FAQ for Applicants

ATTENTION ASPB APPLICANTS
You must create an account in order to apply to ASPB and pay applicable application fees before your application will be reviewed. WE DO NOT PRE-SCREEN APPLICATIONS - YOU MUST APPLY AND PAY FEES IN ORDER FOR YOUR APPLICATION TO BE ASSESSED. Also, please read the " Quick Start Information Sheet " complete with screen-shots of the application process.

PLEASE NOTE: The average turn around time for an application has been around 6 months. This includes receiving all documentation, to review, to a decision. You can check the status of your application on your profile at anytime.  We will contact you if information is missing from your application, or when  a decision has been made.

Once we have received all the necessary documentation, it can take  a few months to review your application. We will contact you if information is missing from your application, or when  a decision has been made.

For those applying for Professional Biologist or Registered Biologist status: if you wish an efficient review, ensure you read through the FAQ page and follow direction provided, especially when providing information about your experience in the practice of biology. The best way to delay your application is to copy and paste your resume to your application and provide very little detail about what you have been doing.

Click on the topic area or questions you want answered, or you can scroll down to browse them all. You can also check out the Become a Member pages for more information.

You may also want to check out the How to Become a Member presentation, you can access that HERE .

Protecting your documents

NOTICE TO APPLICANTS

Effective January 1, 2016, any applicant documentation received by the Society which is not linked to a current, paid-in-full application will be destroyed after 90 days.

At the ASPB, we are committed to the security of our Applicant and Member information. As such, we are obligated to take care of personal information under our custody – but only when we are given complete consent by the individual submitting it to our organization. Without complete consent, however, we are not authorized to retain documentation within our files.

Complete consent occurs only when an application has been submitted and paid for in full. Applicants have a 90-day window to collect and submit all required information and records.

(For example, if you submitted documentation prior to October 1, 2019, and it is not linked to a submitted and paid-for application, it will be destroyed by January 31, 2020.)

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Applications

NO REFUNDS or transfers on cancellations of application to join or application for reclassification.

Membership Fees

NO REFUNDS or transfers on cancellations of ASPB Membership.

Applying to become a Student Member

  1. Why should I join as a Student Member?
  2. How can I become a Student Member?

Academic Requirements for Professional Biologist or Biologist-in-Training

  1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?
  2. What if I am already a BIT - do I need to resubmit my transcripts?
  3. My degree is not called a biology degree (e.g., environmental science, renewable resources). What other degrees are considered to be equivalent to a biology degree?
  4. My degree was obtained from outside Canada – what do I need to do?
  5. I have a number of courses that are not from the university’s Department of Biology. Can they count as a biology course?
  6. Can an independent study course count towards the required 15 biology courses?
  7. My degree is based on a two-year transfer program from a college (e.g., Lethbridge College, Olds College). Can I still meet the academic qualifications for a BIT or P Biol?
  8. What courses from the University of Alberta qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?
  9. What courses from the University of Lethbridge qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?
  10. What courses from the University of Calgary qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?
  11. What courses from Concordia University of Edmonton qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?
  12. I graduated from Lethbridge College's Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Ecosystem Management - does that count for the academics required for BIT and P Biol?
  13. What university programs have been accredited by the ASPB as meeting the academic requirements for membership ?

Academic Requirements for Registered Technologist in Biology

  1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?

Academic Requirements for Registered Biologist-in-Training

  1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?

Experience Requirements for Professional Biologist and Registered Biologists

  1. What type of experience do I need to become a P Biol or R Biol?
  2. What is the practice of biology?
  3. What information about my experience should I include in my application?
  4. I have a postgraduate degree. Does that change how much experience I need to have?
  5. Does work experience between the time I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and before I started my graduate degree count?
  6. I worked while I was doing my postgraduate degree. Does that experience count?
  7. Do I need to obtain the experience while I am a BIT or RBIT, or can I apply directly to become a P Biol or R Biol if I already have experience?
  8. I completed biological work experience prior to and during my undergraduate degree. Does that experience count?

References Requirements for Professional Biologist and Registered Biologists

Where and when do I send in my transcripts?

