Additional Qualifications – Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions

Feb 14th, 2022  |  Other

Whether you are about to graduate from your Teacher Education degree or already an in-service K-12 teacher in Ontario, knowing which Additional Qualifications (AQs) you need to meet your professional goals can be confusing. Read on for answers to some of the questions we hear frequently.


For Ontario Certified Teachers, Additional Qualifications (AQs) are the key to building your professional portfolio and improving your teaching practice. AQ courses can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to teach in other divisions and subject areas. All teachers, (practicing or teacher candidates) are encouraged and welcome to explore OISE CPL’s variety of AQ courses.

HOWEVER, if you’re new to AQs, you may have some questions – and we are here to help! Below are frequently asked questions and answers to help support your Additional Qualification decision-making process:

What is the difference between ABQ and AQ courses? How do I know when to take which type of course?

  • An ABQ allows you to teach in a new teaching division. For example, if you are an Intermediate/Senior teacher candidate, taking the Junior Basic ABQ will allow you to teach in the Junior Division. Or, if you are a Junior/Intermediate teacher candidate, taking the Mathematics Senior ABQ will allow you to gain a Math teachable, and you will be able to teach Math in grades 11-12. 
  • An AQ course enhances the knowledge that you have in your current teaching divisions. For example, if you are a Primary/Junior teacher candidate, taking Visual Arts Part 1 will allow you to enhance your knowledge on how to teach Visual Arts in the Primary and Junior Grades. However, it does not qualify you to teach Visual Arts in other divisions that you do not hold.

Do I have to take AQs in a particular order or can I enrol into courses applicable to my interest? How do I know when to take which type of course?

  •  If you are looking to take a three-part AQ, you will need to complete Part 1, followed by Part 2 and Part 3. However, for all others, such as ABQs, you can take them in any order that suits your needs. (For example, you can take Senior Math before taking Intermediate Math. You aren’t required to take them in order). 

If I want to become qualified in the senior and intermediate levels,do I take AQs based on the course I want to teach? Or is there a general AQ course that will qualify me in that grade?

  • All Intermediate and Senior ABQs are subject specific. There is no general Intermediate or general Senior ABQ. Most Intermediate and Senior ABQs have credit pre-requisites. Please ensure to read the pre-requisites on our website. If you are unsure that you meet the pre-requisites, feel free to send us a digital copy of your undergraduate transcripts for pre-assessment. NOTE: we cannot count courses taken as part of your initial teacher education program. 

When do teachers typically enrol in AQ courses? Is it possible to complete AQs while teaching?

  • The Summer term is our busiest and most popular term for AQ courses, given that teachers aren’t in the classroom in July/August. It’s possible to take AQ courses while teaching, though it does become a bit of a balancing act. If this is a concern, we would suggest taking AQs during our longer terms, which are Spring, Fall and Winter. Those terms are 10 weeks long, so 125 hours divided by 10 weeks = 12.5 hours of work per week. 

How intense is the workload?

  • All AQ courses consist of 125 hours of learning. The New Grad term is 5 weeks long, so 125 hours divided by 5 weeks = 25 hours of work per week. The New Grad term is one of our shorter terms, and so if you are planning to work full time, we would suggest taking 1 and/or no more than 2 AQ courses at a time. Most of our AQ courses are asynchronous and if learners require additional flexibility, you can connect with course facilitators to request extensions. 

If I am registered, or planning to register for and AQ course in the Spring or Summer, will I be able to obtain proof of course registration for interview purposes?

  • Absolutely. Please login to your learner profile, navigate to My Enrolment History, click “Print”, select confirmation of registration, then select “Print” to download it as a PDF.

How many AQs do I have to take to earn more money?

  • That depends on your academic background, whether you took a 3 or 4 year bachelor’s degree, and what initial teacher education program you completed. To find out exactly how many AQs you would need to take to get paid more money, you would need to submit an application to QECO (they are the organization that determines teacher pay scale placement). Once your application has been assessed, QECO will provide a letter along with a breakdown of what courses you would need to take in order to climb the pay scale and/or reach category A4 (the top of the pay scale). 

How do I know what courses to enrol in to move up the pay scale (for example A3 to A4)?

  • You will need to submit an application to QECO. Once QECO has assessed your application, they will provide you with a letter containing some options on what courses you would need to take to move up the pay scale. Once you receive this letter, feel free to connect with us should you need additional advice on which courses to take.  

What AQ courses should I take if I want to become a Principal in the future?

Here is a general overview of the PQP requirements:  

  • Certificate of Qualification in Good Standing 
  • Basic Qualifications in 3 divisions (one of which MUST be the Intermediate division) 
  • And you need to have one of the following:  
    • A Master’s degree OR  
    • 2 Specialists OR  
    • a half Master’s (15 post-graduate credits) and 1 Specialist 
  • and 5 years of successful teaching experience signed by your Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent 

NOTE: the MT and MA-CSE programs combine an initial teacher education program with a master’s degree. Please note that we cannot double dip and have this count as both towards the PQP.  

Feel free to connect with us should you wish to create a learning plan to help you meet the pre-requisites for the PQP. 

Are there courses available for educators who may want to move from classroom experience to administrative roles in school boards?

  • Yes! Junior Basic – Focus on Administration is often taken by educators looking to transition from the classroom to roles of leadership, such as becoming a principal. There may be other providers that offer other AQ courses that support a similar transition. 


More questions?

If you have any questions or need guidance, you can email us anytime to speak with a professional learning advisor at or connect with us on our social channels for news, future events and possible opportunities that spark your interest.

Additional Reading: As a Teacher Education graduate, you may be interested in reading about alternative professional pathways you may not yet have considered.

Graduates of Teacher Education programs can explore career opportunities that go far beyond the classroom


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