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What you need to know prior to your arrival in Alberta

First, it is important to check if your occupation is regulated by a professional licensing organization. In order to work as a professional in Alberta, you will often be required to get a license delivered by the regulatory body governing your occupation. This system is in place to ensure compliance with basic standards for each profession and to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. For example, teachers, engineers, lawyers, nurses and doctors are members of professional associations in Alberta. If your profession is regulated, it is crucial to be familiar with all the steps you need to take to work legally in the province and to begin this process ahead of time.

In Alberta, professional associations are governed by provincial legislation and sometimes by the federal laws of Canada. They regulate standards of practice and access to the profession. They assess a candidate’s qualifications and authorize him/ her to practice or not. This is when equivalencies and recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications can become a problem. Professional licensing organizations also often generate relatively high expenses. In addition to the cost of registration and examination, you will also need to pay for your certification and annual membership.

It can take months or even years to be certified to practice your profession. Each professional licensing organization has its own criteria for membership, accreditation and certification. You may be required to take oral or written exams (in English) as well as English proficiency tests, get a first job or more work experience in Canada, do a supervised internship or get additional training.

To avoid disappointments, it is in your best interest to find out what conditions are imposed by professional licensing organizations and to face the fact that you may not necessarily work as a professional in your field when you arrive. Prepare a back-up plan to work in a related field in the likely event that you will have to wait to become a licensed professional in Canada.

For more information, visit:

Government of Alberta
Certification and Registration Requirements for Employment in Alberta