Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Applications


What is a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

The Prior Learning Assessment (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.


Please see descriptions and examples below to determine which application (Waive or Equivalency) fits your specific reason to apply for a PLA.


Please note that PLA Applications must be approved prior to registration. PLA applications can take up to 3 weeks to be reviewed by CAA Staff- please allow yourself plenty of time to submit your application prior to your course registration date.



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.

Example 1: The CAA Introduction to Weather course is a required prerequisite for applying to the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 program. You have taken a similar mountain meteorology course in the past and would like to apply to waive the CAA Introduction to Weather prerequisite to apply for the Level 2.

Example 2: An Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1) course is a required prerequisite to register for the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 course. You have taken a similar avalanche course in a different country and would like to apply to waive the AST 1 prerequisite to register for the Level 1.


CLICK HERE to access PLA WAIVE Application Information



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 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.

An Equivalency PLA is a much more difficult argument to make and will likely require a combination of a learning portfolio, references, sample documentation, and a skills evaluation.

1 DACUMs can be found under the 'Program Goals' tab of the specific course under the Training tab of the CAA website.

Example 1: You have taken a professional-level avalanche course in a different country and have worked full-time as a ski patroller for two seasons, but your new employer in Canada requires you to have the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 Certificate to work at their operation. Therefore, you are applying for an Avalanche Operations Level 1 course equivalency based on experience and training.

Example 2: You would like to become a member of the CAA and have professional-level qualitifications from another organization that are similar to the Avalanche Operations Level 2. Therefore, you are applying for an Avalanche Operations Level 2 course equivalency based on your training. 


CLICK HERE to access PLA EQUIVALENCY Application Information



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