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General topics

Graduate Degree

Five Plus Category



F.A.Q. - General topics

I am thinking about moving to British Columbia.  What will my category be?
Category placement varies by province.  Applicants in BC are placed into a category based on the Regulations and Policies in place at the time of the evaluation.  Do not assume that your category placement will be the same in British Columbia as elsewhere.  If you would like to know which category you may qualify for prior to a move, you can request a pre-evaluation by submitting the following documents:

  1. A completed application form with a clear statement in the additional comments section that you are requesting a pre-evaluation.
  2. Copies/scans of all of your official post secondary transcripts.  If your first degree was from outside of Canada or the United States, also send a copy of your high school diploma or A/O level documents.  Do not send student records or printouts from the internet, the TQS will not evaluate those documents.

While the TQS will accept copies of official transcripts for a pre-evaluation, we will require official transcripts before a TQS card can be processed.

Once we have received the above documents, we will be able to process a pre-evaluation for you.  The TQS places teachers into a pay category based solely on their education.  Credit for years of experience is determined by the school district in which you work.  Salary categorization is separate from teacher certification/licencing in BC.  In order to obtain a teaching certificate you must apply separately with separate documentation to the Teacher Regulation Branch (https://teacherregulation.gov.bc.ca/).

Does the Teacher Regulation Branch share my documentation with the TQS?
No.  The Teacher Regulation Branch and TQS are separate organizations.  No documentation is shared between the two organizations.  When your teaching certificate is issued, a copy of that certificate only is forwarded to the TQS by the Teacher Regulation Branch.  You must apply separately with separate documentation to both the Teacher Regulation Branch and TQS in order to teach in the BC public school system.

How do I get a teaching certificate/licence for British Columbia?
In order to obtain a teaching certificate/licence for British Columbia you must apply to the Teacher Regulation Branch (https://teacherregulation.gov.bc.ca/).  You must also apply separately with separate documentation to the TQS in order to receive a category card for pay purposes.  The Teacher Regulation Branch does not forward documentation to the TQS with the exception of a copy of your teaching certificate/licence.

I have a district assigned category "five plus," how do I have this reflected on my TQS category card?
Please submit a signed TQS application form, and have your school district mail or fax to the TQS a letter on school district letterhead indicating that you have satisfied the district's requirements for the "five plus" category, and the date you qualified for their "five plus" category.

How do I apply for TQS category five plus (5+)?
Please submit a signed TQS application form, proof of your public school employment and official transcript(s) for all of the course work completed for your five plus category.

I have lost my TQS card.  How do I get another one?
Please submit application form "Replacement or Change Card application," and proof of your public school employment.  If you are not currently employed, we can accept a written statement from you that you are seeking employment in the public school system.  Indicating which districts you are applying to at item 4 on the TQS application form is sufficient.  Your new TQS card will be mailed to you within two weeks.

I have finished my graduate degree.  How do I upgrade?
Please submit an application form, verification of your public school employment (most applicants simply photocopy a paystub) and an official transcript from the university indicating completion of your graduate degree.

If a transcript with a degree statement is not yet available, we will accept an official transcript showing all credit awarded for your graduate degree and an official letter from the university indicating that you have met all your degree requirements, the date your requirements were met, and the date your degree will be awarded.

My name has changed.  How do I change my TQS card?
We require a signed "Replacement or Change Card application," verification that you are employed in the BC public school system (most applicants simply photocopy a paystub), and a clear photocopy of your name change document (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.).  Your new TQS card will be mailed to you within two weeks.

My Teacher Regulation Branch / British Columbia College of Teachers certificate has changed.  How do I change my TQS card?
Please submit a Replacement or Change Card application along with verification of your public school employment (most applicants simply photocopy a paystub) and a clear photocopy of your updated/revised teaching certificate.  Your new TQS card will be mailed to you within two weeks.

I have completed my first degree and am upgrading from a Conditional to a Professional Teaching certificate.  How do I upgrade my TQS category?
Upon completion of a degree acceptable to the Teacher Regulation Branch, you may upgrade your TRB certificate from Conditional, Standard, or Developmental Standard Term, to Professional certificate.  Based on the completion of your degree, you may be eligible for an upgrade in your TQS category.  In order to upgrade your TQS category you must submit an application form along with verification of your public school employment (most applicants simply photocopy a paystub).  We will also require official university transcript(s) showing completion of your degree and a copy of your updated Professional teaching certificate from the TRB.

