FAQ – OCT Certification and AQs

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What are Additional Qualifications?

McNay: Additional Qualifications (AQ) courses qualify you to teach grades, subjects, or specialties beyond your initial teacher qualification. If your initial teaching qualification is PJ, you may want to qualify to teach JI. Or, if your qualification is JI Music, you may wish to qualify to teach PJ, or JI Math, or IS Music.

You may begin taking AQ courses as soon as you have completed your B.Ed. program. Western is one of many many AQ providers in the province. At Western, AQ courses are offered through the ASPIRE – Advanced Studies in Professional Education – Office, which is located in the Faculty of Education building.

Why does Western not offer discounts on AQ courses for recent graduates of the B.Ed.?

McNay: This is a question you would have to ask Western’s Continuing Studies Department. The Faculty of Education develops and teaches AQ courses as well as a STEM Certificate Program, but the administration of those courses—including fees and other administrative matters—is the responsibility of Western Continuing Studies.

Since Western’s B.Ed. is an OCT accredited program, couldn’t the OCT certification process be streamlined? Why do we have to apply to the OCT and pay the application fee?

McNay: This is a question you would have to ask the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) —but do not do so until you fully understand what the OCT does.

Because certification is an OCT responsibility, the OCT gets to determine how it is done. The OCT is government-mandated and responsible to the public, and they do not have to take guidance from our Faculty or any other Faculty. At the end of each academic year, the Faculties simply provide them with confirmation that you have completed your program.

The OCT is what is called a regulatory body or regulatory agency—all professions have them:  accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers, veterinarians—if you are interested, here’s a full list of regulated professions in Ontario. Regulatory bodies make it possible for the members of the profession to govern themselves. They set standards and ethical guidelines, accredit programs, and have disciplinary powers over their members—all in the public interest. Doing all this costs money. A new teacher registering for the first time pays a one-time fee. After that, to remain in good standing, each member pays an annual membership fee. It is the price of being a member of a self-governing profession.

It is perhaps worth noting that the annual fee for OCT members in 2016 was $150. Only one profession, the College of Trades, was lower ($135); the College of Early Childhood Educators was equal ($150); and all 34 other professions were higher (up to over $2100 annually). You can compare the annual fees here if you are interested.


This week’s expert contributor:

  • Dr. Margaret McNay, Associate Dean

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