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When Is the Best Time to Obtain a Credential Evaluation?

Friday | February 24, 2023 | by WES Advisor

A woman holds a cell phone and is looking off into the distance while thinking.

The United States and Canada are popular destinations for international students and professionals alike. For anyone considering the move, it is a smart idea to understand the process and requirements. Those seeking immigration to the U.S. or Canada for education, employment, or to pursue other new opportunities will likely find that a credential evaluation is required.  This might lead you to wonder, when is the best time to obtain a credential evaluation? In this article, we will answer this question and discuss other advantages of placing a credential evaluation at the top of your to-do list if you are moving to the U.S. or Canada.  

When is the best time to obtain a credential evaluation?

We recommend starting the credential evaluation process as early as possible. Since many academic institutions, professional licensing bodies, and employers will require a credential evaluation report, this is an item on your to-do list that you can complete early.  

It is a common misconception that you need to know where you will study or work before starting the credential evaluation process. The truth is that you can order a credential evaluation as soon as you decide that you will move to the U.S. or Canada.  

Once you receive a credential evaluation from WES, you can always sign into My Account and order extra copies of your report to be shared with specific recipients (such as a university’s admissions office or a prospective employer) when the need arises.  

Receiving your credential evaluation early can allow you to turn your attention to other important items on your to-do list, such as securing an appropriate visa, completing necessary language tests, and submitting applications to academic programs or employers. 

How long does it take for WES to complete a credential evaluation?  

The credential evaluation process begins once WES has received and verified all required documents. From this point, the process typically takes up to seven business days, although for Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) for immigration to Canada, the process can take up to 30 business days.

Read more: How Long Will It Take to Obtain a Credential Evaluation?


What are the advantages of getting a credential evaluation early? 

There are several advantages to receiving a credential evaluation early. Below are a few benefits to consider.  

Inform your research  

Obtaining a credential evaluation before you apply for academic programs or employment can help guide your efforts, as you will know at the outset how your current qualifications are viewed in the U.S. or Canada.  

From there, you can decide whether or not you need to undertake additional coursework or training before approaching a particular academic institution or employer.  

Save time and money 

We have heard many stories of internationally trained immigrants who did not receive a credential evaluation and made the mistake of repeating coursework or an educational level that was already equivalent to their current qualifications.  

You can imagine how much time and money could be wasted by making this mistake. Understanding the U.S. or Canadian equivalency of your international coursework and credentials will ensure that you select the most appropriate courses, programs, or training opportunities to further your education or career.  

Be prepared

Once you receive your credential evaluation, you will be prepared for new opportunities when they arise. Some applicants make the mistake of waiting until an academic institution or potential employer requests a credential evaluation. Having your credential evaluation report available when you need it will help you reach your career and education goals more quickly. 

You might also discover unexpected opportunities to use your credential evaluation report. For example, some international student scholarship applications may ask you to provide proof of your academic achievements. Having a credential evaluation report in hand could help the scholarship provider make an informed and fair decision.   

Start Your Credential Evaluation Early 

In short, your credential evaluation will be a valuable tool to help you reach your educational or professional goals in the U.S. or Canada. Our standard Document-by-Document and Course-by-Course evaluation reports do not have an expiration date. In fact, many applicants end up ordering extra copies of their reports as they continue to pursue new educational or career opportunities.

For those seeking immigration to Canada, it is important to note that ECAs are valid for five years from the date of issue. However, they can be renewed. To extend the validity of a WES ECA, applicants can sign into My Account and order an additional copy of the ECA for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This will extend the validity of the applicant’s ECA for an additional five years. 

Are you ready to take the next step toward reaching your goals? Prepare for your future with a WES credential evaluation today! 

Related Reading: 

How Long Will It Take to Obtain a Credential Evaluation
Get Started with Your WES Credential Evaluation

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.