Accreditation of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in British Columbia-and across Canada--is carried out by several independent organizations. The most important are:
Another form of quality assurance is membership in national associations. For example, the Canadian Association of Private Language Schools (CAPLS) is a national organization representing English and French private language schools across Canada. They do not offer official accreditation, but institutions from all provinces can become members of CAPLS. All member institutions must adhere to certain regulations and standards of quality.
Accreditation of ESL programs in British Columbia may also depend on the kind of school offering them. For instance, career colleges often offer ESL programs, and these schools must be registered and licensed by the provincial education ministry. A private career college may choose to become a member of an external association, such as the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), and each province also has an association: in British Columbia it is PCTIA (private career Training Institutions Agency of BC). As well, career colleges may be accredited by the Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission (CETAC).
Accreditation means the school's programs have been evaluated by an external organization, and are delivered by qualified faculty and are up-to-date. A credential from an accredited school or program can help make you more competitive on the job market, and will protect you from scams and substandard instruction.