Vocational training programs offered by private institutions must be licensed by the Government of Alberta in accordance with the Private Vocational Training Act and the Private Vocational Training Regulation. This legislation supports private institutions’ participation in Alberta's post-secondary system and provides protections to students enrolled in licensed programs.
Before you start
You are required by law to licence career training programs you want to offer, unless your program is considered exempt.
Our licensing team can help you understand:
- if your program requires a licence
- if your proposed program could meet licensing requirements
- how the application process works
It is important to ensure you have passed Step 1 and have been approved before moving ahead to step 2.
Step 1. Apply for Program Approval
The below sections must be completed for each program that you are seeking to licence. For new institutions, at least one program must be approved in Step 1 before you can move to Step 2.
You can download the checklist to help keep track of the required documents. Do not submit your application until you have completed all components.
Application for Program Approval Checklist (PDF, 109 KB)
PDF form issues
Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:
- Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
- Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.
If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.
You are required to provide specific information about the program, including:
- Program name
- Program outline and structure
- Details about how your program will be delivered
Download and complete the Program Information form
Evidence of Curriculum Relevance
If the field or occupation has a professional or regulatory body, you must obtain that body's approval and include it with your application submission.
If there is no professional or regulatory body for the field or occupation, you must have a minimum of 3 industry subject matter experts complete the Curriculum Review Form. This program evaluation demonstrates the relevance of your curriculum to industry. If applicable, we strongly encourage that at least 1 review be completed by an association relevant to the occupation within Alberta.
Your subject matter experts must:
- Have an educational background relevant to the occupation of study
- Be independent from the institution and free of conflict of interest
- Complete the review without influence or guidance from the institution
- Reside in Alberta and be accessible by phone and email
Provide each industry source with a copy of your curriculum and request that they complete the Curriculum Review Form. Submit the completed and signed curriculum reviews, along with the curriculum provided, and any response to the feedback provided by your subject matter expert.
Institutions must keep the Curriculum Reviews on file for the duration of the program.
A curriculum generally includes the learning standards or learning objectives students are expected to meet, the lessons or program components that teachers teach, the assignments and projects given to students, the books, readings, videos, presentations, and other learning materials used in a course, and the assessment methods used to evaluate learning.
Evidence of Labour Market Demand
Institutions must provide evidence of labour market demand for the field in which the proposed program provides training.
If the field has a professional or regulatory body, check with them to see if they collect labour market demand information to inform their approvals.
If there is no professional or regulatory body for the field, or if they do not collect this information, you must provide this evidence to the Private Career Colleges Branch as a part of your Application for Program Approval.
The below document provides guidance on how you can successfully complete this requirement.
Labour Market Demand Guide (PDF, 698 KB)
It is the responsibility of the institution to set appropriate requirements for each licensed program to:
- ensure that prospective students have the prerequisite education and skills needed to benefit from the training, and to
- reflect industry expectations for prospective graduates (for example: formal education, work experience, criminal record check, driver’s licence)
You must submit a description of the admission requirements for the program as a part of your application. The below document provides guidance on what you should consider.
Admission Requirements Guidelines (PDF, 111 KB)
Sample of Credential
Upon completion of a licensed program, a student is awarded a credential.
Credential naming consistency helps students and employers understand and recognize licensed programs.
Submit a sample of the credential to be awarded to graduates of the program with included on the document:
- Certificate or Diploma (see definition below)
- School name
- Program name
- Graduation date
- Signature of appropriate school representative
- Prepare students for entry into specific occupations
- Generally, require 1 year or less of full-time study at a college or technical institute and
- may also be available through part-time study
- Prepare students for employment in a particular field or group of occupations
- Generally, involve 2 years of full-time study at a college or technical institute (for private career colleges, programs greater than 1 year of full-time study may be referred to as diploma programs)
Require a high school diploma (often with specified grade levels and subjects) for admission.
Pay the Application Fees (licensed institution only)
At this stage, only existing schools (Private career colleges with one or more licensed programs) must pay an application fee. New schools will be asked to pay an application fee in Step 2.
Existing schools must pay the following fees:
Existing School - New Location
Application Fee (initial program): $300 Application Fee (each additional program): $100
Existing School - New Program
Application Fee (per program): $100
Pay your licensing fee via cheque made payable to "Government of Alberta" and reference the invoice number provided by the Licensing Officer.
20th Floor, Commerce Place
10155 102 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L
Instructor Qualifications Agreement
Institutions identify instructor qualifications that are regarded by the industry as appropriate.
If there is a professional body, regulatory body or other agency that sets the instructor qualifications for a program, the institution must use these qualifications.
