Method of delivery:
Applications open:
(TBC) October 1, 2024
Applications close:
(TBC) January 31, 2025
Next start date:
(TBC) September 2025

For inquiries about the AHCOTE program, please contact Amy Wiebe Lau at pps_manager@sfu.ca.

Future generations need you. Open the door to a new and rewarding career in teaching in schools across Northern B.C., and further afield. As well as obtaining a certificate to teach in B.C., the Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education (AHCOTE) program will push you outside your comfort zone and help you apply your talents (both existing and new) in an educational setting.

AHCOTE is a joint teacher education program offered by Simon Fraser University (SFU), Northern Lights College (NLC), School Districts 59, 60, 81 and local teacher associations.


Designed for

We designed AHCOTE for aspiring elementary and secondary school teachers interested in working and living in Northern British Columbia. Graduates qualify for a B.C. Ministry of Education teaching certificate that enables you to teach K-12 in B.C. schools—and in many other countries around the world. Eligible AHCOTE students may be able to complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) as a second degree without adding extra time or cost to the program.

Program Structure

  • 16-month program
  • 4 semesters
  • Field experiences
  • Teaching practicum

Intake Schedule

AHCOTE typically accepts applications on an annual basis.

Next Start Terms

  • Fall 2022
  • Fall 2023


Program Design

Over 16 months, students uncover their motives for teaching, explore teaching theory and practices, and learn how to use critical inquiry and reflection as tools for ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.

Entering With a Completed Bachelor Degree

Students who enter AHCOTE with a completed degree can finish the program in 16 months. Upon completion, they are eligible to apply to the Teacher Certification Branch (TCB) and start teaching with a Professional Teaching Certificate provided all course prerequisites have been met.

Entering With 60 Units in Designated Areas or an NLC Associate Degree

Students who enter AHCOTE with 60 units in designated areas or with NLC’s Associate of Arts Degree can also finish the program in 16 months. They are eligible to apply to the TCB and start teaching with a Conditional Teaching Certificate provided they have the required minimum credits and all course prerequisites have been met. These students generally need an additional 30 elective units to earn SFU’s Bachelor of General Studies (Education) and a Professional Teaching Certificate. Depending on how your completion of NLC’s Associate of Arts Degree aligns with AHCOTE intakes, students may have the option of taking 30 elective units before enrolling in AHCOTE.

AHCOTE has 10 program goals that student teachers must satisfy in order to successfully complete their transition from student to teacher.

Program Goals

Goal 1: The development of a clear, coherent and justified view of education that:

  • Demonstrates understanding of the place of education as contributing to the creation of an open, pluralistic and caring society;
  • Articulates the content, methods and institutional arrangements that are relevant, worthwhile and appropriate for the education of children;
  • Speaks to a personal vision of what one can achieve as an educator;
  • Continually and consciously reshapes through experiences with a variety of learners in a range of socio-cultural contexts;
  • Is informed by understanding of the historical and contemporary legacies of imperialism and colonization on the education system of British Columbia;
  • Realizes the powerful, and sometimes negative, impact that our Eurocentric education system has had, and continues to have, upon students.

Goal 2: The development of a clear commitment to lifelong and lifewide learning that:

  • Manifests an openness to considering alternatives and possibilities;
  • Is rooted in the development of reflective capacities; inherent in various forms of inquiry;
  • Engages in the wide range of subject-based practices that inform the practice of teaching;
  • Is demonstrated in the ability to form and reform ideas, methods, techniques;
  • Upholds standards of excellence
  • Sets an example for students and stimulates them to be continuous learners.

Goal 3: The development of a clear commitment to uphold the principles of professional responsibility that:

  • Is sensitive to the positions of privilege, power, and trust in which teachers are placed;
  • Recognizes that teachers are role models who are rational, reliable, organized, responsible and responsive;
  • Demonstrates thoughtful and self-initiating behaviour that is reflective, positive in outlook, genuine, non-defensive and non-judgmental;
  • Demonstrates a reflective approach to personal well-being and the well-being of others;
  • Results in an increasing level of personal resilience.

Goal 4: The development of a clear commitment to maintain ethical and functional working relationships with all members of the educational community that:

  • Is open and responsive to feedback and constructive criticism;
  • Is demonstrated through significant, on-going dialogue and collaboration with colleagues, students, parents and others in the educational community;
  • Shows care and respect for every student;
  • Is authentic, transparent and honest;
  • Communicates openness to other worldviews, belief systems and points of view;
  • Reflects humility and consideration for others.

