Engineering is a regulated profession in Canada and requires a license from one of Canada’s provincial or territorial engineering regulators (see links in Section 5). With a license from a regulating body, you can call yourself an engineer and use the title for your specific engineering type. Canadian employers place a high value on the professional engineer (P. Eng.) designation and this can open many career options. The regulating bodies have five requirements that engineers must meet including an engineering degree. However, some jobs may require a master’s degree. If you’re an internationally educated engineer, learn more about job requirements, licensing requirements, job search techniques, and pre-arrival services to help you get ready to work in Canada.
How to Improve Your Chance to Work as an Engineer Before You Move to Canada?
Newcomers looking for jobs in Canada often discover that they struggle to find work in their chosen engineering type after they arrive. This is also true for engineers looking to get recognition for their international qualifications and gain Canadian work experience. However, there are steps that you can take before you move to Canada that can improve your chance to work and reduce the time it will take to get your engineering license:
- Attend the free webinar What to Know About the Canadian Job Market to gain an overview of labour market conditions.
- Contact the provincial regulatory body in the province or territory when you plan to settle in Canada to determine the:
- Process to obtain a license and the steps to take before and after you move to Canada
- Documents you will need to provide such as degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Ask if the documents need to be translated.
- Specific education credential assessment that they require.
- Gather and organize your official education, work, and identity documents while still in your home country.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- Improve your language skills to meet licensing requirements. Enroll in language classes while in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada.
- Understand how your profession is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with provincial laws and legislation that govern engineering in the province where you plan to settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
1. How to Get an Engineer License in Canada?
You need to apply directly to the appropriate regulatory body to become licensed to work in Canada. To learn about the specific licensing requirements, you can contact the provincial engineering body where you plan to settle and work in Canada. While licensing requirements may vary by province, you must meet these five requirements:
|Academic||Have obtained an engineering degree|
|Work experience||Have supervised work experience that shows your ability to apply engineering knowledge|
|Language||Have language competence in one of Canada’s two official languages|
|Character||Demonstrate truth, honesty, and trustworthiness|
|Professionalism & ethics||Have passed the Professional Practice Exam (PPE)|
The licensing process can be complex, But, you can take advantage of free pre-arrival services that can help you navigate the process and help you to make valuable connections.
Watch the video to get engineering and licensing tips:
2. Employment Outlook for Engineering Jobs in Canada
Canada employs engineers for construction and infrastructure and other specialized engineering projects. And these projects fuel the demand for talent from different engineering disciplines. Other factors that contribute to the labour demand include Canada’s economic performance and tight labour supply. As a result, engineers from around the world will play a vital role to meet Canada’s labour needs.
A report from Engineers Canada revealed that Canada will need to fill more than 100,000 engineer jobs by the end of 2025 as engineers retire and the economy grows. As the demand for engineers continues to be strong, immigration will be essential to fill positions.
To meet the growing need, Canadian universities are granting an increased number of degrees to international students. As well, the federal government’s Express Entry system is an example of a program intended to meet Canadian labour market needs for skilled workers.
What is Required to Work as Engineer in Canada?
Before you can work as an engineer in Canada, the provincial regulator must evaluate your engineering background before they will issue a license to practice. And, this can be a lengthy process. However, in some cases, you may be able to start the process before you arrive and connect with pre-arrival services to guide you. These vital steps can save you time, money, and effort.
Credentials Recognition for Engineering Jobs
Credential recognition is the process of verifying that your international education and credentials meet the high engineering standards in Canada. The provincial regulator can provide information about the documents you require as well as the cost and amount of time that it will take. It’s important to consider this information before you arrive in Canada so that you can decide if this is the path you want to follow.
You may be asked to submit some or all of the following:
- Original diplomas, degrees, transcripts, and the official program syllabuses or course descriptions
- Addresses of the schools where you obtained your engineering qualifications
- Employment and character references.
The provincial regulator will review your university background, assess your academic qualifications, and may assign an exam program to ensure that you meet all academic requirements. The assigned exams will be based on your claim discipline or specialty of intended work. Exams are held once or twice a year, depending on the jurisdiction. You can get the exam schedule to help you decide the best time for you to depart for Canada.
If you are an engineering technician or technologist, you do not require a license but rather require a certificate. In this case, the regulator may ask for a Technologist/Technician Certificate.
