Have your education assessed — Skilled immigrants (Express Entry)

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is used to verify that your foreign degree, diploma, certificate (or other proof of your credential) is valid and equal to a Canadian one.

Who needs an ECA?

If you have a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate, you do not need to get an ECA.

You will need to get an ECA for your foreign degree, diploma or certificate if:

  1. you want to be considered for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) under Express Entry
  2. you are an Express Entry candidate (or their spouse or common-law partner coming with them to Canada) being considered for the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class, and you want points for your foreign education.

To be eligible under a) or to get points under b) you must include ECA results as part of your Express Entry profile.

Note: An ECA can give you early feedback on how your credentials compare to those in Canada. It may also help when you are looking for a job. But, being assessed does not guarantee that:

  • you will get a job in your field or at a certain level,
  • your work experience and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada,
  • you will be licensed to practice in a regulated profession.

Please check Job Bank to learn more about the job market outlook for your occupation in the specific region where you plan to settle.

If you plan to work in a regulated profession, you must still get your licence in the province or territory that you plan on settling in.

A regulatory authority will decide if you can be licensed in a profession. They will assess factors such as your education, experience/competencies and language skills, as well as other factors.

You should contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live as soon as possible. They can give you information about the process for being licensed, including steps you can take before you leave your home country.

How does it work?

We will only accept an ECA from one of the organizations designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) (below).

The original ECA report must:

  • be issued on or after the date CIC-designated the organization,
  • not be more than five years old on the date that CIC gets a) your Express Entry profile, and b) your application for permanent residence, and
  • show your credential is equal to a completed Canadian one.

Note: You will have to provide the reference number from the report in your Express Entry profile, as well as your application for permanent residence (along with proof of your foreign credential). If we cannot validate the number you enter, we will need you to provide an electronic copy to confirm. Keep a copy in case we need to see it.

If you are invited to apply for permanent residence and do not include this assessment and proof of your foreign credential when you apply, your application is not complete and will not be accepted for processing. Any fees submitted will be returned and you will need to submit a new Express Entry profile to be considered in the future.

These assessments help make sure we choose immigrants with the best possible chances of success in Canada. But, being assessed does not guarantee you will get a job in your field or at a certain level.

Note: You must have completed the equivalent of at least a Canadian high school diploma to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker. Your ECA report must show that you meet this.

Before you apply, check the ECA conversion table to confirm that the result on your ECA report matches one of the outcomes listed and to see how many points you would get for different credentials, based on the outcome statement included on your ECA report.

Designated organizations for ECAs

You can arrange to get your assessment from:

How to choose a designated organization

  1. If you are applying:
    • as a specialist physician (NOC 3111) or general practitioner/family physician (NOC 3112), the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) must do an ECA for your primary medical diploma,
    • as a pharmacist (NOC 3131):
      • if you need a license to practice (for example, providing patient care in a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, long term care facility or other practice settings) the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) must do your ECA,
      • if you are in a position where you do not need a license (organizations such as the pharmaceutical industry and government which require a pharmacy degree because of the education or skill set, but may not require a licence to practice pharmacy), you can have your credentials assed by one of the other designated ECA organizations. Contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live to find out if you need a licence to practice your intended occupation.
    • under any other occupation, check the websites of the other CIC-designated organizations or contact them directly to find which one best suits your needs. Consider:
      • Some designated organizations partner with certain regulatory bodies or large employers. In that case, the ECA you get for applying to CIC might also help you later on.
      • For each one, you should check to find out what other organizations recognize their assessments.
  2. Find out what documents you need.
  3. Find out how much it will cost. Costs may vary by organization.
  4. Find out how long an assessment will take.

Note: CIC uses assessments done by the MCC or the PEBC for immigration purposes. They are also used in the process of licensing for those professions. Please contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live for more information about getting a licence.

How to get an ECA

Once you have chosen an organization:

  • gather all the documents they need (make sure that you ask your school for multiple copies of your diplomas/degrees, transcripts, etc.),
  • follow any instructions given to submit the documents,
  • pay the fees.

What your report means

The organization will give you an original report that will tell you:

  • whether your credentials are valid, and
  • if they are equal to a completed Canadian one.

If your assessment report shows that your completed foreign credential is equal to a completed Canadian one, you can include this information in your Express Entry profile. You will get points under the new ranking system. If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you will need to include a copy of the ECA when you apply.

You must have completed the equivalent of at least a Canadian high school diploma to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker. Choose the degree, diploma or certificate (or combination) that will get you the most points.

If you have more than one, you may be able to get more points. If your report shows that your credential is not equal to a completed Canadian credential as outlined in the conversion table:

  • You will not meet the education requirement under the FSWP.
  • You will not get any points under the new ranking system.
  • You can consider other careers in Canada. Use the Job Bank tool to see if there are other occupations for which you may be qualified.
  • Use the Come to Canada tool to see if you could be considered, under another program.

If you are getting an ECA report from the Medical Council of Canada or the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, your ECA report must show that your foreign education credentials are equal to the Canadian credentials needed to practice that occupation in Canada.

Submitting your report

  • You will have to report the results of the ECA in your Express Entry profile. Keep all original report or assessment documents for your electronic application for permanent residence.
  • Keep another copy of the report for your records and future use.
  • Do not request that your ECA report be sent to us directly by the assessment agency. You must include it with your complete application for permanent residence.
  • If you apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program: The 100-point FSWP selection grid assesses applicants against six main criteria. To pass, you need 67 points or more. We will award you a maximum of 25 points based on the level of your education compared to Canadian standards.

Note:

  • If you were educated outside Canada, you will only get points for your education if you submit an ECA.
  • You will only get points on the FSW selection grid for your highest completed Canadian educational credentials shown in the ECA report. See the conversion table to see how many points you would get for different credentials, based on the outcome statement included on your ECA report.
  • CIC will verify any Educational Credential Assessment submitted with an application with the organization that produced the report.
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