Let’s jump right in to this negotiable topic…
Throughout your university journey and teaching career, you will constantly hear about AQ’s. These are Additional Qualification courses, which are basically a course that many universities offer to upgrade your qualifications and have a “specialized” qualification. Some examples of AQ’s are, Special Education Part 1, 2 or 3, Reading Part 1, Junior/Intermediate Math, and so many more.
You will notice over your school and work journey that people are very on the fence about taking AQ’s, because 1) they aren’t free… they are around $600-800 dollars EACH. AND, some courses have more than one part to them, which means…if you wanted to get the full AQ- for example: Special Education AQ has 3 parts…which means 3 sets of $600/700 payments 2) they can be time consuming and 3) they are sometimes only offered at certain times. So that leads me to a question that most of you have probably asked yourself at least once…
Are AQ courses REALLYworth it?
Before I get to my pros and cons… I want to point out something that is CRUCIAL.
DO NOT TAKE AN AQ YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN OR PASSIONATE ABOUT.
For example, if you have French as an AQ, and the employers are looking for someone who has the French AQ, they are most probably going to choose you over someone who doesn’t have French, so if that’s not what you want….don’t take it!!! Take AQ’s you would like to teach or do something with within your career.
NOW….back to the main question:
Are AQ’s worth it?”
1. Having more qualifications sets you apart from others
When applying for jobs, you are in a way, in a competition with all your other friends and teacher candidates. Having these AQ’s set you a part from others, as you have more qualifications in a diverse amount of areas, which employers will love.
2. Expands your knowledge and learning
Taking AQ courses are a benefit within themselves because of the education and learning you get from the course. When you take the course(s) you gain a lot of useful knowledge that you can apply within your teaching and life. Teachers should always be bettering themselves and learning new information to teach to their students. These AQ courses allow a teacher to always be learning, therefore benefiting themselves and their students
3. AQ courses could raise your salary when you’re a full time teacher
When you apply to QECO (Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario), you fill in your information of where you went to school, when you graduated and you send your transcript to them, and fill in any AQ courses you’ve taken. Based off all of these, you then get evaluated to see where you rank within the salary pay grid. If you have certain AQ’s or a variety of AQ’s, QECO can rank you at the highest salary pay grid (A4). Who wouldn’t want to be making the top salary?
4. Opens up your job opportunities
When you have Additional Qualifications, it not only looks good and sets you apart from others, as mentioned in point 1, but it also opens up more job opportunities for you. For example, if you have a Special Education, and you’re stuck waiting for a school board to hire you, you could look at going into something more related to your AQ, gain some experience in that field as well, even if it’s in the school that is a GREAT thing, as you will get to know the staff and admin!
Also, when you get hired as a supply, think of how many supply’s there are that have the same standard qualifications (P/J, J/I, or I/S). If you have Additional Qualification courses, such as French or Music, etc., you will also get calls to cover those classes because you would be qualified in them. That opens up more job opportunities and experience for you! Awesome!
Since we have discussed the pros, it’s only fair we touch on the cons of AQ’s as well. Just so you see both and can base your decision fairly.
1. AQ’s are expensive
Additional Qualification courses can become very costly. It all depends on what you take (as some courses have multiple parts that you have to pay for EACH part- example: Special Education has 3 parts, each part is between $600-$700). It also depends how many you take- obviously the more AQ’s you take, the more money you’re spending.
2. AQ’s are time-consuming
If you are going to take an AQ, you have to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to the course, especially if it’s online. There are a lot of deadlines you need to keep on top of in online courses. If you are going to a face-to-face class, you need to make sure you dedicate the time out of your week to go to those classes.
3. Some AQ’s have certain requirements
Depending on the AQ, it may not be offered when you want or by the school you want. It may also not be offered online. It all depends what you are choosing to take.
Also, if you are taking an AQ that is broken into multiple parts, for example: Special Education, you can take Part 1 online as soon as you have graduated, but Part 2 requires at least 1 year of teaching experience, which you may not get for a while as you start off as a supply first.
If I’m going to be honest, regardless of the cost, how much time it takes to complete a course, etc., I still strongly believe that AQ courses are worth it. I believe that the Pros outweigh the Cons and in the long run, the costs, amount of time dedicated, etc., is all worth it and pays off.
Even with all my pros and cons, at the end of the day the choice is yours to make. I just wanted you to be able to see both sides before making your decision
So, what do YOU think? Are they worth it to you?
Send me a message with your thoughts.
Thanks for reading 🤗