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Academic Requirements and Acceptable Alternatives:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Regulated Professions in Ontario

Glossary of terms

Academic requirement
The formal post-secondary education, or equivalent, that is required for licensing in a particular regulated profession. In this study, academic requirements are separate from a profession's professional program requirements. Professional programs may be offered within or beyond the university environment and typically involve intensive practical training or work experience (for example, accounting professional programs, medical residency).
Acceptable alternatives
Alternative ways to meet licensing requirements, including alternative ways to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to practise the profession, and alternative ways in which these professional competencies can be demonstrated or assessed. In this study, the focus is on acceptable alternatives for meeting academic requirements.
Advanced-standing opportunities
Opportunities to enter an education program mid-stream based on recognition of studies completed at another educational institution.
Bridging program
A program designed to help internationally educated people close ("bridge") specific gaps in knowledge and skills in order to become licensed or employed in their field of expertise in a new jurisdiction. This study focuses specifically on bridging programs that help participants meet academic or examination requirements for licensing.
Certification
The process by which an organization with the appropriate authority confirms that an individual has met academic or other requirements to become licensed in a particular profession. In some professions, certification also refers to the process of authorizing an individual to use a professional designation or protected title.
Competencies
The skills and knowledge needed to practise an occupation.
Competency-based assessment
A process or tool used to measure a person's knowledge and skills obtained through formal or non-formal education, work experience, or other means, in order to determine whether the person meets requirements or needs further training.
Fair-access legislation
In Ontario, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 (FARPACTA), and the corresponding modifications to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).
FARPACTA
The Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006.
Licensing
Authorizing a person to practise a regulated profession and/or to use a protected title. In this document, the meaning of licensing is the same as registration.
Mutual recognition agreement (MRA)
An agreement between organizations in different jurisdictions, whereby each recognizes the other's educational programs and/or professionals. The terms of the agreement may:
  • limit recognition to people educated in a particular jurisdiction, or extend it to all of those licensed by that jurisdiction
  • allow for full recognition and immediate licensing, or recognize individuals as meeting some but not all of the requirements for licensing
Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
A clinical exam designed to test skills such as communication, clinical examination, medical procedure and interpretation of results. This type of exam typically involves interacting with trained actors.
OFC
Office of the Fairness Commissioner (Ontario).
Registration
Authorizing a person to practise a regulated profession and/or use a protected title. In this document, the meaning of registration is the same as licensing.
Registration regulations
The legal document that describes the requirements that an applicant must meet in order to be authorized to practise a regulated profession or use a protected title. Registration regulations, and any changes to these regulations, must be approved by government.
Regulatory body (or regulator)
The body authorized by legislation to oversee a profession and protect the public interest. Regulatory bodies have formal processes to:
  • authorize qualified applicants to practise the profession or use a protected title
  • investigate complaints and impose remediation or penalties
  • ensure continuing professional development and competence
Regulatory bodies are governed by elected members of the profession and public members appointed by government.
RHPA
Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).
Transfer credit
Recognition granted to a student for courses taken at another educational institution.


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Notes and references

Academic Requirements and Acceptable Alternatives:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Regulated Professions in Ontario

Exemplary Practices

The OFC gathers regulatory bodies' exemplary licensing practices so that they may learn from one another. Exemplary practices about academic requirements and acceptable alternatives are listed below.

  1. Accepting and supporting diverse applicants

    This practice acknowledges a diversity of midwifery...

  2. Clarifying documentation requirements and acceptable alternatives

    This practice will be of interest to regulators seeking...

  3. Communicating acceptable alternatives for applicants with non-accredited education

    This practice offers a visual map of pathways to registration...

  4. Communicating acceptable alternatives for meeting certification requirements

    This practice allows applicants to better understand...