If you are planning to live and work in Canada, you may or may not be aware that your qualification may need to be accredited to show that it meets Canadian standards. This is also useful if you intend to immigrate to Canada through programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker and Trade Programs, which fall under the Express Entry system.
Having your work qualifications assessed will not only allow you to claim those valuable Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points but will also show employers in Canada that you have the necessary skills and work experience that they may be looking for.
Accreditation for Foreign Workers
To legally work in Canada you require a Canadian work visa or permit. To legally work in Canada as a professional, you may be required to be registered with the provincial or territorial body that governs your specific profession.
If for example, if you are a registered nurse, in order to start practicing when you arrive in Canada you will be required to register with your provincial nursing body/association, which means you must pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE).
The same applies to a number of skilled trades and professional occupations. Your employer should inform you if accreditation is required, but we would recommend that you check with your profession’s provincial body using the Foreign Credential Recognition in Canada tool to determine:
- If your job is regulated;
- The regulatory body you need to register with; and
- The cost of credential recognition.
Ready to find out how to jump start your career in Canada? Let's take a look at how to get your qualifications assessed.
How to Get Your Qualifications Assessed
Getting a job in Canada is not always as easy as it may seem, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Besides getting a job offer, having your credentials assessed is equally important. So let's take a step by step look at how to go about having your qualifications recognized in Canada.
1. Planning: Create a Job Market Report
The first step to being successful in any venture is to get organized. The best place to start is to do some research on your occupation and create a job market report. You can visit Job Bank to get some valuable information regarding your occupation:
- Main duties;
- Hourly wages;
- Job Description;
- Whether or not your occupation is regulated or not;
- Related job titles
- Job openings;
- Skills needed to do the job;
- Contact information for your regulatory body or apprenticeship authority.
2. Find Your Occupational Profile
The next step is to get your occupational profile. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) has a directory of over 500 profiles, both regulated and unregulated occupations, where you’ll be able to discover what the regulations are for your occupation as well as which professional recognition or registration and organisations to consult in order to get your credentials assessed. When consulting the directory ask yourself these two questions:
1. Is your Occupation Regulated or Non-regulated?
20 percent of occupations in Canada are regulated. This includes professions as well as high skilled and apprenticeable trades such as doctors, architects, engineers, plumbers and teachers. Licensing or certification is usually required to work in these professions or trades in Canada. This is for health and safety reasons as well as to ensure that employees are qualified to perform the duties required in their occupation.
The remaining 80 percent of jobs in Canada are non-regulated and requiring recognition is usually up to the employer offering the job. This could mean a hit or miss when applying for that dream job in Canada , which means it's well worth having your credentials assessed either way.
2. Which Organization is Responsible for Recognition?
If your occupation is regulated, you will need to contact the regulatory body or apprenticeship office in the province or territory you intend to work in.
If your occupation is non-regulated you could either check if there is a professional association you could register with or if your employer requests accreditation you may have to apply for voluntary certification, licensing, or registration.
Below is a list of places to have your credentials recognized:
Provincial and Territorial Foreign Credential Recognition
- Alberta Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- British Columbia Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- New Brunswick Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Newfoundland & Labrador Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Nova Scotia Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Ontario Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Prince Edward Island Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Quebec Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Yukon Foreign Qualification Recognition;
- Nunavut Foreign Qualification Recognition;
For more information on your occupation and getting accredited visit the Directory of Occupational Profile.
3. Compare Your Qualifications
Now that you know what is expected of you to do the type of job you intend applying for, it’s best to compare your qualifications with those outlined in your occupation description in Canada. Ensure that you know what is required for the specific province or territory you want to work in as the requirements may differ with regards to licensing, registration, and certifications. Also, make sure that you check what language skill levels are required for your particular occupation too.
4. Contact a Regulatory Body
The next step is to make contact with your regulatory body or apprenticeship authority for your particular profession in the province or territory you want to work in. They will tell you exactly what you need to show that your training, experience, and skills meet the same standards as someone who has been trained in Canada. Most of the time, you will be able to have your education credentials assessed and start the process of applying for a certificate or licence before you arrive in Canada.
5. Find Out What Documents Do You Need
Depending on your occupation and the regulatory organization you will have to submit certain documentation to be assessed. It is important to check which documents you require before starting the application process so as not to delay the application process. Below is a list of documents that you may require:
- Documents you may need include:
- degrees, diplomas, or certificates from:
- secondary schools
- trade schools
- transcripts of grades
- program descriptions
- syllabi related to your studies
- letters from professional and other regulatory bodies
- apprenticeship or professional certificates
- letters of reference
- performance reviews
- work descriptions for jobs you’ve done
You may need to send official documents directly from schools or other organizations to Canadian:
- regulatory bodies
- credential assessment agencies
Translate Your Document
You may be asked to translate your documents into English and/or French if they are in another language. It is best to use an approved translation service and find out whether or not you need to send the original documents or you can send notarized copies instead. You may also be able to send a certified copy from a certified translator.
6. Consult an Approved Assessment Agency
If you still aren’t confident about approaching the process of having your qualifications assessed you may want to consider consulting an approved assessment agency. They will be able to tell you whether you should upgrade your skills or education, look for another job in your field or alternatively look for a job in another field.
For a list of six members of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC) visit our Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) page.
Develop Your Skills
If you feel as though you need to improve your qualifications you may want to consider doing so in Canada. There are various colleges, institutes, and universities to choose from that will offer world-class education and training. Visit our study in Canada page to find out how to start the process.
7. Start the Accreditation Process
Once you have all your documentation in hand it’s time to get accredited. If you are in a regulated profession or trade you may have to complete certain requirements such as:
- Examinations to test your knowledge and competencies;
- Proof of language proficiency (English or French);
- Criminal record check;
- Canadian work placement or practicum;
- Reference check or proof of professional standing;
- Orientation course or bridging program; and/or
- Additional academic or professional requirements.
What is a Mutual Recognition Agreement?
A Mutual Recognition Agreement or MRA is an agreement that has been negotiated between two countries or when a regulatory body or professional association has agreements with organizations outside of Canada. Having an MRA could make the process of obtaining your accreditation much easier.
Ready to Get Started?
Make sure that you start your professional career in Canada off on the right foot. Having your credentials and qualifications assessed can only benefit you in the long run and help secure your Canadian work visa and possibly a job in Canada.
Show your potential Canadian employer that you mean business. You can either follow our step by step process on getting your credentials assessed or acquire the services of professionals you can trust to assist you with the process.