Skip to content

Student Hub

A Comprehensive Guide: How to Become a Teacher in Ontario


So you want to become a teacher in Ontario? As an educator, you’ll directly impact the next generations growth and development. This makes becoming a teacher one of the most fulfilling jobs a person can have. There are many different kinds of teaching jobs in Canada, so you can also benefit from the variety of roles in the profession, and be able to specialize in areas on interest. Below, we explain how you can make your dreams of becoming a teacher in Ontario a reality!

The first step to becoming an educator is attending a post-secondary institution. You can plan for your child’s future as a teacher by opening an RESP account, starting to save, and benefitting from government grants today.

Try our Career & School Matcher!

Overview: Becoming a teacher in Ontario

There are three main steps that are required if you want to become a certified teacher in Ontario:

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree in education or another subject at an accredited university.
  2. Complete a teacher education program, which typically consists of four semesters.
  3. Apply to and be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers.

A step-by-step guide to becoming a teacher in Ontario

Although the three requirements outline what it takes to become a teacher in Ontario, there are a few other steps that you should take before earning an education degree. Beyond having a love for educating young minds, it’s important to decide if a teaching job is a good fit for you and your life goals.

Continue reading for a step-by-step guide to becoming a teacher in Ontario, and somethings you’ll want to consider before joining the profession.

Identify whether teaching is the right career for you

Take some time to think about whether teaching is the right career choice for you. Not everyone is suited to teaching. You must have patience, a sense of humour, great energy and enthusiasm, curiosity, leadership skills, and be open to learning new things.

If you aren’t sure whether becoming a teacher is the right career path for you, try doing some volunteer work that will give you an idea of what it’s like to interact with kids and teens. Volunteering at a daycare, youth camp, or after-school program can give you an idea of how you are around children, and the lifestyle of a teacher.

Another factor to consider is a teacher’s salary. Do some research to determine how much you can expect to make each year as a teacher. This will give you an idea of whether teaching will allow you to have the lifestyle you want to have. Lastly, consider asking someone who works in your field of interest, about their experiences. They might be able to offer insight that will help you make a decision one way or another.

Think about what grades you want to teach

The next step is to consider what grades you might be interested in teaching. This can help you decide what school to choose.

In Ontario, elementary or primary school teachers are considered generalists. This means that they will teach multiple subjects at a lower level (e.g. math, science, art, etc.), usually between kindergarten and grades five or six. Since elementary school teachers teach very young students, child psychology and development are usually a core part of the early education program curriculum.

On the other hand, if you want to become a high school teacher, teaching children between the ages of grade 8 and grade 12, you must specialize in one or more subjects. How you come to specialize in a subject is most often by completing a bachelor’s degree in that subject, such as history, biology, or English. It is worth noting that even minoring in a subject during your undergraduate is usually sufficient for being qualified to teach it at the high school level.

Deciding between teaching high school or elementary really comes down to your preference. What age group do you enjoy working with, and what subjects would you most enjoy teaching? These are some of questions you should ask yourself.

If you prefer teaching more specialized subjects, like history or chemistry, then high school might be for you. Alternatively, if you like the variety that comes with being an elementary school teacher, getting to teach everything from art to science, then enrolling in an early education degree might be more worthwhile. If you enjoy the caretaking aspects of teaching, such as helping young students learn to read or tie their shoes, again, elementary teaching may be more up your alley.

Overall, just as students can explore many academic interests, teachers should as well, especially before dedicating their lives to teaching a certain grade level.

What subject do you want to teach?

When you started thinking about what grades interest you the most, you probably also started to think about what subjects you’s teach. Knowing what specific subjects you are interested in teaching, especially if you think you want to become a high school teacher, can be a huge help when deciding what post-secondary schools to apply to.

For example, to become a high school geography and history teacher, you can enrol in a general arts undergraduate program with majors or minors in these subjects. Other specializations for both elementary and high schools include music, physical education, or languages, like French or Spanish. Whether you end up taking courses on recreation or education, you will want to think carefully about your interests in advance.

Apply to university

The next step is to apply to a university program. This might mean applying to an education program at a university of your choice or a more general undergraduate program that allows you to specialize in other subjects that you eventually hope to teach.

Graduate from your university program

To become a teacher in Ontario, you will need to complete at least one university program. If you decide to enrol in a Bachelor of Education, then this may be the only program that is required of you. However, if you decide to complete another type of undergraduate degree, then you may need to enrol in another post-degree teaching program of between one and two years. It is worth noting that if you end up needing to enrol in a post-degree teaching program, you do not have to do this at the school where you earned your undergraduate degree. Rather, you can do this at a teacher’s college or other institution. Please also note that whether it is part of your undergraduate education program or your teacher’s college program, you will need to complete a practicum as part of your education. In Ontario, all education students must complete a total of 80 days or 400 hours of a supervised practicum.

Become certified

After you have completed all of the necessary schooling, including a practicum, it’s time to become certified. In Ontario, you will obtain your Ontario teaching certification from the Ontario College of Teachers. When applying to become certified, you typically must provide proof of your education, your teaching experience, and your suitability for the job (e.g. through reference letters and/or a criminal background check).

Written by Embark

Embark is Canada’s education savings and planning company. The organization aims to help families and students along their post-secondary journeys, giving them innovative tools and advice to take hold of their bright futures and succeed.