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Everything you need to know about Educational Credential Assessments

Everything you need to know about Educational Credential Assessments

Apply for an ECA to have your foreign credentials recognized in Canada.

If you want your foreign degree, diploma or certificate to be accepted in Canada, you will need to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). ECAs are widely accepted in Canada and can ensure that your foreign qualifications are treated as equal to Canadian ones. Many different ECAs exist and you will need to contact the Canadian credential issuing organization responsible for overseeing your field. Include your ECA reference number and report when applying for Express Entry.

What is an Educational Credential Assessment?

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an impartial and accurate assessment of your educational credentials. Your degree, diploma, or certificate will be thoroughly compared to the Canadian standards of education for workers in your field, and you will be given a level of education to which it is equivalent. 

Applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

If you are eligible and planning to apply for the Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will require your ECA to be completed. This must be done before you can submit your application to the pool.

Anyone who is eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Program or Canadian Experience Class does not need an ECA to submit. However, if you want to claim any education points to submit to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), you will need to have an ECA. 

If you have multiple post-secondary degrees, you do not need to submit additional ECAs for different degrees. However, if you are trying to amass as many CRS points as possible in the pool, it could be a good idea to get ECAs for all your different degrees. 

Is your spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner accompanying you to Canada?  If they also have a post-secondary degree, they too can obtain an ECA. This is not mandatory or required to submit to the Express Entry pool but do note that you could claim additional CRS points for their education, providing they have ECA. 

Earning points for education outside of Canada

If you completed your education or training in a country outside of Canada, you will need to acquire an ECA. This is necessary in order to be eligible as the principal applicant for Federal Skilled Workers Program (Express Entry). It will also help you to earn points for this education. It will also help you to earn the points for your spouse or common-law partner’s education.

If your education was obtained in Canada (or at a Canadian institution abroad), you will not need to complete the assessment. 

In order to be credited with points, your report needs to show that your diploma, degree, or certificate is equivalent to a completed Canadian secondary school (high school) or post-secondary qualification. 

Which qualifications should you have assessed?
Most of the time, you will need an ECA only for the highest level of education you hold. For example, you won’t need an ECA for your high school education if you hold a Bachelor’s degree. If you have a Master’s degree, your ECA will be for your MA, and not for your BA or BSc.

When and how to get points for 2 or more credentials
If you have 2 completely different credentials that qualify you for different things, you will need to have an assessment for each one individually in order to get the valid points. Remember that at least 1 of the credentials needs to be for a program of study 3+ years in length. 

Do you need your secondary credentials assessed?
You need to have your secondary credentials assessed when and if your post-secondary qualifications are not equivalent to Canadian credentials. This will ensure that you get the correct points due to you for completing your secondary school education. 

Organizations that can issue an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
In order to obtain your ECA, you need to apply to a professional body or organization that has been officially designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The organization will be able to provide you with a report that shows you the education level that your education qualifications are equal to in Canada.

Remember that processing costs and timings are completely up to the professional body or organization that you are working with. When you approach them, they should be able to provide you with the guidance needed to submit your documents and paperwork, and how you can obtain your ECA. 

A list of designated organizations in Canada that can issue ECAs 
In order to obtain your ECA, you must apply to one of the following organizations:

Designated organizations for specific fields and regulated occupations

Certain large employers and regulated occupations require ECAs to be completed by specific designated organizations. To find out more about these organizations, get in touch with the regulatory body for your occupation or your employer. In addition, an ECA report does not necessarily mean that you will get a licence to work in a given field. You will need to go through all of the required steps to obtain your license in the province or territory you plan to live and work in.
Physicians (NOC 3111 or NOC 3112)
Specialist physicians (NOC 3111) and general practitioner/family physicians (NOC 3112) need to get in touch with the Medical Council of Canada for their ECA.  You cannot practice medicine in Canada without this. 
Pharmacists (NOC 3131)
In order to work as a licensed pharmacist in Canada, the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada must complete your ECA. 
If you are working in a pharmacist capacity in a position where you don’t need a license, one of the designated ECA organizations listed above can do your ECA. Get in touch with the regulatory body for your province or territory to determine if you need a licence for your occupation.

Do you have any questions about the ECA process? Get in touch with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. They can help guide you in the right direction, and answer any questions. 

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