Career Development Practitioner (CDP) Certification in Canada

News Feature

Overview of certification for Career Development Practitioners by Paula Wischoff Yerama, CCDP. Paula is Executive Director of the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA), Chair of the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) Certification Working Group, and member of Career Professionals of Canada (CPC).

The Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) Certification Working Group (CWG) promotes collaboration and greater cohesion across provincial certification initiatives and has representation from all provinces with existing or emerging career practitioner certification. The group has been instrumental in supporting the formation of new provincial professional associations and the development of provincial certifications. The challenge of how to address reciprocity between provinces and how to harmonize certification nationally remain at the forefront of discussions amongst the group.

A “Discussion Paper”, brief survey of CWG members, and “Reciprocity at a Glance” document were the impetus for the development two sub-working groups. This groups have been established to explore these topics in more depth:

  • A Certification Survey Group will be researching and identifying the value proposition of certification for practitioners, employers, funders, and the public as well as determining the level of interest from practitioners and stakeholders in operationalizing the core and specialization competencies of the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners.
  • Another group will be focussing on Certification Foundations and identifying the minimum standards / common elements of certification for reciprocity and exploring options, including strengths and challenges, for sharing administrative or regional functions of certification.

The Certification Working Group (CWG) has representation from the following career development organizations, associations, and training / certification providers:

  • British Columbia Career Development Association (BCCDA)
  • Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF)
  • Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD)
  • Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA)
  • Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA)
  • Career Development Practitioner Certification Board of Ontario (CDPCBO)
  • Career Professionals of Canada (CPC)
  • Institute of Career Certification International (ICCI)
  • Manitoba Association for Career Development (MACD)
  • New Brunswick Career Development Action Group (NBCDAG)
  • Nova Scotia Career Development Association (NSCDA)
  • Onestep (Ontario)
  • Prince Edward Island Career Development Association (PEICDA)
  • RQuODE (Quebec)
  • Saskatchewan Networking Group

The Certification Working Group welcomes other provincial / territorial associations and provinces / territories with an interest in creating an association. As evidenced by the inclusion of CCPA, CPC, and ICCI there is also a desire to dialogue with other training / certification providers around issues related to certification recognition. An example of this is Career Professionals of Canada’s Fast Track credential recognition for Career Development Practitioners and Career Development Professionals. Individuals who have attained career development training or certification are eligible for credential recognition through CPC’s Fast-Track Program. CPC’s Certified Career Strategist (CCS) designation further enhances credibility and visibility as a Career Development Practitioner / Professional.

In 2014, the CWG formally requested that “Career Development Practitioner” be added to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and initiated efforts to trademark Certified Career Development Practitioner / Professional (CCDP) nationally. The regularly updated “Certification at a Glance” document outlines certification requirements, pre-approved programs and training providers, reciprocity arrangements, and membership and certification fees for each province. This document and the “Benefits of Certification” document (in development) serve to highlight certification similarities and the value of certification. These efforts serve to strengthen and promote the profession across Canada.

Currently, five provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, OntarioNew Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) have certification based on the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Developmen (S&Gs) in place. Several other provinces are having discussions about certification development and implementation.

The S&Gs are the competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) that Career Development Practitioners need in order to practice effectively and ethically. They were initiated in 1996 and built based on extensive consultation with the career development community. The S&Gs launched in 2001 and were revised in 2004 and 2011. They were the basis for career development training programs, job descriptions, and certification in Canada.

Not all career development certifications are based on the S&Gs and not all provinces have the same education and training requirements. For example, in Quebec, a Master’s degree from a pre-approved institution OR demonstration of equivalency (Masters’ degree or 6075 hours of education, including specific courses, theoretical training, and supervised internship) is required for certification. In other provinces it could be a combination of education and experience, and/or demonstration of competencies.

There are a multitude of other national and international certification / designation options available to practitioners including the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) – Center for Credentialing and Education, and Career Management Fellow (CMF) / Career Management Practitioner (CMP) / Career Management Associate (CMA) – Institute of Career Certification International. The CWG is aware of the variety of certification options available to practitioners and is working diligently to address reciprocity and harmonization of provincial association certifications as its first step in strengthen the profession.

These are exciting times for career development in Canada!

Paula Wischoff Yerama, CCDP is Executive Director of the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA), Chair of the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) Certification Working Group, and member of Career Professionals of Canada (CPC).



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