ASET and New Canadians: Certification as an Entry to the Profession

ASET certification as a pathway into the engineering technology profession

05, Aug, 2015

When one thinks of the C.Tech. and C.E.T. designations, the first things that come to mind are studying, an exam, professional development, and building a career. Rarely do we view certification as a pathway into engineering technology as a profession but that is what ASET represents to thousands of Albertans.

Since late spring, Association staff have delivered presentations in Calgary and Edmonton to over 100 experienced engineering and technology professionals working what are termed, “Survival jobs.” They are new Canadians whose employment status is not a function of their skills and competence; rather, it is a question of opportunity. How does one go about convincing a prospective employer to take the time necessary to conduct due diligence for a potential hire when doing so means tracking down references and credentials from overseas sources?

That is where the Association comes in. The increasing recognition of, and appreciation for, ASET’s protected titles provides real value to skilled foreign-trained workers who might otherwise have no way of proving their competence and getting through an initial screening, let alone being invited to a formal interview. ASET registration and certification mean immigrants who studied and started working abroad can be evaluated purely on their merits; and HR professionals will have comparables available when assessing these individuals’ suitability against the criteria stipulated in position profiles.

When ASET presents its purpose, procedures, and requirements to qualified new Canadians, many are surprised to discover a legitimate organization whose responsibilities include determining professional eligibility by evaluating competency. They are pleased to learn that despite being a regulator, the Association does not erect barriers, preferring an approach predicated on verifying equivalence to established Canadian and Albertan standards. They are thrilled when informed of the “One and done,” component that allows candidates to complete the process in Alberta and thereby gain equivalent eligibility for certification anywhere in Canada as a result of the reciprocal agreements among the technician and technologist associations in all 10 provinces.

What does this approach mean? First, it offers hope to immigrants employed at levels far below their education and experience. With the assistance of a small loan from the Immigrant Access Fund, almost any qualified technician or technologist with a good command of English can reasonably expect to get through the certification process in less than a year—barring unexpected delays in the provision of background information. Second, the economic downturn notwithstanding, Alberta faces a significant shortage of experienced, qualified engineering professionals, a situation that can be remedied, in part, through the availability of a pool of talented, certified new Canadians. Third, it’s the right thing to do; most of us are the children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren of immigrants, and welcoming these newcomers is part of a long, illustrious Prairie tradition.

To find out more about information sessions for foreign-trained professionals or any other ASET outreach programs, please email our Corporate Relations Manager, Eric Morin, at or call him at 780-905-1271.