Evaluations: Make the Most of Your Credentials
If you have educational credentials from outside of Canada, they may not be recognized or properly valued by employers or educational institutions. To be sure that you receive credit for the education you worked so hard to earn, you should contact a reputable evaluation service to have your credentials evaluated. Not only can it make the immigration process easier, it can help you:
- get a better job,
- get a better salary,
- get into an apprenticeship training program,
- get a licence to practice in your field.
- continue your education.
In Canada, the most common academic credentials are high school diplomas, Bachelor’s degrees (such as B.A. and B.Sc.), Master’s degrees (such as M.A. and M.Sc.) and PhD/Doctorate degrees. These credentials are usually obtained through formal schooling at officially recognized and approved institutions. If you have taken university level courses in order to enter a profession like accounting or engineering, these may also qualify as academic credentials.
A formal evaluation of your credentials will help you find out if you have skills that employers are looking for or if you need to update your skills.
Although formal education is very important to Canadian employers, most are unable to evaluate academic credentials earned outside of Canada. So, when you submit your employment application, resume and cover letter, a formal evaluation from a reputable evaluation service will prove that the documents you provided are real documents from a recognized institution.
A formal evaluation can help you negotiate a better starting salary with better benefit package and help you get promoted at work later on. For example, World Education Services (WES) has been developing relations with many employers to help them recognize the true value of international academic credentials.
Higher Education or Continuing Education
Many immigrants pursue further education and training after arriving in Canada.
Because colleges, universities and private institutes each have their own rules of admission, any academic institution to which you apply will require some form of evaluation of your academic credentials, including your high school diploma.
You must show that you have the necessary prerequisites (or the equivalent courses earned elsewhere ) to enter the program. This is determined through a formal evaluation of academic credentials.
Contact the institution where you are applying to find out if they can evaluate your international academic credentials themselves or if they need an outside evaluation to help them make a determination.
Many people immigrating to Canada get frustrated about the length of time it takes to obtain a licence in one of Canada’s licensed occupations.
Obtaining a licence from any of the professional associations in Canada may require a formal evaluation of your past academic credentials.
Some professional associations have internal evaluation services, while others use external evaluation services. Consult your specific professional association for information about their licensing and evaluation requirements. For a complete list of professional associations, visit the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials website, www.cicic.ca.
Apprenticeship Training and Trades
In Canada, apprenticeship is a hands-on training program where 90 percent of the training takes place in a workplace and ten percent in a classroom setting at community colleges. The apprentice earns income while training with an employer.
New legislation has resulted in Grade 12 being the basic educational requirement for entrance to many apprenticeship training programs. In other words, if you obtained your high school diploma outside of Canada, you will require a high school equivalency from reputable evaluation service to begin your apprenticeship.
In order to work in a skilled trade in Ontario, you must have a Certificate of Qualification to confirm that your experience and knowledge of the trade meet Ontario standards. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) is responsible for evaluating any trade experience you have. However, having any of your high school or technical school credentials evaluated will be helpful when approaching MTCU or an employer.
An evaluation report is not a requirement for immigration but under the new immigration regulations, you can get up to twenty-five points for education alone and an additional five points for spousal educational credentials. A formal report provided by a reputable evaluation service will ensure you receive maximum points, and the report will be useful later for other purposes.
Organizations that Perform Evaluations
The following organizations perform evaluations of foreign educational qualifications. Some of them focus on evaluations for the purpose of employment rather than for further education. Keep in mind that if an evaluation is prepared for an employer, it will not necessarily follow the same format as an evaluation prepared for an educational institution. All of these organizations charge a fee for their services and the process they follow may vary.
Spend time comparing evaluation services and their reports before committing yourself to one service. It will be very beneficial for you, especially financially, to purchase one evaluation report that is useful for all five purposes – rather than purchasing two or three different evaluation reports which each are useful for only one purpose.
Academic Credentials Evaluation Service (ACES) is operated by York University and evaluates secondary and post-secondary credentials obtained outside Canada. Although it is based at York University, ACES provides evaluations for use at many other institutions. ACES provides evaluations for both employment and educational purposes.
Comparative Education Service (CES) at the University of Toronto’s Comparative Education Service evaluates academic credentials obtained outside Canada for employment purposes. A Canadian educational institution may or may not accept this evaluation for the purposes of admission.
International Credentials Assessment Service (ICAS) of Canada evaluates credentials from all levels of schooling for immigration, employment and educational purposes. Their website (www.icascanada.ca) provides information on fees and the evaluation process, as well as an application form. ICAS has the lowest prices for both basic reports (usually used for employment) and comprehensive reports (usually required by post-secondary institutions).
World Education Services (WES) – Canada has been awarded a contract to perform evaluation services for the Ontario Provincial Government. In fact, they are partially funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. WES is the only Ontario member of The Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC). WES evaluation reports provide objective assessments of foreign earned degrees and diplomas at the secondary and post secondary levels and can be used for all five purposes: employment, immigration, higher education, licensing and apprenticeship training. With each evaluation, they will mail one copy free of charge to the institution of your choice. WES has a reputation for promptness and reliability. You can check out their website at www.wes.org/ca.