ANSWERS FOLLOW

Applying to become a Student Member

1. Why should I join as a Student Member?

Becoming a Student Member of the ASPB is the first step in a career in biology and shows employers your dedication to your profession. Participating in ASPB activities, such as professional development workshops, helps broaden a biologist’s skills. It provides opportunities to meet other members of the ASPB, which can form the basis for a biologist’s lifetime network of professional colleagues.

Student members receive regular communications from the ASPB. Monthly electronic bulletins and a regularly published magazine serve to keep members up to date on professional development opportunities, member benefits and advancements within the Society. Students receive discounts on professional development opportunities as well as a member discounts from our partners. The ASPB maintains an electronic job board where employers post notices of jobs available in the field of biology.

2. How can I become a Student Member?

Anyone who is enrolled in full-time degree program with a major in biological sciences in a Canadian university is welcome to join the ASPB. The ASPB also accepts student members from related degree programs, such as environmental science, if graduates from that program have the necessary academic requirements to become Biologists in Training (BIT).

The membership of the ASPB approved an amendment to the bylaws that allow students in an approved diploma program to become a student member. Currently, the following programs have been accepted:
- NAIT: Biological Sciences, Renewable Resources, and Lab and Research
- Lethbridge Community College: Renewable Resources Management and the Ecosystem Management Degree program
- Lakeland College at Vermillion: (Environmental Sciences Diploma) Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Major and Conservation and Restoration Ecology (CARE)

You do not need to submit transcripts to apply for student membership. When your full time schooling is done and your degree/diploma has been conferred, you will need to apply for the Biologist in Training or Biological Technologist in Training membership categories. You cannot stay as a student member once you have graduated.

Academic Requirements for Professional Biologist or Biologist in Training

1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?

To be accepted, an applicant’s university transcripts must show that the applicant has a four year degree in a biological science (which includes fields such as botany, zoology, microbiology, and environmental biology) from a Canadian university, or equivalent.

The transcripts must show that the degree has been granted/conferred or they will not be accepted. The transcripts must come from the educational institution directly to ASPB.

NEW - the registration committee will count biology courses - you must have 15 biology courses, 4 at the senior level, in order to be accepted as a member. No longer will an undergraduate degree in biology be accepted unless it meets the requirements stated above.

2. What if I am already a BIT - do I need to resubmit my transcripts?

If you are a biologist in training in good standing in ASPB, you do not need to resubmit your transcripts when applying to become a Professional Biologist.

3. My degree is not called a biology degree (e.g., environmental science, renewable resources). What other degrees are considered to be equivalent to a biology degree?

The Registration Committee considers that a degree is equivalent to a biology degree if it includes:

  • 25 full-semester science courses, of which
  • 15 of the courses are in a biological science, and
  • at least 4 of the biological science (i.e., biology) courses are at a senior level (e.g., 300 or 400 level from some universities; other universities number them 3000 and 4000).
4. My degree was obtained from outside Canada – what do I need to do?

Non-Canadian transcripts must be accompanied by a specialized International Qualifications Assessment Service assessment. Information can be found HERE. A specialized IQAS assessment is required, as the basic assessment does not provide sufficient information for the registration committee to accurately evaluate the equivalency of post secondary course work. If a basic assessment is submitted, we will request that you submit a specialized one.

World Education Services (WES) assessments are also accepted, given the Comprehensive Course-by-Course Report is requested. 

5. I have a number of courses that are not from the university’s Department of Biology. Can they count as a biology course?

It depends on the content of the course. There must be at least 50% biological content studied in the course. Once your file has been reviewed, you will be contacted if we need additional information in order to determine if you meet the academic requirements. Do not submit this information in advance of your application.

If you are contacted to provide further information, you will be asked to provide:

  • evidence from the university that the course is equivalent to a course in biology;
  • evidence from a third party evaluation service that a college course is equivalent to a university level course;
  • the university calendar’s course description for the course; and
  • the course outline and description of course assignments.
6. Can an independent study course count towards the required 15 biology courses?

Yes, an independent study course can count if it is considered by the Registration Committee to be biological in nature. Applicants who would like an independent study course to count towards the academic requirements should submit information about the course (e.g., the report that was prepared) to demonstrate its biological content.