Once you understand the licensure process and what the regulatory body requires, you can begin your application process.
Credentials Assessment Services
If you plan to attend college or university in Canada to upgrade your skills, contact the school where you plan to study to see if they require an education assessment from a specific agency. Using the correct agency will save you time and money.
To find more organizations that provide credential evaluation, assessment, and qualification recognition services, click here.
Best Locations for Engineering Jobs in Canada
Career opportunities in Canada vary according to your engineering type, the industries in which you wish to work, and the province where you plan to settle. For example, electrical engineers can find plenty of jobs in Quebec and Ontario where there is a high volume of manufacturing activity. Chemical engineers are most in-demand in Western Canada where energy production is concentrated. Software and computer engineers are in high demand in almost all geographic regions given rapid technological changes and innovation.
The point is that demand can vary. So, it’s important to understand the labour market. Ideally, you want to identify where Canada has a need for your specific engineering type.
|Engineering Type||National Job Market Outlook|
Source: Job Bank Canada
|Engineering Managers||Job Prospects|
|Software Engineers||Job Prospects|
|Other Professional Engineers||Job Prospects|
Choosing a City
When looking for jobs, broaden your search beyond Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s gateway cities. While these cities may have a high number of jobs, they are also costly cities to live in. Consider if you prefer to live in a large, fast-paced city, or a small city. Many small and mid-sized cities in Canada want to attract newcomers to help grow their cities and economy. In addition, small cities can provide an employment advantage because the job market may be less competitive.
Housing in smaller cities also tends to be more affordable than in Canada’s largest cities. With lower housing costs, you can likely rent or buy a larger home for a more affordable cost. Finding a job in a city that offers affordable housing can greatly influence your economic success in Canada.
The point is, be sure to research where the greatest demand is for your engineering type and research cities to ensure they meet the needs of you and your family.
Major Employers for Engineering Jobs
Professional engineers can work at construction companies, manufacturing companies, public power generation and utility companies, mining companies, various levels of government, and consulting firms. Engineers can also be self-employed.
Companies are facing challenges in finding senior-level engineers. Though you might not get a senior-level job immediately, it’s good to start at a lower level and work your way up in the organization.
BCCA-IN can also help you to connect with employers all across Canada.
3. Skills Upgrading to Meet Engineering Job Requirements
To become licensed, you will have to complete an accredited program of study, supervised work experience, and a professional ethics exam. Skills upgrading courses and bridging programs can help you to obtain your license.
Employers in Canada expect engineers to have advanced math and science skills, strong communication and interpersonal skills, business writing and report writing skills, teamwork, critical thinking problem-solving, and project management skills. And while you likely possess strong technical skills, you may need training or skills upgrading to enhance your “soft skills”.
Soft skills can help you to get a job and successfully achieve your career goals. For example, in Canada, effective communication skills are essential and are as important as hard skills. And, if you are applying for a management position, soft skills are even more valuable than technical skills.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through school boards or settlement agencies.
There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better job opportunities.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some even want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D. or MBA.
Bridging Programs for Engineering Jobs
Bridge training programs help eligible immigrants to continue their engineering careers when they arrive in Canada. The programs “bridge” international experience and training with the requirements to work in Canada. Many colleges, universities, and settlement agencies offer free bridging programs that you may be eligible for.
Some programs offer general job search help while other programs offer engineering-specific language training, technical courses, and help to prepare to write the Professional Practice Exam. Some programs also provide the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience.
Explore some of the bridging programs to find one that’s suitable for you.
|Province||Organization & Program Website||Program Name|
|Alberta||Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)||Career Bridge Program|
|Alberta||Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN)||Job Ready Programming|
|Manitoba||University of Manitoba||Internationally Educated Engineers |
|Ontario||ACCES Employment||Engineering Connections|
|Ontario||Toronto Metropolitan University||Internationally Educated Engineers |
Qualification Bridging (IEEQB) Program
|Ontario||Ontario Society of Professional Engineers||Examination Skills Preparation for |
Internationally Trained Engineers
|Ontario||University of Toronto||Licensing International Engineers into the Profession Program (LIEP): Electrical|
|Ontario||University of Toronto||LIEP: Civil|
|Ontario||University of Toronto||LIEP: Mechanical|
4. Engineering Job Search Techniques
The Canadian job market is competitive, so you will need to prepare to find a job. It’s important to research jobs by province and local region and develop a plan to find work.
There are many ways to search for jobs including:
- Broadening your search and including alternative careers
- Seeking a mentor who could give you insight into Canada’s construction industry and introduce you to their network
- Joining job-finding or networking clubs through settlement agencies
- Attending job fairs and regularly checking online job boards.
You do not need a license to work in the many different professions within the field of engineering or applied science and technology. While you are in the process of obtaining your license, you may want to register as an engineer-in-training to receive guidance from the provincial regulatory body.
Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help with your job search. Most settlement agencies offer free services to help you:
- Find job vacancies
- Update your resume
- Write cover letters
- Prepare for interviews, and
- Understand what Canadian employers are looking for.
These services can help you to avoid the stress and anxiety of conducting your job search in Canada. Find out more about the free services that settlement agencies offer to newcomers here.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with someone who is currently working in the profession.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather learn more about the engineering profession in Canada. For example, you may want to learn more about trends, regulatory changes, or technology changes that are affecting the field.
An informational interview with a contact from your network can be a great source of engineer career information. In addition to getting information about the industry, you can benefit from their first-hand experiences working in the field in Canada.
Networking for Engineering Jobs
Networking is a vital activity to help you find job leads, gain professional advice, and expand your network. In Canada, many job vacancies are not advertised. Also known as the “hidden” job market, you can discover these jobs through networking with others. So, it’s helpful to connect and build relationships with others in your field who can help you discover these jobs. Good places to network include conferences, associations, and other settings.
LinkedIn is another vital tool for networking. Using LinkedIn, you can connect with former colleagues and employers, search for jobs, and get introductions to others. You can also join some relevant groups to learn more about engineering in Canada.
But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.
For Canadian-style resume templates, click here.
Interview Techniques for Engineering Jobs
Engineers work in dozens of fields, including aeronautics, biomedicine, manufacturing, chemicals, computers, and more. So how you prepare for your job interview will depend in part on your engineer type.
One way you can separate yourself from other job seekers is to create a work portfolio that you can take to interviews. Or, you can even share a link to your online portfolio with the interviewer ahead of time. This way, they can review your portfolio and you can discuss it during the interview.
Before your interview, you can prepare and practice responses to common interview questions. And, while it’s difficult to predict every interview question, here are some common questions that you can prepare to answer:
- Describe a major project that you worked on in your most recent position and what you did to ensure the project’s success.
- What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?
- Describe how you stay current on industry trends and developments. Respond by discussing professional associations that you belong to, trade publications that you read, or recent education that you completed.
- Describe a time when you confronted a problem that really tested your engineering know-how.
You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Use this chance to show your genuine interest in the job and the company. Prepare two or three questions to help you assess if this is your desired job, and company to work for. It will be helpful if you are current on recent research and information about your prospective employer when posing your questions. Here are some questions to consider:
- What new products or initiatives are on the horizon?
- How do you help your staff grow professionally?
- How would you describe the culture of the organization?
5. Engineering Associations in Canada
The associations listed below provide information about licensure and certification and offer professional development, education, and networking opportunities.
Engineers Canada: is the national organization that represents the 12 provincial and territorial engineering regulators in Canada.
Provincial and Territorial Regulators
Each province and territory has its own regulatory body to license engineers who meet professional standards, govern the practice, and integrate skilled immigrants. Regulators provide information about licensure and certification and offer professional training, education, and networking opportunities.
|Province or Territory||Regulating Body|
|Alberta||Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta|
|British Columbia||Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia|
|Manitoba||Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba|
|New Brunswick||Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Nova Scotia||Engineers Nova Scotia|
|Ontario||Professional Engineers Ontario|
|Prince Edward Island||Engineers PEI|
|Quebec||Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec|
|Northwest Territories and Nunavut||Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists|
These societies play a key role in helping engineers learn about new theories, advanced techniques, and modern equipment through conferences, seminars, and publications:
Professional immigrant networks are networks created by and for immigrant professionals. These networks and forums:
- Contribute to and enrich their respective communities
- Provide opportunities for members to find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals
These groups organize networking events, mentoring, information sessions, professional development opportunities, and connections to job opportunities.
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!