Alberta Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP)


In 2005, the province of Alberta designed and implemented the first model for the Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP). Career Development is not a regulated profession and the certification is voluntary, but the CCDP is now becoming established across Canada.


Flag of Alberta

Career Development Practitioners (CDPs) are recognized across Canada for their unique skills and competencies as outlined in the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners. Alberta is proud to have been the first province to launch voluntary certification for Career Development Practitioners in 2005. The Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) is now established in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Other provinces are now working towards implementing the CCDP.

Career Development in Alberta

In Alberta, certification through the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) is strictly voluntary as is membership in the association. In order to obtain certification, however, an individual must first be a member of the association.

Career Development Practitioners can join CDAA in one of a number of different membership categories:

  • Associate Member
  • Pre-Certified Associate Member
  • Student Member
  • Senior Associate Member

In order to be certified, in Alberta, as a Career Development Practitioner the practitioner must have, at a minimum, some experience in the career development field, a course in career theories, a course in ethics, and be committed to ongoing professional development. These career development competencies are grounded in the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners.

Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP)

The Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners are the benchmark for assessing a practitioner’s career development competencies. All CCDPs in Alberta must demonstrate competency in at least one of the following qualifying work areas:

Direct Client Services: Career Assessment, Career Counselling or Coaching, Facilitated Learning, Information and Resource Management, Work Development

Indirect Services:

  • developing, marketing, co-ordinating, or managing career development programs/projects/services
  • developing or implementing long term strategies that connect career development and community economic development
  • researching, writing, or educating in the field of career development

There are two pathways to certification in Alberta – education and employment.

Education pathway criteria include:

  • Completed a minimum of a certificate in Career Development at a post secondary program level
  • 3000 hours of work experience in career development and currently employed in the field
  • Coursework must include:

Ethics and Professional Conduct (minimum 1 academic credit or 10 hours)

Career Theories (minimum 3 academic credits or 30 hours)

3 professional references

Employment pathway criteria include:

  • Minimum of 10 years (7000 hours) work experience in the Career Development field. In addition, within the past three years, have worked a minimum of 2500 hours in the field
  • Currently employed within the career development field
  • Coursework must include:

Ethics and Professional Conduct (minimum 10 hours)

Career Theories (minimum 30 hours)

3 professional references

In order to maintain their CCDP designation practitioners are asked to obtain continuing education units and to apply for renewal every three years. For more details regarding certification criteria in Alberta please visit CDAA.

Promoting Career Development Services in Alberta

The member’s Certified Career Development Professional designation post-nominal, CCDP, tells the public, an employer, or a potential client that the practitioner meets a minimum standard of knowledge, skill, competency, and education in the field of career development.

Practitioners voluntarily pursue certification for the following reasons:

  • Official recognition of competency in the career development field
  • Recognition as a professional in field and increased marketability of qualifications
  • Demonstration of commitment to personal career development
  • Commitment to a self-selected program of continuous learning and professional development
  • Contribution to public awareness of career development as a defined field of practice

How Alberta’s Certification Fits into the Canadian Landscape

At this time, Career Development, across Canada, is not a regulated profession. This means that an individual need not be certified as a Career Development Practitioner to practice as, or call themselves, a Career Development Practitioner (or any one of dozens of job titles related to the occupation).

Members of Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) may belong to multiple associations and hold multiple designations, certifications and credentials. For example, a member of CDAA may also be a member of the Career Professionals of Canada, Human Resources Institute of Alberta, Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, National Career Development Association (United States), or the British Columbia Career Development Association, to name a few.

Members of Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) may have the Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) designation from the CDAA and also have other certifications. They may be a Certified Career Coach, Registered Vocational Professional (Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada), and/or Registered in Alberta as a Social Worker, a Teacher, or a Psychologist. They may also have any number of resume, interview, employment, or career certifications through organizations such as Career Professionals of Canada, or specialized training in the use of specific assessment tools such as Personality Dimensions ® through Career and LifeSkills Resources or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® through Psychometrics. Career Development Practitioners may also hold the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) certification, the Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (EVGP) certification, or the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) certification.

What’s Next for Certification Alberta

CDAA has been approached by other training providers across the country regarding having their training programs pre-approved for certification. Given the national focus of career development certification this discussion is being conducted amongst the CDAA Standards and Certification Committee as it has implications for the framework that certification in Alberta was built upon. These are important discussions and require sensitive and thoughtful consideration.

Maintaining relationships with education and training providers is an important part of the work of the Standards and Certification Group and currently there are cross promotional activities being developed to not only promote the career development training programs that are recognized for the CCDP designation but to promote the CDAA as a professional association and a certifying body.

The Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) is a member of the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD). Through the CCCD Certification Working Group there are conversations ongoing about how to bridge the various career development certifications and related programs, how to address issues related to certification reciprocity and practitioner mobility, and how to evaluate the value of certification. These are important discussions during a very exciting and pivotal time for our profession.


PaulaWischoffYerama Paula Wischoff Yerama is a Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP) and the Executive Director of the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA). She is proud to represent the CDAA on the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) Steering Committee and to Chair the CCCD Certification Working Group. Paula is passionate about her profession and is an advocate for quality practice and certification.


Scott FisherScott Fisher is a Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP) with extensive experience assisting internationally educated professionals in integrating into the Canadian job market.  He is a member of the steering committee for the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD), Board member of the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) and past Chair for the Standards and Certification Committee of the CDAA. 


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Are there any Career Development practioner programs that are recognized for certification in Alberta at this time? I am a high school teacher (BED, MA(leadership & training) who will be pursuing a certificate in CDP. I want to ensure that if I pursue this through Ontario (ie. George Brown) that my education will be recognized OR is it better to pursue certification within Alberta? Thanks for your time, Jan

Hi Jan,
Great of you to check in about this! We recently made some changes with respect to education and training due to the changing landscape both provincially and nationally. Please take a look at the information posted on the CDAA website, Certified Career Development (CCDP) Designation tab, CCDP Education and Training sub-tab – and feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions!
Yours in career development,

Good day!

I have a question about the CDP designation. In seeking application, is it the expectation to meet requirements for both the education path and the employment path or can someone have either or? Please advise.

Thank you,


Hi Joanne,

In Alberta we have two certification pathways – the education pathway and the employment pathway. There are specific criteria for each but both have an education and an employment component.

You can choose to apply under whichever pathway best fits your particular situation. You only need to meet the criteria for the pathway you are applying to.

Please feel free to email me at if you have further questions.

Yours in career development,


I have my CCDP designation in Alberta. How do I start my own online career coaching business?

Katrina, you can access a free online course for starting a business. Contact us and we’ll give you the link.