7. My degree is based on a two-year transfer program from a college (e.g., Lethbridge College, Olds College). Can I still meet the academic qualifications?

NEW - Your transcript must show 15 university-level biology courses. This can be either courses taken at the university, or courses from the college which the university notes on the transcript as equivalent to a biology course. The Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer has information on its website that shows how universities credit courses from colleges:

http://alis.alberta.ca/ps/tsp/ta/tbi/onlinesearch.html

You must be able to demonstrate that the college course was considered a university level biology course.

8. What courses from the University of Alberta qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?

The Registration Committee of the ASPB has compiled a document outlining courses that have been accepted by the Committee - this is not an exhaustive list but can be used as a guide to show what courses are considered biology; please download the document from here: U of A course acceptance v2016 09 29.pdf

9. What courses from the University of Lethbridge qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?

The Registration Committee of the ASPB has compiled a document outlining courses that have been accepted by the Committee- this is not an exhaustive list but can be used as a guide to show what courses are considered biology; please download the document from here: U of L course acceptance v2016 02 04-1.pdf

10. What courses from the University of Calgary qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?

The Registration Committee of the ASPB has compiled a document outlining courses that have been accepted by the Committee- this is not an exhaustive list but can be used as a guide to show what courses are considered biology; please download the document from here: U of C course acceptance v 2016 02 04.pdf

11. What courses from Concordia University of Edmonton qualify as biological courses for the ASPB?

The Registration Committee of the ASPB has compiled a document outlining courses that have been accepted by the Committee- this is not an exhaustive list but can be used as a guide to show what courses are considered biology; please download the document from here: Concordia University of Edm acceptance v 2016 01.pdf

12. I graduated from Lethbridge College's Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Ecosystem Management - does that count for BIT?

The four year degree program from Lethbridge College is recognized by the Alberta government as a four year Bachelor's degree. The Practice Review Committee of the ASPB reviewed the course outlines and determined it meets the academic requirements for a Biologist in Training and Professional Biologist designations.

13. What university programs have been accredited by the ASPB as meeting the academic requirements for membership ?

Lethbridge College: Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Ecosystem Management

King's University - 4 year Bachelor of Science, Biology Major

Academic Requirements for Registered Biologist or Registered Biologist-in-Training

1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?

Registered Biologists and Registered Biologist-in-Training must hold an undergraduate and/or graduate degree(s) from a Canadian university, or equivalent. The Registration Committee considers a university degree is equivalent to a biology degree if it includes 25 science courses, of which 12-14 are in the biological sciences, and where four or more of the biological science courses are at a senior level (i.e., third or fourth-year).

 

Academic Requirements for Registered Technologist in Biology

1. What are the academic qualifications needed to become a member?

A Registered Technologist in Biology must have a two year diploma from a post-secondary institution. The diploma must contain at least eight biology/ecology courses, applied science courses, and at least one communications and one statistics course.

A listing of college programs that have been reviewed can be found here: https://www.aspb.ab.ca/registered-technologist-in-biology

Experience Requirements for Professional Biologist and Registered Biologists

1. What type of experience do I need to become a P.Biol. or R. Biol.?

An applicant must have three years of experience in the practice of biology within the previous ten years.  Generally, the experience clock starts upon meeting the academic requirements for membership, usually from when the degree is granted.

2. What is the practice of biology?

The Professional Biologists Regulation defines “practice of biology” as:

  • inventorying, surveying, sampling, interpreting, reporting, evaluating and advising on activities related to biological sciences;
  • preparing, administering and implementing plans or programs for managing biological resources;
  • conducting research activities related to biological sciences; and
  • teaching biological sciences at a university, college or technical institute.

The key is to demonstrate that your work was BIOLOGICAL. Work such as soil and water sampling, or managing environmental programs that focus on emissions inventories is not considered biological, unless you can explain your tasks as they relate to the interaction with living organisms.

Your work should also include a range of the activities. For example, only doing inventory work does not provide a sufficient breadth of practice. However, designing, undertaking and preparing reports related to the inventory work would demonstrate a wider range of experience. 

