Prior learning assessment and  recognition Process

If you did not complete education and training which were approved by the College, the College will do an assessment to determine whether you have the minimum knowledge and skills to practice as a dietitian in Canada.

The College considers the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process to be a more fair and valid assessment of your dietetic knowledge and skills because it directly assesses what you currently know and can do, and it is not affected by factors outside of your control, like incomplete course descriptions or poor translations which may not fully reflect the content of your education and training.  In addition, the PLAR process provides a way for the College to recognize knowledge and skills that you gained after your degree through continuing education and practice, something that is not achievable in a paper-based credential assessment.

What is the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process

The PLAR process will directly assess your current knowledge and skills, compared to the national standards. It is made up of several steps:

Summary of the PLAR Process
Summary of the PLAR Process flow diagram

To be eligible for the PLAR process you must:

  • Have completed a degree reasonably related to dietetics, nutrition or food;
  • Have completed practical training in dietetics or demonstrate that your degree alone (without practical training) qualified you to practice in the country where the education institution is located;
  • Meet the minimum language proficiency requirement in English

Click here for instructions about how to apply for the PLAR process.

If you are deemed eligible for the PLAR process, the next step is the KCAT – a computer-based multiple choice exam designed to assess your knowledge as compared to the foundational knowledge and academic performance indicators in the national competencies.  Click here to view the KCAT Preparation Guide.

The KCAT is written once a year. The next opportunity to write the KCAT will be February 23, 2022, via an online, remote-proctored format.

Key Dates

Activity/Timeline Date
KCAT Administration February 23, 2022
Deadline for submitting complete Application (i.e. all required documents must be received by the College) January 21, 2022
Deadline to pay KCAT Fees  February 4, 2022
Deadline to request accommodations to write the KCAT January 21, 2022

Please start your application process early to ensure you meet the College's deadline dates.

Special Accommodations

If you have a disability, temporary disability, special condition, religious, or other reason that warrants a special accommodation to write the KCAT, you must request this in writing by the examination application deadline. The request must be from a regulated health professional, who is specialized in assessing individuals with the type of disability or special condition.

A request for accommodation related to breastfeeding or religious reasons does not require documentation from a regulated health professional or religious leader, respectfully, but a written request outlining the accommodation is required.

Please refer to Policy 6-20 Candidates Requiring Accommodations for the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Examinations for the complete procedure and process on requesting an accommodation.

Exam Format

  • Candidates will take the February 2022 KCAT from their personal computer via a remote-proctored process.
  • The KCAT is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam.
  • It is written over five hours and twenty minutes, divided into 2 two-hour parts (Part 1: 2 hours 45 minutes; Part 2: 2 hours 35 minutes) with a one-hour lunch break between Part 1 and Part 2.

Exam Outcome

Your results on the KCAT will determine your next steps:

KCAT Level I Result

This means that you demonstrated sufficient knowledge and competence to move to the next step in the process:

  • The Performance-Based Assessment (PBA);
  • Apply to a Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) accredited practicum program;
  • Apply to Ryerson University’s Internationally Educated Nutrition Professionals (IEPN) practicum program.

If you successfully complete an accredited practicum program in Canada or Ryerson’s IEPN practicum program after you have received a KCAT Level I result, you are eligible to write the national licensing exam (the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination).

NOTE: A Level I result on the KCAT does not guarantee admission to an accredited practicum program. Each practicum program has its own eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. For a complete list of accredited practicum programs in Canada click here. For more information on Ryerson's IEPN Program, click here

KCAT Level II Result

This means that you have demonstrated partial knowledge and competence. Your score reflects that there are some gaps in your knowledge and competence compared to the Canadian national standards. If you receive a Level II result, you have two options:

If you successfully complete the IEPN after receiving a Level II KCAT result, you are eligible to proceed to the PBA or apply to Ryerson’s IEPN practicum program.

NOTE: A Level II result on the KCAT does not guarantee admission to the Ryerson IEPN program. Ryerson has its own eligibility criteria for the IEPN program and may have limited enrolment.

KCAT Level III Result

This means that you did not demonstrate sufficient knowledge and competence. You are not eligible to complete the PBA or apply to the Ryerson University IEPN bridging program. You may rewrite the KCAT a maximum of three times as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements. You may wish to consider that your results identified significant gaps which may best be addressed by completing a Canadian accredited degree and accredited practical training program.

Technology Requirements

Candidates seeking to write the KCAT must meet these technological requirements:

  1. Access to a computer (desktop or laptop). This exam cannot be taken on a tablet or mobile device. Dual monitor configurations are not permitted.
  2. Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 is required. However, a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 or higher is recommended.
  3. External or built-in webcam. You must be able to move your webcam in order to show your surroundings.
  4. Strong and reliable high speed internet connection. At least 1 Mbps upload and 10 Mbps download (please click here to conduct a speed test to confirm your connection speed).
    • Hard wired Ethernet connection is strongly recommended to ensure the best exam experience and to reduce the risk of interruption to your internet connection (click here for more information on connecting to internet via Ethernet).
  5. Windows 8.1+ operating system.
  6. The latest version of Google Chrome.
  7. The latest version of Zoom Client for Meetings.
  8. Comfort with taking a virtual assessment.
  9. A quiet, private space with a table and chair to ensure confidentiality of exam.
    • Area must be clear of writing utensils, electronics, notes, etc. No additional people can be in the room.

This exam is available on a Windows Operating System only.

For any questions, please email

If the College determines that you have demonstrated appropriate foundational knowledge and competence related to the academic performance indicators of the national standards, you will move on to the PBA, which is a written and oral assessment designed to assess the competence of internationally educated applicants compared to the practicum-related performance indicators in the national competencies.  Click here to view the PBA preparation guide.

Your results on the PBA determine your next steps:

  • If you pass the PBA, you will be required to complete the College’s Jurisprudence Knowledge and Assessment Tool (JKAT), which is designed to improve your knowledge and application of laws, standards, guidelines and ethics relevant to the profession of dietetics in Ontario.
  • If you fail the PBA, you may re-take the PBA a maximum of three times, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.  You may choose to complete additional studies (formal or informal) to increase your knowledge and competence before attempting the PBA again.
Registration for the December 8, 2021 PBA has now closed. Once the date of the next PBA in 2022 is scheduled, the College will update our website information. We will also send an email to all eligible candidates, at the earliest available opportunity, so you may plan accordingly.

The JKAT is an online tool designed to improve your knowledge and application of laws, standards, guidelines and ethics relevant to the profession of dietetics in Ontario. The tool uses scenarios and multiple-choice questions to ensure that you can apply your jurisprudence knowledge to practical situations. References are provided online within the exam.

Once you have successfully completed the JKAT, you must submit an application for registration with the College of Dietitians of Ontario. The College will review your application to confirm that you have met all of the other registration requirements in order to confirm your eligibility to write the CDRE. When you are deemed eligible to write the CDRE, you will also be eligible for a Temporary Certificate of Registration, which will enable you to practice as a dietitian in Ontario while you await the results of the CDRE.

Canadian Standards for Dietetic Education and Training

The Partnership for Dietetics Education and Practice (PDEP) has developed the national competency standards for dietetics education and is the accrediting body approved by the College for Canadian dietetics education programs. 

The assessments in the PLAR process were designed to assess your knowledge and skills against the Integrated Competencies for Dietetics Education and Practice (ICDEP) and the accreditation standards. 

The College has developed a website to explain the minimum standards required for dietetic practice in Canada and to help you assess your current knowledge and skills against those standards.