job opportunities are expected to remain average but may increase as many baby boomers retire. Certain school boards, such as the Toronto Catholic District School Board, are experiencing surpluses of teachers and are recruiting fewer teachers.

For more information regarding a career as a teacher, please visit the Canadian Teachers? Federation website.