Five questions to ask yourself to reach your career advancement goals in Canadian health care as an immigrant or refugee

Published May 2, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In summary:
  • Health care is one Canada’s biggest employment sectors, and skilled immigrants and refugees have unlimited opportunities to grow their careers in the Canadian health care system.
  • With your in-demand skills, it’s important to develop a career development plan and ask yourself questions about where you want to go in your health-care career.
  • Ensure your plan accounts for unexpected challenges and you revisit your strategy frequently to determine when it’s time to pivot or identify new goals.

Health care is Canada’s second largest sector behind retail businesses. Employment growth in the Canadian health care system is projected for diverse roles from nursing to doctors to medical technicians and dental hygienists. According to Windmill Microlending’s Trending Jobs Report, health care career opportunities can be found in almost every part of the country.

With health care skills so in demand, skilled immigrants and refugees are in an enviable position. Health care labour shortages are expected to continue in Canada, which means new Canadian health care professionals need to carefully consider what career success looks like to them. They need a strong career plan to define their paths forward and future professional goals and aspirations. This is important because there will be no shortage of health care employment opportunities available to them.

Want to find more helpful resources on how to become a doctor, nurse or other health care professional in Canada? Visit our Career Success and Planning Centre for downloadable tools designed for skilled immigrants and refugees.

We connected with Trina Stanford and Emily Worthen from the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) to share their advice on the key questions to ask yourself as you develop your career success plan in health care.

Question 1: How well do you know yourself?

Reflect on understanding your own unique talents, skills and abilities. Learn to highlight your competencies clearly and concisely. Understand your situation and make a realistic plan that aligns with your short and long-term outlook for yourself and your family. Envision your career in the future and consider the skills you’ll need to succeed in your field. Fill any gaps by upskilling or pursuing additional training, bridge programs or professional development courses.

Question 2: What is my preferred future in health care? Do I want to continue in the same stream and position I left, or do I want to pivot to a new career entirely or stay within the health care landscape in a new role?

You should begin career planning as soon as possible. Before you arrive in Canada, it’s important to understand the landscape of the Canadian health-care sector and credential requirements. The more time you take to do your research, the smoother your transition will be. This is part of your career planning. It will help you navigate the steps needed, establish support networks and provide a clearer path to your desired future.

Question 3: What are the requirements for credential assessment and licensing for my field in Canada? What are the costs and the timelines? Am I able to sustain myself and/or my family while pursuing this option?

Make a plan for completing your accreditation while working an intermediary job or a position in another area of health care. Find out from regulatory bodies in your province or educational institutions, where you are thinking of studying, the length of time, tuition costs and number of qualifying exams you’ll have to complete to get your credentials recognized or up to Canadian standards of practice. This may take more than a year, but it can be done. Ensure you’ve looked at your budget to understand what costs you can absorb and looked into financial supports available to you.

Question 4: Who can I talk to or network within my new city or community? Who can offer me career guidance and mentorship?

Build an effective network of people, organizations, and contacts via Linkedin, professional networking events and other social media channels. Your professional network can open doors, offer mentorship and provide advice and support during your career journey in Canada.

Question 5: Do I have the tools I need to find work in Canada?

Ensure you have the right tools to succeed, such as local labour market knowledge, an up-to-date Canadian-style resume, confidence in your interview skills and an active social media presence that can highlight your experience and education in a way the Canadian market recognizes.

Even with a strong career success plan, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. Ensure you’ve developed contingency plans if things don’t go exactly how you envision – which is very likely. What if you fail a qualifying exam? What if you can’t land a job in your field? It’s essential to be flexible in your career planning and prepare for the unexpected.

It is suggested to keep an eye on changing demographics, new technologies and government policy changes and to make informed choices regarding your career plans. Revisit or reflect on your plan after each action step. Each action taken will further inform your next step and help define your goals for the next stage of your career development.

The Canadian Career Development Foundation offers diverse tools and resources to help professionals plan their career. You can find those here.

If you are an internationally-educated health care professional looking to become a doctor, nurse or other health care professional in Canada, an affordable loan from Windmill Microlending can help you unlock your potential. A Windmill microloan of up to $15,000 can be used to pay for accreditation, education, training, cost of living while you study and professional development courses in your new country. Find out all the uses of a Windmill low-interest loan here.

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Accreditation and Licensing, In-demand Jobs,