English Language Proficiency

In order to be registered as a dietitian or nutritionist in Alberta, you must be able to show proficiency in English. This means the College must be satisfied you can read, write, listen and speak in English at a level that allows you to practice dietetics safely.

What is language proficiency?

“Language proficiency” is the ability to communicate and comprehend effectively, both orally and in writing, in the English language. The College reviews your evidence and determines whether or not you meet the language proficiency criteria to practice dietetics in Alberta.

Applicants must provide documentation demonstrating language proficiency prior to being eligible for assessment. All evidence supporting language proficiency must have been completed in the last three years for your complete application to be reviewed by the Registration Committee of the College (This timeframe may be extended by the Registration Committee; see below for details).

Meeting the language proficiency requirement

Most applicants to the College meet the language proficiency requirement in one of three ways:

  1. By completing a dietetics program in Alberta, Canada or North America where:
    • Theory and clinical instruction were provided in English
    • The primary language of the educational institution was English
    • The program was not an online or distance education program
  2. By holding current registration:
    • With the College (or having held registration within the last three years) in the general, temporary, or courtesy registers
    • With another dietetic regulatory body in Canada (or having held registration within the last three years), in an equivalent practicing class
  3. By achieving the required benchmark scores on one of the language proficiency tests approved by the College.

Applicants who cannot demonstrate language proficiency through their dietetic program, registration status, or a recent language proficiency test must provide other evidence of language proficiency.

Language proficiency is also determined through the College Competency Assessment. If concerns with language proficiency are raised during the Competency Assessment, the Registration Committee of the College may require the applicant to complete English language upgrading. The College reserves the right to require at any time completion of an approved English language test to meet the English Language Proficiency requirement for registration.

Indicators for language proficiency

All evidence of language proficiency that applicants submit to the College must demonstrate the following:

  • Currency – the evidence must be recent and show the applicant is proficient in English
  • Comprehensiveness – the evidence must show the applicant can communicate and comprehend effectively in English, at the level required for dietetic practice, in reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Application – the evidence must show the applicant can communicate in English, taking into consideration how the applicant uses their communication skills and the context in which the communication takes place.

Accepted language proficiency tests

Applicants can meet the language proficiency requirement by achieving the minimum scores for one of the following tests.

Applicants must achieve the test scores for all test components during one complete attempt of the test. The College will not accept scores from a mix of different tests or from more than one attempt at one test.

Visit the examination websites below to learn more about testing locations and times, fees and re-takes.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The College only accepts results for the iBT Test.

Test Component TOEFL Minimum Scores
Writing 21
Speaking 26
Listening 21
Reading 21


International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The College only accepts results for the Academic Test.

Test Component IELTS Minimum Scores
Writing 7.0
Speaking 7.5
Listening 7.0
Reading 7.0