In order to prove the merit of your international skills or educational credentials to potential Canadian employers, you may want to or have to go through a credential evaluation, a process to measure your level of education to the Canadian system. You may also have to get your credentials evaluated if you plan on going back to school to get further training.
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There are several professional credential evaluation services such as World Education Services (www.wes.org/ca) in Ontario and International Credential Evaluation Services (ICES) in B.C. (www.bcit.ca/ices). The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) (www.cicic.ca/415/credential-assessment-services.canada) for a full list of services across the country. These are fee-based services.
But what exactly should you have evaluated and when? Before you leave your country of origin? Or after you arrive? Before just randomly getting an evaluation done, consider a few things.
Types of credential reports
There are two types of reports that a credential evaluation service can offer: official and original. For an official report, your institution back home must send the transcripts directly to the credential evaluation service, signed and sealed in an envelope.
Original reports are made with the certificates and transcripts you bring with you to Canada
Both reports can be basic or comprehensive. Basic reports mention your certificates and how they compare in years with the Canadian system. Comprehensive reports list all the subjects you have taken with their conversion to the Canadian credit/grade system.
Credential evaluations for licensed professions
If your profession is licensed, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers, etc.), don’t rush to have your credentials evaluated. First, connect with the right professional regulatory body in the province of your destination and ask them what they need.
Depending on the organization or the province, the requirements might be vastly different. Some even have their own evaluation services, instead of relying on the third-party services.
Credential evaluations for unlicensed professions
If you don’t have to retrain or get licensed to apply for jobs in your field, a credential evaluation may not be necessary. In fact, many employers may not even be familiar with this process.
However, if you’re faced with an employer who seems hesitant to hire you because they don’t understand how your credentials compare to Canadian standards, having a report that explains how might help convince them otherwise.
Credential evaluations for education purposes
If you plan on going to school to upgrade your skills, each post-secondary institution — and even the faculties within it — may have different requirements regarding credential evaluation. So check with the school first.