Substantial Equivalence Assessment

What is the Substantial Equivalence Assessment?

A Substantial Equivalence Assessment is a standardized, rigorous and transparent evaluation of the education and experience of health care providers who did not graduate from an approved Alberta Health Care Aide (HCA) Program.

Health care providers who fit under this category may apply to the Alberta HCA Directory to have their received education and experience assessed through the CLPNA to determine whether it is considered substantially equivalent to the Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum. Eligible applicants include:

  • Graduates of a health care program outside of the province of Alberta;
  • Internationally Educated Nurses; and
  • Individuals with education as a health care aide, personal support worker, continuing care assistant, nurse or other profession considered to provide direct patient care.

NOTE* The Practice Exam is for Alberta HCA graduates only, in preparation for the Provincial Exam. The Practice Exam is NOT part of the Substantial Equivalence Assessment, enrolment and payment of the Practice Exam are NOT required.

About the Assessment

The received curriculum must meet a minimum equivalency of 75% to be considered substantially equivalent. An applicant that does not meet the English Language Proficiency requirement and/or with a curriculum that does not satisfy the minimum equivalency to the current Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum will be referred to an Alberta institution approved to offer the HCA Program for further options.

Approved  Health Care Aide programs can be found at

For more information about the requirements and how to apply for assessment please see Assessment Requirements. All curriculum, program outcomes and transcripts may be emailed or mailed to the Directory. Click here for our contact information.

How long does the Substantial Equivalence Assessment process take?

The substantial equivalence assessment will be conducted by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) with an anticipated timeline of assessment of 4-8 weeks once the curriculum has been received. The health care provider will be required to complete their online profile with the Directory, have their curriculum submitted and provide consent to having their assessment decision shared with their employer or future employer.

Substantial Equivalence Assessment Toolbox