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If you can find a teaching job, you need a passion for youth and a desire to help them find their way

This story is part of the Globe Careers’ series looking at specific jobs, with their qualifications, descriptions, responsibilities and current salaries.


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The starting rate is between $40,738 and $61,489, depending on the province, to a maximum of about $67,000 to $95,354.

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In most provinces, teachers have five years of post-secondary education, which includes a bachelor’s degree and one or two years of teachers’ college. For a five-year program, that costs between $32,000 and $34,000.

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By the numbers:

According to Statistics Canada, in the 2010-11 school year, 11 per cent of teachers were under age 30; 33 per cent were 30 to 39 years old; 30 per cent were 40 to 49; 23 per cent were 50 to 59; and 3 per cent were 60 or older.

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The majority of teachers in Canada are women, especially at the elementary school level.

According to the 2006 census, women accounted for 74 per cent of elementary and secondary school teachers and counsellors, including 84 per cent of elementary school and kindergarten teachers and 57 per cent of secondary school teachers.

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Job prospects:

However, getting a job today is one of the biggest challenges for new teachers. Too many provinces have been graduating teachers at a much higher rate than demand. Ontario plans to halve the number of teachers it graduates starting in 2015.

It’s been particularly hard to find teaching jobs in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia in recent years. An Ontario College of Teachers survey of graduates from Ontario education faculties and U.S. border colleges found that one-third of them couldn’t find a teaching position in 2011. That’s up from just 3 per cent in 2006.

Last year, B.C. had about 2,700 teachers vying for 800 positions, while in Nova Scotia, a government report estimated the province would need about 281 new teachers a year for the next several years. Meanwhile, the province is producing more than 900 teachers each year.

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The job:

Standing in front of a classroom teaching subjects such as math or geography is just part of it. Teachers also grade papers, hold meetings with parents, and coach school teams and clubs in the hours after classes.

Many teachers also take courses to upgrade their skills, some during their summer vacations.

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There are many challenges, including angry parents, kids who act out, and identifying problems such as bullying. Today, many teachers are also faced with increasing classroom sizes with limited resources as a result of budget cutbacks.

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Why they do it:

It’s not just because of the time off over the summer, Christmas and March Break holidays.

Canadian Teachers’ Federation president Paul Taillefer said teachers embrace the learning lifestyle and want to educate young people and prepare them for their future careers.

“Teaching is about being able to connect with the kids and reach each child and the point where he or she is and move them forward.”

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“People think teaching is an easy job,” Mr. Taillefer said. “It’s like the iceberg: there’s a lot that people don’t see that teachers do. When they look at the profession they can’t just look at the time spent in class with students, they have to look at all the other aspects.”

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Give us the real scoop:

Are you a teacher in Canada? Write a note in the comments area and tell us what you would tell others who are interested in the profession, or e-mail your comment to

Want to read more stories from our salaries series? Go to

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