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Education & Training

Dual Credit: Get a Head Start on Your Career

You don’t have to wait to graduate from high school to start your post-secondary education. As early as grade 10, you can take dual credit courses to help you learn about a skilled trade or profession and get you ready to enter the workplace sooner. 

What is dual credit?

Dual credit refers to courses high school students can take to earn both high school credits and credit towards a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree, including a journeyperson trade certificate.

Ask how much time a dual credit course or pathway will take. Think about this when you plan your high school timetable. For example, if the dual credit pathway you choose is worth 15 credits in total, you may not have the space in your schedule for other course choices.

If you’re on a dual credit pathway, you may take a course (or courses) to explore a skilled trade or profession that interests you. On some dual credit pathways, you might even finish an entire post-secondary program and be ready to start working in that career when you finish high school.

Some dual credit pathways require on-the-job training at a worksite. Other dual credit courses are taught at a high school or at a post-secondary campus, like a local college.

You can also take some dual credit courses online.

What courses can you take for dual credit?

You can take courses related to a career, such as child development assistant, or in topics like forestry or robotics. You can also take the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) apprenticeship pathway for a career in plumbing or welding, for example. If you complete the apprenticeship pathway successfully, you can write the first period Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) exam for advanced standing towards certification. 

RAP – Registered Apprenticeship Program

If you’re a high school student interested in the skilled trades, RAP might be for you. RAP lets you earn on-the-job training hours towards an apprenticeship program while you earn credits towards your high school diploma.

What are the benefits of a dual credit pathway?

  • You learn about a career, so you can decide if it’s a good choice for you.
  • You learn about subjects you are interested in.
  • You get a jump-start on your post-secondary education. This might save you from having to take some or all courses at a post-secondary institution and post-secondary school debt.
  • You’re better prepared for the workforce when you finish high school.
  • You learn useful, practical skills.

How do I know if a dual credit pathway is for me?

Talk to your school counsellor to find out if a dual credit pathway is right for you and to get help finding the courses that will interest you. If you decide on a dual credit pathway, your counsellor will help you find a high school that offers them. Remember, not all schools offer dual credit courses or pathways, or the same courses.

It’s not always easy to know what career you might be interested in. Neither is choosing the right classes to prepare you for that career. You can start planning in Grade 8 or 9. Or you can explore dual credit courses once you’re in a high school that offers them. Several online tools can help you:

If you can, talk over your ideas and decisions with people you trust, like your family, school counsellor, or someone working in the field.

Are my dual credit courses transferable to post-secondary?

Dual credit courses don’t all transfer to every Alberta post-secondary school. You need to find out if your courses transfer to the post-secondary school you want to attend. Remember:

  • Your school counsellor is a good resource.
  • This search tool from Transfer Alberta has information about dual credit transfers and general high school transitioning to a post-secondary school.
  • For more information, contact or the post-secondary school you wish to attend directly.

Preparing for your future

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you can do today to get ready for life after high school. Talk your plans over with the people you trust. Take the time to figure out what interests you and find out what your options are. These aren’t always easy decisions, but they’re exciting ones. You’re taking control of your education and your future.

Dual credit courses are a great way to learn about a career you might be interested in. They can set you up to start working in your chosen career more quickly after you graduate.

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