Professional Linking Program

Method of delivery:
In person
Applications open:
October 1, 2022
Applications close:
January 31, 2023
Next start date:
January 2024

Get certified as a teacher in B.C. while continuing to work in your paraprofessional role. The flexible Professional Linking Program (PLP) enables student support workers, education assistants, counselors and other working paraprofessionals switch to a teaching career.

Program Overview

Designed For

The PLP was designed to provide working paraprofessionals and para-educators the opportunity to switch to a K-12 teaching career in B.C. Paraprofessionals and para-educators include:

  • Student support workers
  • Education assistants
  • Child and youth care workers
  • Counsellors
  • Settlement workers
  • Independent schools educators
  • French-speaking teachers working with letters of permission

Program Structure

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

Intake Schedule

The Professional Linking Program accepts applications on an annual basis.

Next Start Terms

  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2024

Program Design & Courses

Program Design

The PLP is unique in that it enables you to get certified as a teacher in B.C., while continuing to work in your current role. The only exceptions are the 3-week school experience in the second semester and the final long practicum semester.

Graduates qualify for a B.C. Ministry of Education teaching certificate that enables you to teach K-12 in B.C. public schools—and in many other countries around the world. PLP students who want to become secondary school teachers can complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) as a second degree without adding extra time or cost to the program.

The Professional Linking Program (PLP) 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 in openness to considering alternatives and possibilities;
  • Is rooted in the development of reflective capacities;
  • 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 inherent in various forms of inquiry;
  • Sets an example for students and stimulates them to be continuous learners.

Goal 3: The development of a clear commitment to uphold the principles that should govern a democratic and pluralistic community that:

  • Is sensitive to the position of privilege, power, and trust in which teachers are placed;
  • Recognizes that teachers are role models who are rational, reliable, responsible and responsive;
  • Demonstrates thoughtful and self-initiating behaviour that is reflective, positive in outlook, genuine, non-defensive and non-judgmental.

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;
  • Show 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;
  • Results in an increasing level of personal resilience.

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.

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.

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

  • Accesses and engagees 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 B.C. 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;
  • Encourages interpersonally sound working relationships among students;
  • 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

The Professional Linking Program (PLP) has four semesters that are structured to accommodate busy working schedules.

SEMESTER 1 (January - April): EDUC 402W - Studies of Educational Theory and Practice (7 units)

Begin the study of the literature of education and examine educational issues. Campus-based seminars will introduce theory, concepts and methodologies relevant to teacher development. You may also attend curriculum workshops to become more familiar with a vast array of educational resources. During the first semester, the goal is to make meaning of the vast and complex world of educational practice, and have this meaning informed by the extensive study of the literature and by thoughtful, reflective discourse.

Classes held on Wednesdays 4:30 - 8:30 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.

SEMESTER 2 (May - August): EDUC 404 - Professional Coursework (15 units)

All PLP student teachers are required to take a minimum of 15 units of upper-division Education courses in order to complete the Professional Coursework requirements for certification. Courses can be taken over one or more semesters to accommodate work schedules. With careful course and minor selection, you can also complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) as second degree without adding any extra time or cost to the program. An Advisor will provide more information on this option during the first semester of the program.

Full time studies.

SEMESTER 3 (September - December): EDUC 403 - Studies in Teaching and Learning (11 units)

Engage in school observation and practice teaching opportunities that build on the theoretical foundations explored in the first semester. You will connect your previous knowledge and experience as paraprofessionals with seminar concepts and practicum activities. Develop dispositional capacities and engage in comparative studies of teaching/learning between students' current roles and their future roles as teachers. The course aims to enhance existing knowledge about pedagogical practices through reflective practice and community learning models, and integrates this with the broader competencies of a teacher. Campus-based classes are held on weekends. There is also the requirement of a three-week period of continuous practice teaching in early October or November. It is your responsibility to arrange for time off from your employment in order to attend to the practice teaching requirement. The placement coordinator will place you in local schools in the Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley. You must be prepared to travel a distance to attend your school placement.

Classes held Saturdays 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.

SEMESTER 4 (January - April): EDUC 405 - Teaching Semester (15 units)

You will be assigned to a classroom for 10–12 weeks of student teaching experience. During this semester, the school associate and faculty associate provide help and guidance, as well as make assessments of your growth toward the achievement of standards of professional competence. You must arrange with your districts for a full-time leave of absence for this entire practicum. You will be placed by the placement coordinator in local schools in the Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley. You must be prepared to travel a distance to attend your school placement.

Full-time teaching practicum.


At SFU, campus life is rich with opportunities to engage with people, ideas and activities that contribute to personal development and a better world.


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.


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Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories, including the Semiahmoo, Katzie, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen Nations, on which SFU Surrey is located.

School Placements

Students will receive in-school experience, working closely with a school associate to observe classrooms and to guide and assess the student teacher's growth and achivement in professional competence.

Instructional Team

Like our other teacher education programs, the PLP 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.

Future Pathways

The PLP can launch your teaching career in B.C. or elsewhere—even abroad. With careful course and minor selection, you can also complete a Bachelor of Education (BEd) as a second degree.


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


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 completed prior to starting the PLP 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

Learn more about the Professional Linking Program

Curious to know more about the program?

Upcoming Information Sessions

Register for a Professional Linking Program (PLP) information session. Hosted by the Admissions team, 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

PLP - French Module Information Sessions

Considering teaching French or in French? Register for a Professional Linking Program (PLP) – French Module information session to learn more about the program and the possibility to become a teacher in Core French, French Immersion, or Francophone program in British Columbia.

The 30-minute information session (including a question period), hosted by SFU’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA), provides information about the French Module’s specificities and advantages such as:

Program options:

  • Optional course EDUC 486 - Identity(ies), Language(s) and Teaching: The Challenges of Bilingual/Plurilingual Teachers in a Minority Setting
  • Baccalauréat en éducation, deuxième diplôme (B.Éd.)
  • Additional bursaries and awards for students studying in French at SFU, including the PLP - French Module
  • French language support
  • Student life in French and networking with the francophone community
  • French language requirement - DELF-DALF

NOTE - It is strongly recommended to attend an information session organized by the PLP Admissions Office before attending the PLP – French Module information session.


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

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

Phone: 778-782-3559

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: 830 5666 5507
Password: 125219
Regular Schedule: Wednesday, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (PST)