Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: August 13, 2020

ECA Canada – Educational Credentials Assessment

ECA CanadaSalome is a Colombian citizen. She completed a four-year bachelor’s program in mathematics. Salome also completed a post-graduate certificate a couple of years after graduation. Now that she intends to immigrate to Canada, Solome wonders how many points she receives for her education. Of course, Salome wants to apply as a skilled worker under the Express Entry system. Therefore, one of her friends tells her she needs to consider an Educational Credentials Assessment or rather an ECA for Canada. Consequently, Salome wonders what ECA is and how it could affect her immigration to Canada.

Your educational credentials could play a crucial role if you are immigrating under economic programs. Specifically, if you decide to migrate under the Express Entry system, then education is an integral piece of your application. Therefore, this article explains how to assess your education. Keep in mind that you could also use an ECA report for studying or working in Canada. While the focus of this article is education, it also refers to those options.

What is an educational credential assessment?

ECA is a process to find the equivalency of your education in Canada. In the past, immigration officers relied on their judgment to assess the applicants’ credentials. However, this approach created lots of inconsistencies and subsequent complaints. Upon the introduction of the Express Entry system, the immigration authorities imposed ECA. Simply put, you send your documents to a trusted third party, and they find out the equivalency of your education to the Canadian system. Consequently, no one needs for guesswork.

Do I need an ECA report for my education credentials in Canada?

The simple answer to this question is “no.” You do not need an ECA report. However, it is in your best interest to complete your studies at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Click the following link to learn more about DLIs:

Do I need to receive an ECA report for every program I have taken?

Generally speaking, you only need to have an ECA report for the highest level of education outside Canada. However, if you have multiple parallel diplomas or degrees, make sure to evaluate them all. For example, if you hold a bachelor’s degree in Physics and another bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, get the ECA report for both. Transparency and clarity are at the core of every immigration application. Therefore, do your best to present the documents to the officer understandably and truthfully.

Educational Credential Assessments for incomplete education

If you have not completed your post-secondary studies, you may still consider an ECA report. The ECA finds the equivalency in Canada. As a result, you could receive points for your incomplete education. However, make sure to get an ECA report for the lower education level as well. For example, if you hold a high school diploma and an incomplete bachelor’s degree, then get an ECA report both for your high school diploma and the incomplete post-secondary education.

Designated ECA organizations in Canada

You must submit your ECA request to one of the following organizations:

It doesn’t matter which organization you pick. However, read the next section for exceptional situations.

Exceptional situations

Some occupations are regulated in Canada. Therefore, a designated organization oversees the activities of professionals under those occupations. You must consult with the relevant organization to see if you need to take further steps in assessing your education credentials. Click here for a list of regulated occupations in Canada and their regulators.

If you intend to work as a physician in Canada (i.e. NOC 3111 or NOC 3112), then the Medical Council of Canada must do an ECA assessment for your medical education.  Similarly, the organization in charge of ECA for pharmacists (i.e. NOC 3131) is the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. Of course, IRCC could identify more exceptional cases in the future.

What kind of educational assessment do I need?

The designated organizations usually issue different types of reports:

  • Education
  • Immigration
  • Employment
  • Professional licence

If you intend to immigrate to Canada, you have to pick the immigration option. Thus, the designated organization will share the results directly with IRCC. Of course, if you want to study in Canada, then you need to pick the education option. Luckily, in most cases, if you have the ECA for one option, you could quickly obtain the report for the other option by paying extra fees.

Educational credentials assessment for PNP

PNP or Provincial Nominee Program is for those who intend to reside in a specific province of Canada. Sometimes the ECA requirements for a PNP program could be different from what you learned here. Consequently, consult with the provincial authorities or refer to their websites for more information.

The validity of an ECA Canada report

An ECA report is valid for up to five years from the day of issuance. However, if you have received your report before April 17, 2013, get in touch with the Designated ECA organization. There is a chance they could agree to re-issue the report for you.

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

Important Notes:
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

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Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.