Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Application
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All Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) applications are submitted online via links on this page. To submit a PLA application you need to have already created an account on our website.


What is a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

The PLA is a process that allows individuals to identify, document, have assessed and gain recognition for their prior learning. The learning may be formal, informal, non-formal, or experiential.The PLA process provides a template for determining whether an applicant has the training and experience necessary to: 

  1. Have a CAA course prerequisite waived; or
  2. Have that training recognized as course equivalency.

Waiving a Prerequisite

This process is used when a candidate has sufficient training and/or experience to request exemption from a particular prerequisite for a CAA course. In the case of a progression of courses, this process can be used to skip a level and move into the more advanced course. Candidates should have an adequate amount of experience and training in the avalanche industry and be able to demonstrate proficiency in the target prerequisite and/or course's learning goals and objectives.

Course Equivalency

This process is used when a candidate has sufficient career accomplishments, educational, and/or professional experience to earn a CAA course certificate without attending the course. Supporting evidence must contain a minimum of 80% of the course goals and learning objectives described in the DACUM1 for the current CAA curriculum.

In the case where another course is being used for supporting evidence, course equivalency is defined as follows: Course "A" is equivalent to CAA course "B" if, and only if, course "A" satisfies all program requirements that CAA course "B" satisfies - serving exactly the same purpose with respect to content delivery including examination, general education or program requirements.

Demonstration of non-course-based prior learning can also be used to generate an argument for course credit. This is a much more difficult argument to make and will likely require a combination of a learning portfolio, references and a skills evaluation.

1 Can be found in Student Resources under the Training tab of the CAA website.

PLA Application Considerations

Applicants will need to take time and care in the preparation of their PLA application. Please review the following documents BEFORE you begin preparing your application:

  1. Read this webpage entirely.
  2. Read "What is a DACUM is and why it is important".
  3. Look at the CAA course goals and objectives (DACUM) of the course which you are seeking to waive or gain equivalency for.
  4. Read completely the PLA Self-Assessment Form(see below) before completing it.

What if I want to register for a course but need to do a PLA for a prerequisite?

If you are applying to a PLA for a prerequisite you can register for the course to hold a course spot prior to the PLA being reviewed. HOWEVER, your PLA must be submitted when you register. During course registration it will ask for a certificate of the prerequisite; at this time upload a word document saying you have applied for the PLA. If the course is happening soon please call the CAA office and notify the ITP Manager so your PLA can be processed quickly.

If your PLA application is not accepted then you must either withdraw from the course (receiving a refund) or register for the prerequisite course to be completed before the initial course you wished to take.

Note: The Level 2 and Level 3 programs require applicants to be accepted into the program before being allowed to register for courses. You can submit a program application concurrently with a PLA application. This means your program application can be reviewed at the same time as your PLA application. Note in your program application cover letter that you have applied for a PLA.


Reference Information

Each PLA application is required to be accompanied by a PLA reference. (The only exception is if you are applying to have the Avalanche Skills Training(AST) Level 1 prerequisite waived; no reference letter is required.)

After completing the self-assessment contact a CAA professional member to act as a reference for your application. This person should be familiar with your avalanche related experience AND have completed the  CAA course you are applying to waive/for equivalency.

You will need to provide them with your self-assessment along with the CAA course DACUM. It is their role to review your self-assessment and assess whether you have achieved the minimum proficiencies. They must complete the online CAA Professional Member PLA reference form (right click to share link) found in the Members Only section of the CAA website. All references are confidential.

If you do not know a CAA professional member who has taken the course and that can act as your reference then please do the following:

  • Find a qualified person who understand the goals and learning objectives outlined in the CAA course DACUM you wish to waive/have equivalency for.  
  • Provide them with your self-assessment, the CAA course DACUM and the link to the online Non-CAA Professional Member PLA reference form (right click for link).
  • Follow up with your reference person to make sure they have completed the online reference form.

It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure their reference letter has been submitted.

Before you begin your online application please have the following information ready:

  • A brief statement with your rationale for waiving of a course prerequisite or seeking equivalency.
  • A self-assessment following the example in the self-assessment form. Included with this is any supporting evidence you wish to submit.

Note: As these are Word documents you must download/open to view.

  • Have payment, credit card, ready for the PLA application fee. Fees:
    • Courses 4 days or less (AST 1 & 2, Introduction to Weather, AvSAR Advanced Skills, AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment, Level 2 Module 1): Waive: $30   Equivalency: $132
    • Courses greater than 4 days (Level 1, Level 2 module 2 or 3, Level 2 (entire program), Level 3, Mapping): Waive: $60    Equivalency: $290

Submit Application Online:

To apply for a PLA please click on the link below that applies to you. Be sure to have read this webpage thoroughly and have the necessary documents ready.

You can not save an application submission and return to complete it later. You must complete the application in order to save and submit the information.




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