 

3. What information about my experience should I include in my application?

Your application to become a P.Biol. or R. Biol. is not the same thing as a job application! You must complete the application form that can be downloaded when you apply. The application must be worded to show exactly what you did to obtain the experience and how that work meets the requirements specified in our regulations. Do not say you participated in a project, but be specific as to your role. Use verbs like: collected, developed, designed, directed, enforced, handled, improved, implemented, observed, presented, reported, solved, and trained.

Common problems encountered with applications are:

  • The length of time, and when, the experience was gained are not clear. Avoid this problem by providing information about when, and for how long, you were involved in the tasks that you are using to provide evidence of your experience.
  • The role of the applicant in a specific task is unclear. For instance, the Registration Committee does not know if applicants who say they were “involved in an environmental impact assessment” did biological work, provided field survey logistical support, or did the report word processing. Therefore, clearly and specifically explain your role in work of a biological nature (e.g., “I designed the fisheries survey program, conducted the field survey, and wrote the report” instead of “I was involved in a fisheries survey.”)
  • The biological nature of the task is unclear. This is particularly problematic with candidates who use Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments as evidence of biological practice. These tasks usually do not include a substantive component of biological practice. Clearly describe how biological practice was involved. This must go beyond comparing analytical results to established standards.
4. I have a postgraduate degree. Does that change how much experience I need to have?

Yes. A postgraduate degree in a biological science and the work experience associated with it are considered to be equivalent to one year of experience in the practice of biology (provided academic requirements were met with the undergrad degree). If you have both a master’s and doctoral degree in a biological science, it counts for two years of experience. Note that a postgraduate degree in science does not automatically qualify as a postgraduate degree in biological science.

5. Does work experience between the time I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and before I started my graduate degree count?

If you met the academic requirements with your bachelor's degree, then work experience in biology gained after will count towards the three year requirement. If you did not have enough biology courses in your undergrad and need your graduate degree, then the experience clock will start upon completion of your graduate degree, and that degree cannot be counted for work experience.

6. I worked while I was doing my postgraduate degree. Does that experience count?

It depends. (I love that answer!). If the work contributed to your degree, then it is already included in the one-year experience that is allowed for the degree. If the work was biological and not associated with your degree, then it may count towards the experience requirement. You must clearly demonstrate that the work was not related to your degree.

7. Do I need to obtain the experience while I am a BIT or RBIT, or can I apply directly to become a P.Biol. or R. Biol. if I already have experience?

There is no requirement to be a BIT or RBIT prior to application for P.Biol. or R. Biol.

8. I completed biological work experience prior to and during my undergraduate degree. Does that experience count?

No. In most cases, the Registration Committee will only assess work experience obtained after the completion of your university degree.

Reference Requirements for Professional Biologist and Registered Biologists

Applicants for P.Biol. and R. Biol. are required to provide the names and contact information of three people who can provide a reference related to the applicant’s conduct in the practice of biology.

1. What are the references asked?

The ASPB will send the reference a form which asks them for their contact information, their professional credentials (e.g., P.Biol., PAg, RPF) how long and in what capacity they have known you, their knowledge about your work, and any comments they wish to make about your character. When completed, the reference submits the form and it is sent electronically back to the ASPB office.

2. Who should I ask to be my reference?

Your references should be familiar with your work in the field of biological sciences. At least one of them must be a member of a regulated professional association (P.Eng., P.Chem.,), with a strong preference for a P.Biol. One of your references should be from your current or past supervisor, and at least one reference must be from someone outside your current place of work.

Where and when do I send in my transcripts?

Once you have paid your application fee. You must arrange to have your educational institution send your official sealed transcripts directly to:

ASPB Membership Processing
370, 105 12 Ave SE
Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 1A1

Transcripts from other sources will not be accepted.

Student applicants do not need to send transcripts, but do need to specify academic program when they apply online.

Current BIT and RBIT applicants do not need to resubmit transcripts when applying for P. Biol. or R. Biol.

Please note: All education undertaken outside Canada must have a Specialized IQAS Assessment completed OR  Comprehensive Course-by-Course Report  from World Education Services (WES).