Certification FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding TESL Canada Professional Certification

1. My TESL/EFL training is not from a TESL Canada Recognized Program. Do I have to start over?

Applicants whose training was not completed at an institution on the TESL Canada list of recognized teacher training programs apply for TESL Canada certification through PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition). A PLAR adjudicator in TESL Canada reviews the applicants’ experience and training to determine equivalency. If the adjudicator finds a component(s) lacking from an applicant’s portfolio, he/she will recommend the course(s) that will be needed to meet TESL Canada standards. Once applications have been assessed through PLAR, they will be granted certification if a) they deem the application equivalent to TESL Canada standards, or b) applicants satisfy the missing components within the prescribed length of time. The cost of the PLAR assessment is $290.00 plus applicable tax.

2. I have a Bachelor of Education degree and did my teaching practicum with children. Am I eligible for TESL Canada Professional Certification?

No. TESL Canada Professional certification is intended for ESL/EFL instructors teaching in adult learning environments. Please note that an adult classroom is defined as a classroom with five or more students where 80% of the students are aged 18 or older. Provincial Teachers’ Colleges and provincial regulatory bodies govern the certification of K-12 teachers.

3. I have been teaching EFL overseas and would now like to be certified to teach in Canada. How should I apply?

If you completed a non-TESL Canada recognized program, please see FAQ #1. Essentially the same standards for professional certification apply. Otherwise, if you graduated from a TESL Canada recognized program, please complete a regular application form. Applicants applying from overseas will need to become an International member of TESL Canada.

4. I completed a degree in another country. Will TESL Canada accept my foreign education credentials?

Standard 1 and Standard 2 applicants with university degrees completed outside Canada must provide a Canadian equivalency assessment of their university degree(s) as part of their application. Assessments must be completed and submitted by a credential assessment service recognized in Canada. Examples of recognized assessment services are ICES http://www.bcit.ca/ices, CES https://learn.utoronto.ca/comparative-education-service, WES www.wes.org/ca, and ICAS http://www.icascanada.ca.

Important: applicants do not need to provide TESL Canada with a copy of their degrees (translated or not). The documented Canadian university equivalency is the required document. TESL Canada uses the standard, document-by-document assessment, and not the comprehensive assessment. If an applicant’s degree(s) is/are in TESL/Applied Linguistics then a course-by-course assessment is required and the application process is through PLAR. Standard 3 applicants must provide copies of original transcript and certified translation done in Canada.

5. How can I document my classroom teaching experience?

Applicants need to provide documentation of adult ESL/EFL classroom teaching experience if applying through PLAR or to request waiving the practicum. Documentation may consist of teaching contracts, employment records, letters from supervisors or pay stubs. Documentation must indicate the actual classroom hours taught to adults.

6. How long does the application process take?

Applications are typically processed within four to six weeks of receipt. Applications, which are missing required documentation, take longer. This is because contact has to be made with the applicant, the missing documentation or information requested, and subsequent submissions added to the file. TESL Canada will keep applications on file, open for a period of six months for missing information or documentation, at which point certification may be denied and the file closed. Materials such as transcripts that arrive without an application will be kept on file for a maximum of six months.

7. What does “proof of membership in a TESL Canada Provincial/Territorial organization” mean?

TESL Canada membership is required for certification, which is a service offered to its members. TESL Canada membership is a) through membership with a provincial/territorial TESL organization that has an association agreement with TESL Canada, b) a direct membership or c) an international membership. Proof of membership must be included with the application form.

8. Can I count my ESL teaching hours in a K-12 classroom if my students were over the age of 16?

No. The curriculum in the K-12 system is designed for youth, their needs and developmental stages. Adult curriculum addresses different needs and concerns.

9. I took a CELTA Certificate from a non-recognized institution; can I still be certified by TESL Canada?

Yes. Applicants who have completed a CELTA Certificate Program at an institution not recognized by TESL Canada may apply for certification through the regular application process. An additional administrative fee of $100.00 plus applicable tax is charged in these cases in order for TESL Canada administration to review the program. Provided the CELTA Program is assessed at TESL Canada Standards, the applicant will be granted TESL Canada Certification without being referred to PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition). Information required to assess a CELTA certificate include course topics and outlines, course resources such as textbooks and handouts, assessments, and information on your practicum. The adjudicator will also need the names, credentials, and training of your practicum supervisor.

10. What are the differences between the different Standards?

Professional Standard One is for those who have taken a program with a minimum of 100 hours of methodology and coursework and at least a 20-hour practicum. Professional Standard Two is for those who have taken a program with a minimum of 250 hours of coursework and methodology and at least a 50-hour practicum. Professional Standard Three is for those with a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics or TESOL. A 50-hour practicum is also required for Professional Standard Three.

11. I have a Master’s degree in TESL from a Canadian university. Can I get TESL Canada certification?

All masters/doctoral graduates in TESL or equivalent with a demonstrated background in adult ESL education, with appropriate practicum, from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of Universities Canada (formerly AUCC) are eligible for TESL Canada Standard Three upon application. These programs are on the TESL Canada list of recognized programs. Proof of a 50-hour practicum is required.

12. I am TESL Ontario or TESL Saskatchewan Standard Two certified. Can I use this certification towards TESL Canada certification?

TESL Ontario and TESL Saskatchewan Standard Two certificants are eligible to apply for TESL Canada certification through a streamlined process. Individuals with TESL Ontario Certificate of Accreditation or TESL Saskatchewan Competency in TESL (Standard 2) Accreditation applying for Professional Standard Two should complete the streamlined form on TESL Canada’s website. This application category is subject to a reduced application fee of $45.00 + applicable tax that covers the direct costs of the streamlined administrative process.

TESL Ontario and TESL Saskatchewan certificants who have relevant Master’s degrees for Standard Three certification will follow the usual path for Standard Three certification and pay the full $90.00 fee. However, their TESL Ontario or TESL Saskatchewan certificate will be taken as the necessary proof that all essential academic and practicum requirements have been met, thus making the process less complex than the regular stream.

13. Is membership the same as certification?

No, these are not the same. Membership is signing up and paying a fee to belong to the association while certification is an additional process which recognizes professional adult ESL teaching qualifications and leads to a certificate.

Membership in a provincial TESL organization or with TESL Canada provides benefits such as professional learning opportunities, member discounts on conferences and/or professional training activities, newsletters, peer support, and eligibility for grants and bursaries. Certification recognizes professional adult ESL teaching qualifications. It involves a longer application and requires providing supporting documents.

14. I have lost my TESL Canada certificate. Can I be issued a new one?

Yes, to request a lost or misplaced certificate please complete the Certificate Re-issue Form located under certification forms on the website, www.tesl.ca. Fee: $20.00 Plus applicable tax.

15. Can I decide not to do the practicum portion of my TESL training?

This is not recommended as it will compromise your training and will complicate the process of becoming certified by TESL Canada. Please read the section “Cases with no Practicum” located in the Instructor’s Manual under Certification Overview.