Shereen Mir-Jabbar, Credentialling Officer and Communications Coordinator, Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators
“I started working in the credential evaluation field in 2011 at the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR). I did not know much about credential evaluation,
but I had heard of assessment agencies such as World Education Services, so I had some idea about the field and knew the importance of foreign credential recognition. I had stumbled upon a job ad for a Credentialling Officer position and was intrigued by the opportunity to learn about foreign educational systems and credentials and decided to apply. I was always interested in knowing more about different people and cultures and thought that learning about credential evaluation would give me further insight into how various cultures worked by understanding how different countries structure their educational systems.
“Prior to working in credential evaluation, I was working as an Outreach Liaison Specialist referring newcomers to Canada to settlement, employment, and language services. I also had volunteered as an Enhanced Language Training program mentor to newcomers in Canada, which meant that I had a lot of experience working with diverse populations that proved to be an advantage in helping me land my position at CAPR. Currently, as a Credentialling Officer, my job is to evaluate credentials from foreign-trained physiotherapists who wish to become licensed physiotherapists in Canada. This work is conducted on behalf of most of the physiotherapy regulatory bodies in Canada. Our role is to determine if an applicant’s credentials and other criteria make them eligible to take the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE) – an exam that involves a written and clinical component that CAPR also administers. Although I do not see engineering credentials or credentials from other fields, I see a lot of physiotherapy credentials from countries such as Australia, India, UK, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, The Philippines, and many more. What I like about my job is that no two cases are exactly alike, and even after working in my job for almost 8 years, I feel that there is always something new to learn.
“In 2015, I attended my first TAICEP conference in Toronto. I was excited to learn that there was an association just for credential evaluation professionals. I also met with others in the field who worked at universities and colleges and assessment agencies. As someone who works on behalf of physiotherapy regulators in Canada, I learned that a regulatory body’s approach to credentialling is somewhat different than other institutions. We do not evaluate grades or work on converting credits like a university or college would. On the other hand, I learned that there are commonalities that bind all credential evaluation professionals together, such as striving to ensure that credentials are issued by recognized institutions, determining the appropriate level of study, and ensuring the credentials received are authentic. Attending the TAICEP conference helped me understand the importance of different credentialling perspectives while providing me with the opportunity to network with professionals from around the world.
“After attending the 2015 TAICEP conference, I immediately signed up as a member. Out of all the conferences and workshops I attended, I felt that TAICEP was the most relevant to what I do on a day-to-day basis because of its emphasis on providing content specific to credential evaluation. At CAPR, we are currently using the tips we learned at TAICEP to build a better resource library, and I have personally used TAICEP resources found in conference presentations or the verification database on the TAICEP website to help me with assessing credentials.
“Simply being a TAICEP member wasn’t enough for me; I felt that I had more to contribute to this association. In early 2017, I received an email from TAICEP about an opportunity to join a new Marketing and Communications Committee. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications and was excited for the opportunity to merge my current profession with my background and interest in communications. Once I replied with an enthusiastic “yes”, a few months later I become the chair of the committee and haven’t looked back since! As Chair of TAICEP’s Marketing and Communications Committee, I learned how to use email marketing programs and became social media savvy while improving my leadership skills. As I diligently continued in my role as a Credentialling Officer, CAPR was working on a strategic plan that included a stronger emphasis on stakeholder engagement which involved more communications efforts than we had done in the past. I asked for an opportunity to work in a communications role alongside my current credentialling role and highlighted the work I was doing at TAICEP to improve its marketing and communications efforts. A few months later I was offered the opportunity to become a Credentialling Officer and Communications Coordinator with 50% percent of my time dedicated to each role. It’s been over a year since my role change, and I am enjoying my dual career in credential evaluation and communications. I am grateful for the opportunity TAICEP has provided me to excel in my career.”
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