New Certificate in Catholic Education Offered Through St. Joseph's College

What if there was a way to enhance your education, boost your resume and increase your odds of being hired?

Great news has come for those looking to answer those questions this fall. Students who wish to teach in the Catholic school system can now take a Certificate in Catholic Education offered through St. Joseph’s College.

In order to earn the certificate, students must take CHRTC 100, CHRTC 250, either CHRTC 380 or 381, and any other class offered at St. Joseph’s College. To receive a continuous employment contract with the Edmonton Catholic School Board, teachers must take CHRTC 250 and either CHRTC 380 or 381, meaning only two additional courses are required to earn the certificate.

Mark Boston, an education student who has taken two CHRTC courses, says he’ll likely take the courses he needs to complete the certificate, as he’d prefer to teach in a Catholic school. “Getting the certificate would show I’m committed to teach in an authentic Catholic manner and that I went out of my way to take these classes,” says Boston. “I feel like the superintendent and school board would take that into consideration.”

The certificate will give students more options when it comes to searching for a teaching job in a Catholic school, says Matt Hoven, a professor at St. Joseph’s College. “That’s significant – that you’ve taken the time and energy to go above and beyond the required minimum.”

The certificate only became available in spring 2013, meaning that Boston and many other education students in their last year of classes may not be able to complete the certificate before they graduate. “It’s really important that students get onto this track their first or second year, or are willing to take a summer class.”

While several of Boston’s friends are in the same position as him, “they’re going to come back and take some courses that they like and get the certificate as well,” he says.

Colette Tercier already has a full-time teaching job at St. Elizabeth Seton Junior High but she’s looking into taking the one course she needs to earn the certificate.

Tercier, who graduated from the University of Alberta in June, took CHRTC 250, CHRTC 381 and CHRTC 391 (which would fulfil the credits needed for an elective CHRTC course). “If I had known the certificate was available, I would have just taken another course to add to my portfolio,” says Tercier.

While the Edmonton Catholic School Board currently doesn’t require teachers to have a Certificate in Catholic Education, Tercier says she could see in the future that they might request that graduates have it.

So far, school board trustees have been very positive about the certificate, says Hoven. “There’s a general sense that it would be helpful if people had increased knowledge of the Catholic faith and were able to make bridges from their faith to areas that they are teaching.”

Tercier, who teaches physical education and art, agrees. “Having the certificate would provide me with a greater understanding and would help me develop a better teaching philosophy.”