Considering Your Options

Becoming a certified teacher (getting a license to teach) in Alberta can be a long and difficult process. Many internationally educated teachers (IETs) face many challenges such as meeting all the requirements for certification, making contacts with potential employers, understanding the Canadian schooling system and others. Many IETs choose to pursue the certification process despite these challenges.

Whether you plan to focus on becoming a certified teacher or pursue it while you work, or explore other career pathways, it is critical to have all the relevant information to make this important decision. In this section, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the licensing process and associated costs and what other alternative careers are available to you here in Alberta.

Attaining Your License
(Teaching Certificate)

small underline

To teach in Alberta, you are required to hold an Alberta teaching certificate which is granted following a successful assessment of professional educational and professional qualifications. The Government of Alberta is responsible for issuing teacher certifications in the province of Alberta. A step-by-step guide and a list of related fees can be found on their website HERE.

You should review the "Check your credentials" (for International applicants) and "Supporting Documents" sections (for out of country graduates) sections before you begin the application process.

Internationally Educated Teachers should begin the application process before they arrive in Alberta.

  1. Obtain required documentation
    Many IETs find it challenging to obtain required academic documents such as official transcripts, especially after leaving their home country. You are encouraged to contact your educational institution and request your official transcripts which must include educational hour credits and supervised student teaching hours.

    Review minimum eligibility requirements. You may be required to take additional courses to qualify for certification.

    Below is a list of documents you will be required to submit as part of the assessment and certification process:
    • Identity documents (and evidence of name change)
    • Current criminal record check that includes a vulnerable sector check
    • Official transcripts sent directly from teacher education institution (must include courses and grades (syllabus if available)
    • Secondary school leaving certificate (high school certificate (must include courses and grades)
    • Statement of professional standing (if profession is not regulated in your country, then reference letter)
    • Verification of currency of teaching practice (required if you have not taught in the last 10 years or finished your teacher’s education program more than 10 years ago)
    • Evidence of language proficiency

  2. English or French Language Proficiency
    If your primary language is not English or French, you will be required to write one of the accepted English language proficiency tests or record a 20-minute French interview.

    The following English language proficiency tests are accepted:
  3. Interim Professional Certification (IPC)
    As a first step, you can apply for an IPC which will begin the evaluation of your professional and educational qualifications by Alberta Education.
    Note: Alberta Education is the only body that assesses credentials for teaching certification.

    You are required to open an account with the Teacher Workforce Information System (TWINS) and submit the supporting documents for evaluation. Processing time for internationally educated applicants takes at least 120 business days.

    The following outcomes can be anticipated:
    • An IPC is issued allowing individuals to teach anywhere in the province grades kindergarten to grade 12 (valid for 3 years before requiring extension/re-issue).
    • Upgrading (i.e. additional training) is required which can include academic, language, and/or bridging training (cost & duration varies).
    • A Letter of Authority may be issued in eligible circumstances at the recommendation of an employing Alberta school authority. 
    • The application is declined if minimum requirements are not met.

  4. Permanent Professional Certificate (PPC)
    A designated officer within a schooling authority can recommend an individual for a PPC if the following certification requirements have been met:
    • Completion of 2 years full-time teaching in Alberta while holding a valid IPC
    • 2 successful evaluations based on the Teaching Quality Standard 

Requests for a PPC must be initiated by a designated officer. Alberta Education does not accept requests for a PPC from individual teachers until the designated officer has made a recommendation. Your employing school authority can provide information about their PPC recommendation process.


Costs associated with having credentials assessed and applying for certification may include some or all of the following:

  • Fees to obtain educational documents (i.e. transcripts, certificates, letters)
  • Fees for document translation and certification
  • Application fee (for IPC)
  • Language assessment fees (TOEFL or IELTS exam)
  • IPC extension/re-issuance
  • Application fee (for PPC)

Clients of the BredinWorks for Internationally Educated Professionals program in Edmonton may be eligible for support in paying some of these expenses. Another option may be to seek financial assistance with a Servus-Bredin Microloan.

Other Career Options

small underline

Upon arriving in Alberta, IETs often take on a “survival” job while they pursue their teacher certification. Understandably, those are the common employment outcomes as settlement in a new country can be incredibly challenging and overwhelming. However, there are fulfilling career pathways available for IETs who want to pursue certification and work or pursue a new career altogether, especially if they are able to transfer and use their skills, knowledge, education and/or work experience.

To choose a temporary or permanent job or know when it is the right time to pursue a new career can be a challenging task. It is critical to consider a career that matches well with your needs and interests and/or is a viable option based on your current situation and priorities.

Once you have arrived in Alberta, a Career & Employment Coach can support you through this decision process.
Connect with Bredin Centre for Career Advancement.


This site includes 12 career pathway Fact Sheets specifically created for IETs exploring employment opportunities in Alberta. Those are as follows:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education Support
  • Administrative Support
  • School Admissions
  • Educational Research
  • Communications
  • Project Management
  • College Instruction
  • Corporate Training and Development
  • Working with Youth
  • Career Development
  • Banking

These career options were selected and developed by a group of experts comprised of educators, teachers, government representatives, career counsellors and IETs. The career options were chosen based on a number of criteria including:

  • Use of skills and knowledge similar to teaching
  • Positive labour market conditions (or jobs in demand)
  • Limited upgrading or retraining required
  • Fulfilling work/environment with opportunities for advancement
  • Successful career pathways of other IETs

To assist you with finding a career pathway that is right for you, try the Career Navigator in our Career Pathways tab.