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Assess and Upgrade Your Foreign Qualifications

Finding the same work in Alberta that you had in your last country can involve some special review of your qualifications.

For unregulated occupations, like a kitchen helper or a retail salesperson, it’s usually straightforward to find out if you have the right skills for the job. For regulated occupations, you may need to have your credentials assessed to see if you meet the standards needed to perform that job in Alberta. 

Understand your qualifications

Your work-related qualifications are what you’ve learned, your skills, and the experience you already have in your occupation. To find work in your occupation in Alberta you first have to learn about your occupation. You can search occupations in Alberta to get a full overview of what a specific occupation looks like, including:

  • Average wage
  • Job outlook
  • Typical duties
  • Required education and training
  • Whether or not the occupation is regulated in Alberta

Answer some key questions to gain more understanding of your current qualifications:

  • What is the name of my occupation in Alberta?
  • What are the duties for my occupation in Alberta?
  • Is there a professional regulatory organization or professional association for my occupation? These organizations and associations support people who work in a specific occupation, such as being a civil engineer or nurse practitioner.

The next step is to find out if you’ll need more training. This is called assessing your qualifications.

If your occupation is regulated, you need to find out if you have the right qualifications to work in Alberta. The professional association or regulatory organization for that occupation can help you do this.

The International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) is a Government of Alberta service that assesses your education. You can include your IQAS assessment certificate with your resumé when you apply for a job. Having an IQAS certificate doesn’t mean you’ll get the job, but it will help show the employer your qualifications.  

The International Credentials Assessment Service of Canada can also assess your education qualifications.

The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) can give you post-secondary (education after high school) credits for learning not done in school, such as on-the-job training, non-credit courses, workshops you’ve taken, and your life and work experiences. In a PLAR assessment you may have to take a written or oral exam, or other types of assessments.

If your occupation is not regulated in Alberta, there are no rules about qualifications you need to do that work.

For trades, there are certain standards employers will want you to meet. Visit Tradesecrets.ca to learn more about the trades qualifier programs in Alberta. 

Concerned about your finances?

You may be wondering how you can support yourself and your family while you take job-related training or upgrade your English skills. Alberta Supports can help you find out if you qualify for any loans, grants, or other types of financial assistance to help during this time of transition.

Upgrading your education and training

After your education and training are assessed, you may learn you have to upgrade your education or training before you can work in your occupation in Alberta.

There are many tools to help you plan for this. Your professional regulatory organization or association can advise you, and immigrant-serving agencies often offer different types of training.

Bridging programs help newcomers who have education, training, or work experience in their occupation, but who need to learn a bit more to work in Alberta. Contact Alberta Supports for information about bridging programs close to where you live.

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