Taking First Steps Towards Recertification


Sajjad came from Pakistan to Calgary in May 2014 with his wife and three children. Back in Pakistan, he was a clinical psychologist working in schools, as well as within a private practise. Currently, he is working at Carya as a counselor.

When Sajjad first came to Calgary, he started volunteering at the Distress Centre on the phone crisis lines while applying for jobs. One day when Sajjad was taking his kids to school, someone at the school referred him to some contacts at DDRC. Sajjad got connect with the organization and found a midnight position that works with clients with disabilities. During this time, he also worked part time with a men’s program through Immigrant Services Calgary. Even though Sajjad was working in fields similar to counselling, he still wanted to get back into his own field and pursue his professional counseling license.

Eventually, Sajjad kept applying for counselling roles and eventually got a position at Carya as a counselor. At Carya, his manager and coworkers gave him invaluable advice and guidance regarding the counseling licensing process in Canada. This included registering with the college of Alberta registered psychologists, taking required classes, mock exams etc. The process eventually took him for 1.5 years to complete, including an IQAS equivalency assessment, 1600 hours of supervised counseling practise, and multiple written exams, before becoming a fully registered psychologist.

Some advice that Sajjad would give to newcomers to Canada: “Start researching before coming to Canada. Volunteering as a start is a great opportunity to network and talk to new people. You never know what opportunities will come out of it!”