Goal 5: The development of knowledge about curricular content, educational theory and effective practice that:

  • Demonstrates the ability to communicate effectively in English or French;
  • Demonstrates the ability to understand and work with subject-specific content seen through Canadian, Indigenous and global lenses;
  • Sees opportunities for cross-curricular and cross-cultural connections;
  • Is cognizant of how individuals and groups of students learn;
  • Demonstrates the understanding and ability to create purposeful, contextually relevant lesson and unit plans;
  • Is aware of current, and varied, evaluation and assessment practices;
  • Is rooted in a strong sense of what is best for particular students in particular situations.

Goal 6: The development of the clear commitment to respect and celebrate students that:

  • Demonstrates respect and dignity for students as persons with varied interests, needs, backgrounds, points of view, plans, goals and aspirations;
  • Demonstrates care for students and their individual development;
  • Celebrates the diversity in our classrooms, schools and communities;
  • Demonstrates the understanding of how Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies create opportunities to meet the needs of all learners and students of Indigenous ancestry;
  • Demonstrates the ability to observe, understand and respond respectfully to all students: including students with special educational needs and students for whom English or French is an additional language;
  • Demonstrates the ability to observe, understand and respond respectfully to the diversities of all students.

Goal 7: The development of the ability to create a caring, cohesive community of learners that:

  • Places students at the centre of decision-making;
  • Communicates openness;
  • Demonstrates tolerance for uncertainty;
  • Celebrates and appreciates the spirit of inquiry;
  • Demonstrates the ability to be a thoughtful and sensitive observer of what goes on in the classroom;
  • Develops and nurtures a positive classroom community conducive to the learning and well-being for all students;
  • Encourages interpersonally sound working relationships among students.

Goal 8: The development of the ability to create opportunities for learning that:

  • Accesses and engages students' ability to think and learn through their minds, bodies, and hearts;
  • Are significant, relevant and matched to students’ intellectual, physical, social, emotional, aesthetic and vocational development;
  • Are responsive to students’ individual learning needs;
  • Are consistent with the BC Curriculum;
  • Utilizes relevant learning resources and technologies;
  • Are conducive to the development of critical thought processes;
  • Are sensitive to issues of social equity and cultural diversity;
  • Incorporates assessment as foundational in planning.

Goal 9: The development of the ability to blend theory and practice in well-organized ways that:

  • Relies on the ability to critically examine one’s own practices and experiences;
  • Includes the ability to recreate, re-invent, re-constitute or discard practices that have been tried and found to be ineffective to individual and/or group learning needs;
  • Motivates students to take ownership of their learning;
  • Cultivates a disposition towards inquiry in the classroom.

Goal 10: The development of ability to use assessment and evaluation practices in a thoughtful and ethical manner that:

  • Makes use of varied practices of assessment that are congruent with learning Goals;
  • Respects the dignity of each learner;
  • Acknowledges the personal, relational, social and cultural perspectives that frame evaluative commentary on student growth and development;
  • Demonstrates the understanding that assessment, in its many guises, is foundational to effective and powerful learning.

Schedule & Courses

AHCOTE has four semesters that combine professional coursework, multiple field experiences and a teaching practicum.

SEMESTER 1: Coursework (September to December)

  • NLC Education 220: Introduction to Educational Psychology
  • One of: NLC Education 252: Introduction to Reflective Practice or SFU Education 352W: Building on Reflective Practice (for students who have already completed EDUC 252)
  • SFU Education 472-412: Designs for Learning: Elementary Language Arts or Designs for Learning: Secondary Language Arts
  • SFU Education 475: Designs for Learning: Elementary Mathematics
  • SFU Upper-Division Elective by Distance Education (for non-degreed students only)

NOTE: Coursework taken in this semester depends on whether you have been accepted to teach Elementary or Secondary and which courses you may have taken prior to AHCOTE. Prior to the enrollment date, the academic advisor will send an email confirming which courses need to be taken.

Semester 2: EDUC 401/402 - Integration of Theory and Practice (15 Units) (January to April)

Focus on continuing your transition from student to teacher by participating in seminars and workshops that promote critical inquiry and reflection. As you become more familiar with theories and research related to teaching and learning, you also have the opportunity to gain more experience working in schools and other educational communities.

Semester 3: EDUC 404 - Professional Coursework (15 Units) (May to August)

Take four to six professional courses related to teaching methods and practices. A minimum of 15 upper division EDUC units is required. If you are pursuing the secondary option in the AHCOTE program, this semester is spent at SFU’s Burnaby campus taking specialized methodology courses in your teachable majors and/or minors.

