Professional Qualification Program

Even for experienced educators, teaching in a new country can be a daunting and often complicated experience. But for Simerpreet Kaur Bains, getting certified in British Columbia was an “incredible and unforgettable journey.”

By the time Simerpreet moved to Canada from India in 2018, she was a skilled biology teacher and an Assistant Professor in Education.

“I have always been passionate about teaching,” says Simerpreet. “I really believe that this profession has the power to influence students and society.”

Knowing she wanted to follow this passion and continue teaching in Canada, she turned to the B.C. Ministry of Education and the Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants Program.

“They conducted an information session and outlined all the steps for applying to the Teacher Certification Branch (TCB),” she recalls. “It helped me to understand the certification process.”

After having her credentials evaluated, the TCB recommended that Simerpreet apply to SFU's Professional Qualification Program (PQP).

“I did some research and felt that this program was right for me,” she says. “It recognized and honoured my previous experience and gave me exactly what I needed­ – Canadian school experience.”

While applying to the program, Simerpreet volunteered at Creekside Elementary School in Surrey, which gave her excellent exposure to the local education system and aided her application.

To anyone thinking of applying, Simerpreet’s advice is to start early.

“Getting all the pre-requisites done before you enter the program sets you up for its fast pace.” 

Now a teacher on call (TTOC) with the Surrey School District, she says she is grateful for the ways the PQP challenged her.

“The PQP pushed me to extend my thinking and grow as an individual and as a professional. I think the system here has given me more avenues to get creative with my teaching.”

Are you an internationally-trained educator looking to teach in B.C.? Applications for the PQP’s January 2022 intake close on March 31, 2021. Visit our website for more information.