Why should I take an AQ?
The OCT Standards of Practice are all closely linked to AQ courses and professional development. Chief among these is the commitment to ongoing professional learning. Beyond this, there are several reasons to take an AQ course:
- To build specific skills and knowledge that will help you and your students
- To remain on top of current educational research and best practices
- To strengthen your resume and open up new opportunities
- To become eligible for a new salary grid category
What is the difference between an AQ and an ABQ?
Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs) allow you to teach in a new division (Primary, Junior, Intermediate, Senior) or a new subject area within a division (Intermediate, Senior). Other AQ courses cover a broad range of topics, from special education, guidance, co-op, and kindergarten, to addressing anti-Black racism, e-learning, and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit studies. Some AQs are single courses, others are part of a three course specialist series.
How much work is an AQ?
The Ontario College of Teachers accredits all AQ courses (regardless of provider) as being 125 hours in length. Sometimes a teacher will ask, "Where can I take an AQ with a more manageable workload?" The truth is, any AQ worth its accreditation should require approximately 125 hours. At Lakehead University, we take our accreditation seriously, and so our courses all require approximately 125 hours. (From person to person, there may be a variance in actual hours.) Any course that requires significantly less time would be in danger of not meeting its accreditation requirements.
If you are working full time, please consider the length of the term, and review the course workload expectations. Some people can manage to take a Spring AQ course (7 weeks, 18 hours per week) while working full time. Some people can manage 2 AQ courses over the summer. For others, a Fall or Winter term is the better choice.
Which AQs should a new teacher take?
There is no set formula for which AQ courses to take. However, many school boards want their Elementary panel teachers to have Special Education, Part 1 and to be certified in the Intermediate division (as well as Primary and Junior.)
School boards and the OCT have a growing emphasis on equity and anti-oppression. In light of this, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies, Part 1 and Addressing Anti-Black Racism, Part 1 are both excellent choices.
Teaching and Learning through E-Learning, or Integration of ICT in Instruction, Part 1 are relevant, given the Ministry's emphasis on online courses for secondary, and any future pivots to online learning that may be needed.
Reading, Part 1 and Mathematics Primary & Junior, Part 1 both help with the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy, and many school boards look favourably on these courses.
What steps should I take to become a principal?
You must be certified in 3 divisions (including Intermediate). This will mean taking an ABQ course.
You must have either:
- a Master's degree*
- two Specialist qualifications (3-Part Specialist or Honours Specialist)
- one Specialist qualification and the equivalent of half a Master's degree*
*Where the program of initial teacher certification is a Master's degree (instead of a B.Ed), that degree cannot also count towards the PQP admission requirements, unless it consisted of 30 credits above and beyond those needed for initial certification.
What makes Lakehead a good choice for me?
Lakehead University has been leading the way in Additional Qualifications courses and ongoing professional learning for teachers for decades. Among our many accomplishments:
- Lakehead was one of the first online providers of AQ courses
- Lakehead was the first online provider of PQP.
- Lakehead was the first university to offer SOQP.
- Lakehead was the first online provider of SOQP.
- Lakehead is the only university to offer Special Education for Administrators.
- Lakehead was the first provider of the new Addressing Anti-Black Racism courses.
- Lakehead continually strives to develop and revise its courses to be current, relevant, and progressive.
How Does My OCT Get Updated With My AQ?
Instructors have two weeks to enter final grades. Once all grades are received and approved for all courses in a given term, the department will review these and submit recommendations to OCT. Individual candidates' OCT certification will be updated by OCT to reflect the AQs. Lakehead University does not control how long this takes, and it will vary from individual to individual. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks (after submission).
How Do I Obtain A Letter of Completion?
Once final grades are approved, successful candidates can download a PDF Letter of Completion. These are found on the D2L/Brightspace homepage (not the course page itself). Click on "Awards" in the top menu bar.
- Login to D2L/Brightspace
- If you are not on the homepage, click on the Home icon
- From the top menu bar, click on "Awards"
- Click on the name of the certificate (Course name)
- From the pop-up window, click on Generate Certificate
- This will download the PDF to your computer (check your downloads folder)
- If you notice a discrepancy with your letter, please contact email@example.com with the subject "Course Completion Letter"