Prior to being granted a licence, an applicant must demonstrate their ability to practise professionally. The responsibility is on the applicant to provide evidence that they possess, through experience, a satisfactory capability to practice at a professional level.
Many of Canada’s engineering and geoscience regulators have implemented or are moving toward competency-based assessment of work experience. To this end, a multi-year, Pan-Canadian competency-based assessment project has been undertaken with participation from engineering and geoscience regulators in several provinces. In the current phase of this project, the online competency assessment system developed by Engineers and Geoscientists BC is being adapted for use by other regulators in Canada.
Benefits of Competency-Based Assessment
Competencies are observable and measurable skills, knowledge, abilities, motivations or traits required for professional registration that are demonstrated through the actions and behaviours of the applicant. The competency-based assessment system:
- Is a more explicitly described and defined measurement tool to assess readiness for licensure.
- Makes the assessment more objective, transparent and consistent and increases the confidence of all who participate in the process including applicants, validators, employers and assessors.
Description of the Competency-Based Assessment Framework
The competency assessment framework makes use of seven Competency Categories, which are groupings of a total of 34 competencies or skills:
- Technical competence [10 competencies]
- Communication [3 competencies]
- Project and financial management [5 competencies]
- Team effectiveness [2 competencies]
- Professional accountability [6 competencies]
- Social, economic, environmental and sustainability [5 competencies]
- Personal Continuing Professional Development (CPD) [3 competencies]
The seven categories represent the areas in which professional engineers of all disciplines must be competent to ensure effective practice and public safety. Each competency category contains a list of the key competencies required in that area.
The competency assessment framework makes use of four Competency Categories, which are groupings of a total of 29 work experience competencies:
- Professional Competencies (7 Competencies)
- Competencies in Scientific Method (5 Competencies)
- Competencies in Area of Geoscience (7 Competencies)
- Complementary Competencies (10 Competencies)
The four categories represent the areas in which professional geoscientists of all disciplines must be competent to ensure effective practice and public safety. Each competency category contains a list of work experience competencies required in that area.
Achievement of each category is measured through a competency rating scale that outlines six different levels of competence (0-5). A successful candidate must meet each of the competencies in each category at a minimum level of 1 on the Competency Rating Scale, while achieving the required minimum category average ‘entry to practice’ rating level of 2 or 3, depending on the category.
The use of an online competency-based assessment system enables applicants to easily report and their validators to validate their experience from anywhere in the world. Applicants, validators and assessors are provided with a personal login and once an applicant has completed his or her competency entries, the applicable validators are automatically notified when the competencies that pertain to them are ready to validate.