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Moving from Interim to Permanent? Spring is here

Q & A

April 6, 2022 Dennis Theobald, ATA Executive Secretary

Question: I’ve been working as a teacher with an Interim Professional Certificate for almost two years now. When do I qualify for a Permanent Professional Certificate? What do I have to do to receive one?

Answer: Spring is the time when teachers who are teaching with an Interim Professional Certificate (IPC) should take stock of their teaching experience and consider whether they are eligible to receive a Permanent Professional Certificate (PPC). All eligibility details are laid out in Alberta Education’s Certification of Teachers and Teacher Leaders regulation. In a nutshell, if by the end of the school year, you will have completed the equivalent of two school years’ worth of full-time teaching with an IPC in an Alberta school or its equivalent, and you have been deemed through two successful formal evaluations of your teaching practice by your principal to be meeting the Teaching Quality Standard, you qualify for a PPC. You also must be a Canadian citizen or be lawfully permitted to work in Canada before the PPC will be issued to you.

The two years of teaching experience mentioned above includes remote emergency teaching that occurred during the pandemic. Teaching experience does not have to be continuous in one school or school jurisdiction. It may consist of several assignments, full time or a fraction thereof, in more than one school or school jurisdiction. Days spent substitute teaching may also be factored into the two-school year requirement, depending on your collective agreement. The two years of teaching experience must have taken place in a school or schools in Alberta, or in a school or schools operated or approved by the minister. Experience gained in post-secondary institutions or other related professional experience may also qualify. Experience gained in registered private schools (as opposed to accredited private schools) does not count in this instance as they are not required to teach the Alberta Program of Studies, nor are they required to hire Alberta certificated teachers. 

If you believe you qualify for a PPC, your first step should be to gather up evidence of your teaching experience. This would include documentation of the number of days taught while working with an IPC and copies of evaluations of your teaching practice. Your second step is to contact your school division’s human resources department to share your evidence and to ensure that they will recommend to the registrar’s office that you are eligible for a PPC. 

You should provide your school division with the required documentation to support your request for a PPC. They, in turn, will provide the registrar at Alberta Education with the documentation and a recommendation to issue the PPC. You should receive your PPC card sometime towards the end of August. If you do not receive your PPC before school starts in September, you’ll want to make your principal aware of that and request that they investigate the delay. Hopefully, you’ll have it in your possession before your IPC expires.

If you have had only one evaluation, you will want to  schedule a second one for the purpose of obtaining a PPC as outlined in your school jurisdiction’s Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy. Any discussion about initiating an evaluation should be held at the beginning of the school year and followed up with your formal request in writing and should clearly state that you are making the request for the purpose of obtaining a PPC. It is always good practice to document conversations about these sorts of things in case you need to follow up on something later.

An IPC’s expiry date is typically August 31st, in the third year after it was issued. It can be extended beyond its term or reissued if time has lapsed since it expired. Make sure you are aware of when your IPC expires, as it is a requirement in Alberta to possess a valid teaching authority when practising as a teacher. 

On a final note, you’ll be pleased to know that PPCs do not expire like IPCs. Once issued to you, it will remain current for the duration of your teaching career and beyond if you wish to do some substitute teaching in your retirement. PPCs, like IPCs, can be suspended or cancelled by the minister for reasons of professional misconduct or for failure to meet the Teaching Quality Standard. 

For additional information about IPCs or PPCs, or if you have been denied a PPC, please contact Teacher Employment Services or Professional Development at 1-800-232-7208. ❚

Questions for consideration in this ­column are welcome. Please address them to Dennis Theobald at

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