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Accreditation: What is it?

In the realm of post-secondary education, accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and standards of institutions. However, when it comes to Alberta, it’s essential to note that colleges and universities in the province are not considered accredited institutions in the traditional sense. In this blog post, we’ll explore the unique landscape of accreditation in Alberta and delve into the various terms associated with educational institutions in the region.

Understanding Terms:

Accreditation in Alberta:
Unlike some countries where colleges and universities undergo a provincial or national institutional accreditation process by a government body, Alberta follows a different approach. In Alberta, colleges and universities do not go through a standardized accreditation process at the institutional level.

Instead, each Certificate/Diploma program within these institutions may seek independent accreditation through third-party organizations. This means that accreditation is program-specific rather than institution-wide, allowing for flexibility and diversity in educational offerings.

Being licensed is a term associated with programs and/or colleges approved by the Private Career Colleges (PCC) Branch in Alberta, pursuant to the Private Vocational Training Act and Regulation. This ensures that these programs meet specific standards set by the government to provide quality education and training.

The term “designated” aligns with educational institutions where students are eligible to receive Student Aid Funding. Additionally, it is used to refer to institutions that are authorized to accept international students under the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) designation.

Recognition in the context of Alberta’s education system is commonly related to third-party associations or organizations recognizing curriculum or hours of study. This recognition may serve as a prerequisite for certification or membership with the said association or organization. It can also be a subjective measure of an employer’s confidence in either the institution or the specific program.


While Alberta’s colleges and universities may not undergo traditional institutional accreditation, the presence of various designations and recognitions ensures that educational programs within these institutions meet specific standards. Understanding the terms associated with accreditation, licensing, designation, and recognition provides students and stakeholders with valuable insights into the quality and legitimacy of educational offerings in the province.