Dual Credit Gives Students a Head Start

The Alberta government has made changes to the dual credit program to improve access for students and ensure the program is sustainable for the long term.

Minister Eggen with students at launch of Skills Canada Trades and Technology Week.

Dual credit programming allows students to earn credits for high school and post-secondary studies at the same time. This gives students the chance to explore their career options while still in high school. Recent changes to the dual credit program have improved access for students by giving school authorities predictable, sustainable funding to expand the program across the province.

“Students who are engaged in their learning are more likely to stay in school. Many students have said that dual credit has had a big impact on their decision to stay in school and that it has helped them get a head start on their post-secondary education and careers. In some instances, students have been able to complete post-secondary with less financial debt. Expanding dual credit to every corner of the province is a great example of how we are working to make life better.”

~David Eggen, Minister of Education

Since 2013, about 10,000 students have enrolled in at least one dual credit course each year. Dual credit programming contributes to improved high school completion rates and supports meaningful connections to the labour market through workplace experience and hands-on training.

“Getting involved in automotive technology while still in high school set me on a career path early on. This, combined with my involvement with Skills Canada competitions, has opened up many opportunities in my chosen field. This was a big boost for my career and has helped me advance quicker in my industry.”

~Aaron Taves, student, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

In May 2017, Alberta Education announced $16.4 million in funding for dual credit programming in Alberta. Following the announcement, Advanced Education, Education, Indigenous Relations, and Labour worked together to develop the Alberta Dual Credit Framework and the Dual Credit Implementation Guide. They provide school authorities with more support and direction to expand the dual credit program across the province.

“We want schools to be able to think long-term about dual credit and to develop learning opportunities that meet the needs of students, the community and the labour market. Dual credit remains one of the best ways for students to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to transition to post-secondary education or the workforce.”

~Barry Litun, executive director, College of Alberta School Superintendents

“Programs like dual credit help students to think about their future while still in high school. Linking them to potential careers early on helps develop an engaged workforce which, in turn, helps keep Alberta and Canada at the forefront of competitive advantage in global economies.”

~John Oates, president, Skills Canada

Quick facts

  • The Provincial Dual Credit Strategy (2013-17) was a call to action to school jurisdictions, post-secondary institutions, and business and industry to collectively expand and increase dual credit opportunities for students across Alberta.
  • Under the strategy, the Government of Alberta funded 51 dual credit opportunities. These opportunities were in addition to dual credit partnerships that already existed at the local level.
  • Evaluation of the strategy confirmed the need for a provincial implementation of dual credit. The new Alberta Dual Credit Framework will replace the strategy as the guiding provincial framework for dual credit in Alberta.