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Life Experience Equivalency Process

In the past, Alberta Children and Youth Services has certified child care professionals based only on the applicant's education or training credentials. However, many certified child development assistants have advanced their skills on the job and through staff development courses, which may place them at the equivalent level of taking Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) college certificate programs. So Alberta Children and Youth Services developed LEEP to allow child development assistants to demonstrate they have the competencies to advance to child development worker certification without taking a college certificate program.

LEEP from assistant to certified development worker

You'll begin by applying at the Bow Valley College's Office of the Registrar. They'll send materials and information about the contents of the exam to help you prepare. You then have three to six months in which to take the exam.

Six Alberta colleges, including Bow Valley College, have partnered to develop a LEEP challenge process. Anyone currently certified as a child development assistant can apply to be certified as a child development worker by following these three steps:

  1. Successfully complete an ELCC two-part challenge exam and gap analysis. Additional courses will be required to fill any gaps identified. 
  2. Successfully complete a Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS) rating observation. This includes an integrative assignment that may include written and oral components, and a practicum.
  3. Submit the original documents from the challenge exam and the CIS observation to the Child Care Staff Certification Office:

6th Floor Sterling Place
9940 - 106 Street NW
Edmonton AB T5K 2N2

If you successfully complete the documents, you will receive your a child development worker qualification certificate.


$900 plus a $65 registration fee, a cost that's been subsidized by Alberta Human Services. Students must purchase their own materials and textbooks.

CIS - $150.

If you take additional courses that are identified in the gap analysis, you will need to pay the tuition for each course.


 Watch a video explanation of the LEEP process: