It is recommended that the second (special) student category be removed as a pathway to licensure.

The current Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act (The EGP Act) provides for two categories of student:

1. Individuals enrolled in a full-time program at a university in Alberta leading to an undergraduate degree in engineering or geoscience

2. Individuals who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering or geoscience but who have at least two years of post-secondary education relating to engineering or geoscience.

This paper addresses the second category of student (referred to as "special student" for the purposes of this paper).

Individuals with only two years of post-secondary education are eligible to apply to APEGA for registration as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) or Professional Geoscientist ( P.Geo.). However, without degrees in engineering or geoscience, they are typically deficient in a large number of courses and are enrolled as special students. The Board of Examiners (BOE) may assign up to 24 exams for engineering and up to 30 exams for geoscience. These exams are administered internally by APEGA.

This special student category is unique to Alberta. No other province or territory in Canada has this category.

This special student category has existed since 1981, prior to the introduction of the Professional Licensee (P.L.) and Professional Technologist (P.Tech.) designations. The P.L. and P.Tech. designations currently allow individuals without undergraduate degrees in engineering or geoscience to obtain a license to practice a specific scope of engineering or geoscience. Given this alternate pathway to licensure, the special student category is no longer necessary.

Few individuals who are in this special student category of membership complete the examinations. It is resource intensive for the BOE to evaluate the qualifications of these individuals and for APEGA to administer the corresponding examinations. These resources could be better used by increasing our capacity to evaluate the qualifications of foreign-trained individuals with engineering and geoscience degrees.

The special student category should be removed from the legislation.

The P.Tech. designation is available for individuals with at least two years of post-secondary education in areas relating to engineering or geoscience and would include individuals who fall within the current special student category. Please refer to the separate policy paper entitled Licensee for a detailed discussion.

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