WES Advisor Blog

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Regulated and Non-Regulated Professions

Friday | September 23, 2016 | by WES Global Talent Bridge

Two professionals from a regulated profession working

Certain professions in Canada and the United States are regulated to protect public health and safety. The government regulates occupations that affect a large number of people directly, such as those in healthcare, engineering, law, finance, and education. In a regulated profession, you need a license or certificate from the regulatory body that governs that occupation to be employed in that field.

Each of Canada’s provinces and territories is responsible for overseeing the regulated professions within their borders. The same is true with the United States. Licenses and certifications are valid only in the province, territory, or state where they are issued. You must reapply for license and certification in each extra province, territory, or state in which you want to work.

Each regulatory body has its own way of evaluating educational qualifications, work experience, and professional skills in the licensing or certification process. As a result, the cost, time commitment, examination, and interview process for licensing is different in each province, territory, and state. Keep these differences in mind when deciding if and where you will relicense.

Regulated Non-Regulated
Medical Doctor Hospital Administration Executive
Lawyer Management Consultant
Professional Engineer Office Tower Construction Project Manager
Chartered Professional Accountant Financial Analyst


Due to the cost and time needed to relicense in Canada and the United States, many internationally trained professionals decide to find employment in non-regulated professions. Non-regulated professions do not need a license or certification and can still be a rewarding and worthwhile experience. There are often voluntary certifications that can increase your career success. These usually take less time and money compared to the regulated professions.

The demand for certain skilled professionals changes as the labour market changes. The best way to keep up with the changes is to think about your education and work experience as the starting point of possibilities.

Alternative and related careers are a great way to make use of your strengths and skills. Read more about them in our related article: Surprising Pathways to Career Success in Canada.

WES Global Talent Bridge is a program dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States and Canada. Global Talent Bridge joins with institutional partners and community organizations to help skilled immigrants leverage their training, achieve their professional goals, and contribute their talents to their full potential.