Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) can be a make-or-break factor in your Express Entry application – but what exactly are they, and how can you ensure that you get the best possible score?
In this article, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the ECA and provide tips on how to ace it. We’ll also let you know what you can do if your ECA results are not what you had hoped for.
Whether you’re just starting to research the ECA or you’re ready to take the assessment, here’s what you need to know!
What is the educational credential assessment?
The educational credential assessment is an evaluation of your foreign degree, diploma, or certificate by a designated organization to determine whether it meets the standards set by Canadian education institutions.
The designated organizations can assess credentials from more than 170 countries. The results of your assessment will tell you what level of education you have attained in Canada and whether or not your credentials are eligible for use in the Canadian education system.
This verification is important because it allows you to use your credentials to apply for jobs, further education, and professional licensure in Canada.
Do I need an ECA?
Yes, if your highest degree of schooling was completed outside of Canada, you may need to have your credentials assessed to have them recognized here.
You also need to obtain an ECA if you are applying for the Federal Skilled Workers Program, or if you want to earn points towards your Express Entry application based on your foreign education, you will need to have an ECA report.
However, if you have a Canadian degree or diploma, you will not need an ECA report. In this case, you can submit your transcripts directly to the authorities. Therefore, whether or not you need an ECA report depends on the country in which your schooling was completed and the type of program to which you are applying.
Do all of my credentials need to be reviewed?
Each credential you submit for review will be evaluated on its own merits. There is no requirement that you submit all of your credentials for review, although doing so may improve your chances of receiving points.
Generally speaking, only your highest degree of completion will be taken into consideration when awarding points. However, if you have two credentials that you feel are equally important, you may want to submit both for review.
Keep in mind that submitting multiple credentials may increase the overall cost of the review process.
The number of points awarded will depend on the length of the credentialing program, with programs of three years or more receiving the most points. Therefore, if you are hoping to receive points for two credentials, both will need to be reviewed, and one of them will need to be for a program that is at least three years in duration.
While there is no guarantee that submitting multiple credentials will result in more points, it is certainly worth considering if you feel your credentials are equally important.
What if my certification or degree is not equal to a Canadian one?
If your certification or degree is not equal to a Canadian one, you may choose to review your secondary education. This is especially important for people who need extra points during express entry.
If your credentials are not equal, you may not qualify for the federal skilled worker program. As a result, you won’t receive any points.
However, the Government of Canada provides a comparison table to help individuals understand how their foreign certification or degree might compare to a Canadian one.
This can be found on the government website and is useful for those wanting to know what points they might earn under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points or Federal Skilled Worker Program factor points.
- To use the table, simply select the points system you want to use, enter your result in the “Filter items” field, and choose the assessment result that best matches your own.
- The level of education will then be displayed, allowing you to see how your degree or certification compares to its Canadian equivalent.
With this information in hand, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to obtain the points you need to immigrate to Canada successfully.
How do I receive an educational credential assessment?
To have your credentials assessed, you must submit an application to a designated organization along with all required documents. Based on your occupation, there may be a specific organization that you need to use to get an accurate assessment.
For example, if you are a doctor or a physician, you would need to get your assessment from the Medical Council of Canada. Alternatively, if you are a pharmacist, you would need to get your assessment from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.
The assessment process can take up to six weeks, and the cost of the assessment varies depending on the organization you choose. The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has designated several organizations that are authorized to provide ECAs for immigration purposes.
The organizations vary in terms of processing time, fee, and method of assessment, so it is important to choose the one that best meets your needs.
The following organizations are authorized by the Canadian government to provide educational credential assessments (ECA) for individuals who wish to study or work in Canada:
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies: This organization provides ECA reports for both academic and professional credentials. The estimated processing time is 12 weeks.
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS): This organization provides ECA reports for both academic and professional credentials. The estimated processing time is 12 weeks.
- World Education Services: This organization specializes in the assessment of international academic credentials. The estimated processing time is 7 weeks.
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS): This organization provides ECA reports for both academic and professional credentials. The estimated processing time is 20 weeks.
- International Credential Evaluation Service (WES): This organization specializes in the assessment of international academic credentials. The estimated processing time is 20 weeks.
Fees for assessments vary depending on the organization you choose but range from CAD 200 to CAD 240. You will need to submit your official transcripts and diploma as part of the application process.
The assessment can take up to 6-20 weeks to complete, so make sure you plan ahead and factor this into your timeline for applying for Express Entry. If you are successful in completing your ECA, you will receive an official report that you can then submit with your express entry application.
This report can boost your points total and improve your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada. So, if you are planning on applying for express entry, make sure you start preparing for your ECA as soon as possible!
Tips for receiving points through your ECA
When looking to further your education and receive points toward your Express Entry profile, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most points possible.
- First, plan ahead and make sure your certification is valid. You can do this by talking to admissions counselors or running a comparison of different programs.
- Second, take courses that are commensurate with Canadian requirements. This will ensure that you are getting the education that is most relevant to your desired career.
- Finally, ensure that your documentation is accurate and current. This includes making sure the printed name on your documentation is your full name and spelled correctly.
- Additionally, check the certification and licensing requirements for your desired career and make sure you have equivalents on hand.
By following these tips, you can maximize the number of points you receive toward your Express Entry profile.
Express Entry can help you pick up where you left off in Canada
That’s it for our guide on how to ace the ECA! Remember, if you have any questions or just need some help getting started, our team at Express Entry PR is here to assist you.
At Express Entry PR, we can help ensure that your family is taken care of and that you have the correct visa for your situation. We are also highly experienced in helping with citizenship applications and other PR needs you may have. In addition, our team can provide educational consulting to help get your children into the best schools possible. Give us a call or visit our website today to learn more about how we can help you make the move to Canada.