How can I find out if my Integrated Program courses are acceptable to the TQS for a category upgrade?
Please complete the Course Approval Form and submit it to the TQS.

I have finished my fifth year.  How do I apply for an upgrade?
Please submit an application form along with verification of your public school employment (most applicants simply photocopy a paystub) and official university transcripts documenting the completion of all of your fifth year course work.

Are there any deadlines for submitting an application to TQS?
Effective Date Documents Received Between Integrated Program and Undergraduate Completion Graduate Degree Completion
January 1 December 1 to March 31 December 31 January 31
May 1 April 1 to June 30 April 30 May 31
September 1 July 1 to November 30 August 31 September 30

Please see TQS Regulations 7.06, 7.07, and 7.08 regarding TQS effective dates for more details.

When does the TQS process evaluations?
The TQS processes evaluations year-round.

How long does it take to get a TQS category card?
The average processing time for a complete file within the TQS office is two weeks from the receipt of the last required document to the time a TQS card is mailed.

What is the Fee?
Funding for the Teacher Qualification Service is provided by the British Columbia Teachers' Federation and British Columbia School Trustees Association.  You will not be charged for a TQS card.

If you would like your official transcripts returned, there is a fifteen dollar (CAD$15.00) Shipping and Handling charge.  This should be submitted to the TQS in the form of a "Postal Money Order" available at any Canada Post service outlet.  Do not send a personal cheque.  Please be sure to clearly state that you would like your documents returned to you.  One-of-a-kind documents will be returned by registered mail.  All other transcripts will be returned by regular mail unless requested otherwise.

I have a graduate degree.  Why am I not TQS category six?
A graduate degree does not equate to category six (6).  One must have an acceptable graduate degree beyond qualifying for TQS category five before they are eligible for TQS category six.  Not all graduate degrees are acceptable.  Please see TQS Regulation 2.01 for the requirements for each TQS category.  TQS policy 5.00 details the requirements of an acceptable graduate degree.

How can I find out if the graduate degree I want to take is acceptable for TQS categorization purposes?
Please complete and submit a Program Approval request.  You should include your full legal name and current home mailing address in addition to the name of the institution, the exact name of the program and a link where we can view the detailed information on the program.  As program approvals can be very time consuming and the TQS has limited staff we kindly ask that you narrow your request to no more than 2-3 programs.  The TQS will advise you of the status of the degree you have selected once we have had a chance to review the program.

What are the guidelines for graduate degree approval?
The basic requirements of an acceptable graduate degree are:

  • Completed in a theme related to public K-12 education or educational practice in British Columbia
  • From an accredited degree granting institute acceptable to the TQS
  • Master degree or Doctorate degree recognized by TQS must be awarded

See TQS Policy 5.00 for complete details.  The TQS recommends that you have the degree you wish to pursue pre-approved to ensure it meets TQS requirements and results in the upgrade you expect.

Does the TQS have a list of approved graduate degrees?
The TQS does not maintain a list of approved graduate degrees.  The administrative overhead for maintaining a list of thousands of acceptable programs from all over the world is too great.  Also, the status of programs is continuously changing as new information comes to light.  We are able to research individual requests regarding programs.

What can I do if I feel that TQS has made an error in assigning my category?
If you believe that an error may have been made in assigning your category, it is your responsibility to immediately initiate a review of the category assigned to you.  The review and appeal process is explained in Section 8:00 of the TQS Regulations.  Do not delay in submitting your request for a review as any resulting revision to your category card is based on the date your request is received by TQS, not the date of any preceding evaluation.  You must be employed in the BC public school system to request a review of your category.

Do I need to quote a file number when contacting the TQS?
No, TQS clients are filed in the database by full legal name.  For this reason, it is very important to provide your exact legal name (and any previous names) on all correspondence so that your file may be accessed quickly and accurately.

I have completed some courses that were required by the Teacher Regulation Branch for permanent or professional certification.  Do I qualify for an upgrade?
In most cases, no, however please feel free to contact the TQS for further information.

Does the TQS keep track of my years of experience?
No, your TQS category is based solely on your schooling.  Years of experience are administered by individual school districts.

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