If there is no professional, regulatory body or other agency that sets the instructor guidelines, instructors should have:
- A degree, diploma, certificate or a professional designation in a related field
- A minimum of 3 years of work-related experience
- A minimum 1 year of instructional experience or hold a training certificate in adult education
If industry Subject Matter Experts indicate that additional qualifications are required for the program, you should reflect this in your Instructor Qualifications Agreement.
Please submit a completed Instructor Qualifications Agreement with your application. Please note that your agreement to minimum instructor qualifications will be confirmed by signing the Licensed Institutions Applying for New Programs: Application Checklist and Statutory Declaration.
Licenced Institutions Only: Signed Checklist and Statutory Declaration
If your school is already licensed and you are adding a new program, the Responsible Authority for the institution must sign a statutory declaration, which is a legal document attested by a Commissioner of Oaths. In the statutory declaration the Responsible Authority declares the completeness and accuracy of the application submission and that they have the necessary financial resources to effectively deliver the proposed vocational training program.
How to Submit
When you have completed all the above components of your New Program Application, please submit them in one email to: [email protected]. If possible, combine all documents into a single PDF.
Step 2: Apply for Institution Approval (new schools only)
You must have passed step 1 before starting step 2.
Application Checklist and Statutory Declaration
Please complete the following checklist and Statutory Declaration, which must be signed by your Responsible Authority and a Commissioner of Oaths, scanned, and then submitted to us with your application package.
Applicant and Institution Information
We require specific information about the individual or business applying to offer licensed programs. The Chief Executive Officer or owner of the legal entity applying for a license is known as the Responsible Authority responsible for the operation of the school.
We also require information about the institution that will be delivering the proposed program(s). Please complete the below form and include it in your submission.
Please also provide the following documentation as part of your Step 2 application documents:
- Copy of the municipal occupancy permit
- If applicable, signed health inspection permit
- Copy of your legal entity’s corporate registration
Application & Annual Licensing Fees
All institutions are responsible for the following fees:
New School Application Fee (for initial program) $300.00 Application Fee (for each additional program) $100.00 Existing School: New Location Application Fee (for initial program) $300.00 Application Fee (for each additional program) $100.00 Annual Licensing Fees One program $800.00 Each additional program $50.00
- Application fees or licensing fees not paid on time may result in a delay in the initial issuance of a program licence.
- Initial licensing fee amount will be pro-rated based on the date the license is first issued.
- Annual licensing fees are due by April 1st.
- Annual Licensing fees not paid on time may result in compliance action being taken.
Pay your fees via cheque made payable to "Government of Alberta", and reference the invoice provided to you by the Private Career Colleges Branch.
Advanced Education c/o Private Career Colleges Branch
20th Floor, Commerce Place
10155 102 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L5
How to Submit
When you have completed all the above components of your Institution Application, please submit them in one email to: [email protected]. If you are able, combine all documents into a single PDF with clearly marked sections.
Step 3: Post Financial Security
Private Career Colleges are required to post security before they receive their license. The posted security protects tuition paid by students enrolled in licensed vocational training programs.
- post and maintain security for every campus where licensed career training is offered
- pay the amount required by government
- ensure the post is in the form of a surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit issued by an approved financial institution
The security you submit must remain in force while you have a licence. You cannot make any adjustments without written approval by government. You will be asked to increase your security amount if it's determined that your current amount is not sufficient based on increases in enrolment.
Financial Security for New Institutions
As part of the licensing process, the Responsible Authority (RA) must complete a Projected Tuition Revenue Statutory Declaration stating the institution’s projected tuition revenue for an entire 12-month period for all vocational programs to be licensed under the Private Vocational Training Act.
The required security will be based on a percentage of the projected tuition revenue and program length as follows:
- 8% of the projected tuition revenue is required as security for institutions primarily offering licensed programs 17 weeks or less in length
- 16% of the projected tuition revenue is required as security for institutions primarily offering licensed programs longer than 17 weeks.
Use the Projected Tuition & Security Calculation document to calculate your project revenues based on your enrollment projections and tuition and provide you with information to determine your security amount.
Projected Tuition & Security Calculation (PDF, 173 KB)
You also must complete and submit the Projected Tuition Statutory Declaration.
Projected Tuition Statutory Declaration (PDF, 150 KB)
You can pay your security in the form of a Surety Bond or Letter of Credit. The Security Samples document outlines what is required for each of these options.
Security Samples (PDF, 162 KB)
Step 4: Licensing Agreement Information Session
Private Career Colleges branch provides all new licenses an information session to review the Licensing Agreement, also known as the Terms and Conditions of Licensing.
Other ongoing licensing requirements will also be discussed so you are fully aware of the roles and responsibilities of private career colleges offering licensed training programs in Alberta. The following document outlines your ongoing requirements as a licensee. Refer to this document regularly.
To connect with the Private Career Colleges Branch:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]