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Recognition of Acquired Competencies: Earn a Degree with Your Work Experience

24 February 2017 by National Bank
recognition of acquired competencies

You have years of valuable work experience, but it is sometimes difficult to have it recognized without the legitimacy conferred by a degree. The RAC exists to help workers increase their professional value. Here is how you can benefit from the process.

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What is the RAC?

The RAC allows those who have developed professional competencies outside a traditional academic setting to earn a degree awarded by a CEGEP or vocational school thanks to their informal learning experiences. The degree has the same value as one earned from an equivalent program of studies.

Work experience is primarily taken into consideration, but experience acquired during non-credit training, volunteering, and even leisure activities in Quebec or elsewhere can also be considered.

For Whom is the Program Intended?

“There is no standard profile,” explains France St-Amour, RAC Office Coordinator for CEGEP Marie-Victorin. “It is a valuable program for immigrants as well as native-born workers. It is intended for anyone who has significant experience related to a given field of studies.”

For What Purpose?

Obtaining a degree through the RAC is particularly useful for job searches. It helps potential employers recognize your competencies.

“For immigrants, the RAC eases integration into the workforce because it gives them a degree from Quebec,” explains Andrée Langevin, Coordinator for the Center of Expertise for recognition of acquired competencies for the Quebec College System.

According to France St-Amour, the RAC also has the benefit of developing self-confidence, regardless of workers’ backgrounds: “Many degree holders tell us about the pride they feel when they receive their diploma.”

How Do You Get Started?

Dozens of study programs are offered as part of the RAC. They range from business to healthcare and include other fields, such as arts and crafts, mechanics, social services and web programming.

Because available programs vary from one institution to another and from one region to another, it is best to consult the Reconnaissance des acquis portal. Otherwise, regional organizations are your best source of information about the RAC. They will direct you to institutions offering a program that fits your profile. In greater Montreal, for example, the organization Qualification Montréal plays this role.

How Does It Work?

After having an initial meeting for the RAC, candidates compile a file and complete a self-evaluation. “The programs are presented as lists of competencies rather than courses,” explains Andrée Langevin. “That way, candidates can see whether it makes sense for them to start the process.”

During the next step, an advisor examines the file and analyzes the degree of mastery of the competencies claimed by the candidate. This step includes an interview.

If the candidate has not met certain program objectives, further training is prescribed. This training can be an internship, guided readings or continuing education courses.

The entire process generally takes between seven and twelve months for the DCS and ACS.

As for the SSVD, file studies take about two months, according to Gaston Amiot, Advisor in Personnel Management and Director of the RAC at the Centre d’études professionnelles Saint-Jérôme. The specialist notes, however, that when additional training is required, the process can take up to two or three years, depending on the candidate’s availability.

“It is a highly personalized course of study. Candidates set their own deadlines and progress at their own pace. You have to remember that most candidates are trying to balance work, family life and their studies,” says Andrée Langevin.

How Much Does It Cost?

At the secondary level, file analysis is free of charge. At the college level, you can expect to spend about $90 for the file opening and $40 to $50 per recognized competency. Fees vary slightly from one institution to another.

At the CEGEP Marie-Victorin, more than 800 candidates have embarked on the RAC process. According to Andrée Langevin, 80% to 90% of them will earn the desired degree.

“People don’t realize just how skilled and knowledgeable they are!” she says.

For more hints and tips about better managing your personal finances, subscribe to the National Bank Newsletter.

Sources:

Reconnaissance des acquis portal

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