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.

The substantial equivalence process requires each of the following:

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

Alberta Practical Nursing (PN) students and Bachelor of Nursing (BN) students in Alberta are exempt from the $300.00 assessment fee. The CLPNA will implement a standardized assessment process for these students.

At this time, to receive SE status on the Directory as a PN or BN student, the student must:

  • Have successfully completed a minimum of 100 hours of clinical placement in Alberta;
  • A PN student must have successfully completed their first year of a PN program;
  • A BN student must have successfully completed the second year of a BN program;
  • Students are required to submit a completed Transcript Request form to their institution providing consent to release their transcripts to the Directory.
  • The transcripts must confirm that the student completed the year(s) required. The institution must send the transcript directly to or mail to the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA).  The student is responsible for all costs associated with getting a transcript.

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


English Language Proficiency





Alberta HCA Substantial Equivalence Assessment Policies  






Substantial Equivalence Assessment – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)