What’s Up on the Canadian Career Certification Front?

By Sharon Graham.

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The Canadian Career Development field has made significant strides towards establishing itself. Career practitioners across the nation have adopted the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners (S&Gs). Practitioners have embraced the need for professionalism by registering with their respective provincial association. Membership with Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) has also increased sharply in the last year as has the number of applicants for Career Certification with CPC.

Certification defines our scope of practice, supports quality, and ensures accountability. According to Sareena Hopkins of the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD), “Certification raises the bar for our field, demonstrating to our employers, funders, policy makers, and the public that our work is grounded in professional excellence. It operationalizes the competency standards and ethical guidelines that were established through the S&Gs.”

Across Canada, the field is evolving and processes are becoming formalized. Currently, not every province offers certification. However, some are well established and others are well underway. Many provinces have already launched certification programs for Career Development Practitioners (CDPs). These provincial certifications require the Core Competencies and one or more Areas of Specialization outlined in the S&Gs. Practitioners can display these competencies through a combination of formal education and work experience.

In a recent Telenetworking Session for members of CPC, questions were raised about formal licencing and/or regulation for certification. Currently, certification is mandatory for Career Counsellors in Québec; it is voluntary in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. To ensure inclusivity for practitioners who are established prior to the start of the model, provinces have instituted “grandparenting” provisions.

The base requirement and process for attaining the Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) is not the same for each province. This creates concerns for practitioner mobility and transferability of certification. Through the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD), associations continue to work closely to safeguard inclusivity and reciprocity.

Canadian Career Practitioners gain competencies in various ways. The field consists of diverse professionals including career development professionals, employment consultants, career coaches, resume writers, job developers, outplacement consultants, vocational counsellors, guidance counsellors, and a wide variety of other career practitioners. Moreover, practitioners deliver disparate services and programs. Some practitioners may not have the formal education required for provincial certification, but are qualified and competent in their area of expertise.

Career Professionals of Canada’s certifications are not to be confused with provincial certifications. CPC certification is a validation and credentialing program based on Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).  CPC recognizes all qualified and competent practitioners including those who may not have a formal education in career development or may deliver a speciality that is not covered in the S&Gs. CPC certifications are designed to help these practitioners to demonstrate and obtain recognition for learning that they acquire through work and life experience.

CPC certifications are a validation of a practitioner’s competency in one of four specific areas:


If you are a Canadian Career Practitioner, learn more about Career Professionals of Canada’s certification programs.


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