I want to teach in Canada. Will I be able to find a job and will I be paid like a pauper?
March 26, 2007 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Can a California boy find work as an elementary/primary school teacher in one of the BIG Canadian cities? What is the salary for a teacher like?

I'm in school in Los Angeles to become a teacher. I know that for Ontario, you are eligible to be a teacher in Ontario if you have a bachelor's degree plus completion of a teacher education program. No problem.

My question really is: is it quite easy to find employment as a teacher in a Canadian BIG city? (I don't want to live in suburbs or wilderness) Are there lots of jobs or is it uber-competitive? Do schools--and Canadians--like to hire Americans/not discriminate against Americans or do they hate us as much as the rest of the world does?

How much would a teacher in a big city get paid? To put the salary in perspective, would it be enough to live on? I don't want to live like a prince or pauper. Just want to be able to afford humble housing (1 bedroom house/apartment/condominium) in the city--a part of the city that isn't a trashy ghetto.

Do teachers get regular raises? In the U.S., teachers get automatic raises every year. Teachers also get paid more if they have completed a master's degree. Here' an example of an American salary schedule .

Canada is such a fantastic place and I really want to move there. But I don't want to move if I'm going to be penniless.

P.S. Can I teach in Ottawa if I don't speak French? What about Toronto? Vancouver? Edmonton? Calgary?
posted by HotPatatta to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: In Ontario, teachers start at around $38,000 and top out at about $70,000 after ten years. There are not a lot of teaching jobs here right now, we seem to have more graduates than jobs. French is not necessay but would pretty much guarantee you a job if you had it.

I haven't seen any discrimination against American's looking for work. Most people make the distinction between a government and an individual.
posted by saucysault at 5:59 PM on March 26, 2007

According to my teacher friends:

You don't need French in Vancouver. You do need to put in your dues as a teacher-on-call, and it's uber-competitive. You will, politically, be at a disadvantage being from out-of-country. You may not work full-time for five years or more. Yes, you will struggle.

There is a surplus of teachers in Canada pretty much everywhere but in Alberta and in the sticks. If you want to work in Fort St. John, you probably could...if you applied for and got citizenship. You're unlikely to get work with a visa, even if you can get one, simply because school districts want long-term and a work visa isn't long-term.

In short, your best bet is to get residency status and try to get your citizenship, and move to Calgary or Ednonton. Otherwise, you're probably not going to get what you're looking for.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:01 PM on March 26, 2007

I grew up in Nova Scotia and very few of my teachers spoke French, including my French teachers.

Alberta can't get enough people to work in pretty much every industry so you could probably get a job there really easily, if the issue of your eligibility to work is taken care of.

If you can teach special education, you can get a job anywhere.

How are you planning to get citizenship or landed immigrant (same as permanent resident in the US) status? Do you have a Canadian family connection? You can move to Canada without one - lots do - but it's a big advantage.

You may want to contact the teachers' union in whatever province most appeals to you, and ask what they recommend.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:21 PM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: I am a teacher in Ontario.

If you want to teach in Ontario, you need to start here with the Ontario College of Teachers. That's our regulatory body, anybody who teaches in a publicly funded school in Ontario must be a member.

This is one of the bigger teaching job websites. Also check here, or on the various school board websites (listed here).

On or around page 35 of this PDF you will find the current salary grid for a randomly googled OSSTF (teacher's union) district in Toronto. You will find these numbers to be consistent with pretty much any board across Ontario (northern boards such as the one I work in tend to pay slightly more on the order of a few grand a year)

You're not going to get paid much more, if anything, for having a masters degree - the emphasis is more on completing AQ (Additional Qualification) courses related to teaching or your subject area.

You won't have to speak any French, anywhere. Lack of French will not hold you back.

I can't give you any advice on how you would go about being permitted to work here. Nobody will really care that you're American. Some will razz you good-naturedly, that's about it.

Email in profile if you have any further questions (or keep it in thread, I'll check back)
posted by davey_darling at 6:28 PM on March 26, 2007

is it quite easy to find employment as a teacher in a Canadian BIG city?

Not too too easy. I know a relatively newly qualified teacher, in Ottawa, and just a subsitute teaching 'in' from a friend's elementary school vice principal friend turned out to be a bit of a water-in-the-desert thing. Best we can tell, there's a lot of that low-level patronage involved.

It doesn't look hopeless, though; she just got a little contract. And is currently reading "Catholicism for Dummies" -- see also the local 'separate' board.

My student apartments were modest 1-bdrms in decent neighbourhoods; I've lived in LA, and, well, I can see why you'd worry, but the two don't compare. It's hard to find concentrated trashy ghettos here, and rents are reasonably reasonable.

Few of the non-French-immersion teachers I had as a kid spoke any French; not a worry if you're not teaching it.
posted by kmennie at 11:29 PM on March 26, 2007

One big barrier nobody is bringing up is that you are probably not eligible to work in Canada as anything. You should research the work visa requirements and immigration possibilities. You will probably need a job offer before you can come and I am not sure if a simple teaching position merits a work visa in Canada as there are plenty of Canadian teachers who will get preference.
posted by srboisvert at 3:26 AM on March 27, 2007

One big barrier nobody is bringing up is that you are probably not eligible to work in Canada as anything.

Hi, I'm nobody. Pleased to meet you.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:55 AM on March 27, 2007

i'm moving to canada this summer for grad school (it's looking like windsor, ontario), so i've had to look into some of this. and, yeah, you would need a provincial sponsorship, most likely, in order to get a work visa. my understanding is that it would have been easier if you'd completed a degree at a canadian school. your employer, as i understand it, has to be able to prove that no canadian citizen was available/eligible to fill the position. if there's not a teacher shortage, that's unlikely to be the case.

you could start by getting a job in the north, where demand is higher; the transition to a larger city might be easier if you had a few years' experience somewhere small and isolated (also, i hear churchill, manitoba has a lot of seasonal openings for plus-size strippers, but i don't know if that would be a good fit for you). and i'm not sure what the situation is for teaching on reserves, but i suspect there is greater demand.

also bear in mind that toronto and vancouver are ludicrously expensive places to live. if i were you, i'd take a good long look at winnipeg, which has some of the lowest housing costs i've ever seen. my boyfriend, who lives there, just snagged a (tiny, but cute) two bedroom house in a rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood downtown for under $80k canadian. prior to that he was living in a nice apartment for under $500 a month for a place downtown, all utilities included (a big plus when you consider the heating bill). it's also a wonderful city, generally (if a bit rough in patches), provided you can take the cold, which is something to take into consideration.
posted by wreckingball at 3:06 PM on March 27, 2007

toronto and vancouver are ludicrously expensive places to live

Only if you want to buy a home. And Calgary's worse than Vancouver. To rent, Vancouver is not particularly expensive comparable to other cities, especially once you factor in that local wages are high compared to other cities (I pay $680, including all utilities). Rents are even higher in Calgary than in Van, but wages are also higher.

Food is ridiculously cheap in Vancouver. Gas is about the highest in the country.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:58 PM on March 27, 2007

Start here to find out if you're eligible for immigration. You may qualify as a skilled worker.
posted by deborah at 4:52 PM on March 28, 2007

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