Finding Success in Canada
Tips for Internationally Educated Professionals
By Teagan de Seguin
Each year, thousands of skilled workers immigrate to Canada intending to put international education and experience to use. As an internationally trained professional, you may find it difficult to break into the Canadian workforce and re-enter the career you held in your home country. Fortunately, there are many resources available to support you.
The Language Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre (LARCC) of Catholic Social Services offers free Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) English tests and educational counselling. We can connect you with dozens of different programs and services to help you find success in Canada.
In a Canadian workplace, it is very important to have strong English communication skills. Depending on your profession, you may also need to be familiar with industry-specific vocabulary. LARCC offers free English tests and referrals to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, pronunciation courses, and sector-specific terminology courses. There are many free or government-funded programs to help you improve your English.
In Alberta, some careers are regulated by a professional licensing body. This means that you need to meet a set of standardized requirements to earn your credentials to practice in Alberta. A few examples of regulated professions include nurses, teachers, and engineers. You can check https://alis.alberta.ca/ for more information about regulated professions and their respective licensing requirements.
If you have professional credentials from another country, you will likely need to do an assessment of your previous education, an English test, a knowledge exam, and/or bridging courses before you can practice in Alberta. It is best to start this process as soon as possible to avoid a prolonged experience gap.
In the meantime, you may want to seek out a volunteer position or a job to gain some Canadian experience. Even unpaid work experience, like volunteering, is a great addition to your resume and can help you build valuable connections with professionals in your field.
If your profession is not regulated, employers will still require certain levels of education and experience. To ensure potential employers understand the value of your education abroad, you may want to consider doing an assessment of your international credentials through International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) or World Education Services (WES). The assessments outline what the equivalent of your educational achievements would be here in Canada, and can be submitted alongside your resume.
Finally, one of the biggest barriers encountered by professional newcomers is a lack of Canadian experience. Even if you have significant education and experience from your home country, you may find it beneficial to engage in a short-term training program that will provide you with work experience and references in Canada.
LARCC offers free educational counselling where we can tell you more about work experience and training programs available in your field. Programs exist for people of all different backgrounds including healthcare, business, childcare, information technology, and more. We can also give you guidance on pursuing further studies such as a diploma or degree.
To learn more about careers and education in Edmonton, we invite you to attend one of our online information sessions. You can register for free at https://larcc.cssalberta.ca/Events.
We are currently offering both online and in-person services. All services are free for permanent residents, Convention refugees, and Canadian citizens living in/around Edmonton.
To book an English test and/or educational counselling, please go to https://larcc.cssalberta.ca/Appointments/Booking-an-Appointment or call 780.424.3545.
LARCC’s services are funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Alberta Labour and Immigration.
The contributor of this news feature is Teagan de Seguin, Program Coordinator, Language Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre (LARCC) Immigration and Settlement Service, Catholic Social Services.