Semester 4: EDUC 405 - Teaching Practicum (15 Units) (September to December)

Complete a full-time, supervised teaching practicum at a local school. Practicums are completed over 10-12 weeks and final placement location is determined by many factors. We will use your performance in the classroom during your practicum to help assess your personal progress and professional readiness for certification with the Teacher Certification Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Education.


Since 2021, the AHCOTE program has adopted a more flexible delivery model that will allow student teachers to complete most of your training in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, B.C.

Northern Lights College - Dawson Creek Campus

The Dawson Creek Campus was the original location for NLC, having originally housed the B.C. Vocational School from 1966-1975. NLC was created in 1975 by a provincial government Order-in-Council.

Northern Lights College is located on the territory of the First Nations people of the Cree, Dane-zaa, Dene, Denek’éh, Dunne-za, Iroquois, Kaska, Saulteaux, Tsaa? Ché Ne Dane, Tse’khene, Tahltan, and Tlingit.

Northern Lights College - Fort St. John Campus

The Fort St. John Campus is located on the north edge of the city, adjacent to the scenic Fish Creek Park and Community Forest. The campus serves more than 1,800 students each year, enrolled in a variety of programming.

Northern Lights College is located on the territory of the First Nations people of the Cree, Dane-zaa, Dene, Denek’éh, Dunne-za, Iroquois, Kaska, Saulteaux, Tsaa? Ché Ne Dane, Tse’khene, Tahltan, and Tlingit.

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby Campus

Perched atop Burnaby Mountain, Simon Fraser University's original Arthur Erickson-designed campus includes more than three dozen academic buildings and a flourishing sustainable residential community.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, on which SFU Burnaby is located.


Like our other teacher education programs, AHCOTE uses a unique staffing model that teams SFU's world-class researchers (faculty members) with highly-skilled seconded teachers (faculty associates) and practicing K-12 teachers (school associates) as teacher educators. Meet our Faculty Associates.


Where this program can take you: The Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education (AHCOTE) can launch your teaching career in British Columbia or elsewhere—even abroad. With careful course and minor selection, eligible AHCOTE students may be able to complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) as a second degree.

After successful completion of AHCOTE, SFU recommends students to the Teacher Certification Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Education for a teaching certificate. AHCOTE students receive either a Conditional or Professional Teaching Certificate.

Conditional Certificate (5-Year Duration)

Issued to AHCOTE students who are still working toward a degree but have completed the required minimum units as well as all prerequisite courses. You must complete your Bachelor's degree within five years to continue teaching. Upon completion of a degree, the TCB would issue a Professional Certificate.

Professional Certificate (Non-Expiring)

Issued to AHCOTE students who have completed a Bachelor's degree and all of the required prerequisite coursework.


The BEd is an internationally-recognized credential and a great option for student teachers who are considering teaching overseas. Completion of the BEd second degree is strictly optional and does not add extra time or cost to the program. It also does not affect your B.C. teaching certificate recommendation.

To complete the BEd second degree, you must have a Bachelor's degree from an approved institution and meet SFU's literacy and quantitative requirements.

You must also: 

  • Take a minimum 15 upper division EDUC units during the EDUC 404 semester, including a Q course
  • Meet the requirements of an Education minor within the 15 upper division EDUC units


Curious to know more about the program?


Meet some AHCOTE alumni.

  • “Apply to AHCOTE. Whatever your gifts, they are needed in education.”

  • “Being in a class with an instructor and other students enriches your learning experience, I think. You can bounce ideas off of other people; it increases the clarity of some things when you are face to face.”

“Now a certified teacher, he says doing the program and becoming a teacher is one of his best decisions.” 

Radley Brown, 2019 Graduate


Start your journey to becoming a teacher in British Columbia. Register for an AHCOTE information session. Hosted by representatives from SFU and NLC, you will learn about:

  • The history and structure of the program
  • The different program options
  • The admission requirements, including prerequisites
  • The application process and deadlines
  • A Q&A to get your questions answered


If you have questions about AHCOTE not covered on our website, contact our admissions team.

Admissions email: pps_admissions@sfu.ca

To prevent missing emails from us, add pps_admissions@sfu.ca to your contact list if you are not using an SFU email account.

Virtual Hours

Get help with your application and connect with a member of the admissions team during our virtual drop-in hours: every Wednesday from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (PST).**

Meet on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 660 0788 5834
Password: 833520
Regular Schedule: Wednesday, 3:00 pm - 4:00 p.m. (PST)

**Regularly scheduled time slot subject to change or cancellation without notice