Classification of highest educational attainment


Educational attainment implies a hierarchy of educational credentials; however, in a number of instances, the levels are not entirely hierarchical when comparing programs across different types of institutions.

While the categories of this classification represent Canadian awards and qualifications, this standard does not exclude equivalent qualifications obtained from accredited educational institutions or government bodies in other countries.

The categories in this classification pertain to attainment of the highest grade completed or the highest certificate, diploma or degree obtained. Accordingly, the definitions indicate 'highest attainment' or 'highest' in brackets. Where 'highest' or 'highest attainment' appears in brackets in the category name, it may be omitted when the context provides clarification.

Where 'College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma' appears in brackets in the category name, it may be omitted when the context provides clarification.

For the purposes of this classification, persons who obtained trades qualifications from secondary-level vocational training programs in the province of Quebec, such as the Diplôme d'études professionnelles/Diploma of Vocational Studies (DEP/DVS), are included in the category 'Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma.' If they are to be included in the category 'Secondary (high) school diploma or equivalent (highest attainment)' in the data presentation, then the 'Classification of highest educational attainment -- variant for alternate reporting' should be used.

The category 'Some postsecondary education (highest)' includes persons who have received some education that can be counted towards a postsecondary qualification but have not received any postsecondary qualification. The Classification of highest certificate, diploma or degree refers only to the highest education program successfully completed. As a result, categories of the two classifications below the level of completed postsecondary qualifications are not directly comparable.

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