English Proficiency Requirements for International Students

All students must possess strong English writing, comprehension and speaking skills to be successful in their studies, in any workplace components of their program and in their careers. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate proof of English proficiency through completing and submitting the recent (within two years of the start of the program) results of one of the following English proficiency tests.

Proof of English proficiency can also be obtained through completion of Lakehead University's Academic English program.

English Language Requirements:     

Results from the following testing options will be accepted, subject to specific scores, as stipulated. 

Note: Applicants who are applying for their study visa through SDS can only proceed with the Academic IELTS, TOEFL iBT, or PTE-A, due to visa processing requirements. Duolingo is not accepted.

Confederation College reserves the right to test or retest students whose displayed English proficiency level creates academic or safety issues or does not match the test scores given during the admission process. If there is an apparent inconsistency between online and on-campus test results, students may be removed from their program and be required to complete additional English language training.

The minimum English proficiency requirements for our post-secondary programs are as follows: 

Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma Programs (Except Health Care and Aviation Programs):

  • Academic IELTS: 6.0 (no band lower than 5.5) 
  • TOEFL iBT: 80 (no band less than 20)
  • PTE-A: 54 (no communicative skill lower than 50) 
  • Duolingo: 105 (no band lower than 95)
  • CAEL: 60 (no band lower than 60)

Aviation, Health Care, Accelerated and All Post-Graduate Certificate Programs: 

  • Academic IELTS: 6.5 (no band lower than 6.0)*
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 (no band less than 22)
  • PTE-A: 60 (no communicative skill lower than 54) 
  • Duolingo: 120 (no band lower than 105)*
  • CAEL: 70 (no band lower than 70)

Note: Pharmacy Technician only accepts IELTS (6.5 overall, no band less than 6.0) or TOEFL iBT (91 overall, no band less than 22) for admission.  

*Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Science in Nursing & Practical Nursing: Minimum speaking band is 6.5 or Duolingo 120 in Conversation and Production.

Exemptions - English Speaking Countries 

Applicants who are citizens of, and have studied (in English) in, the countries listed below, qualify for exemption English proficiency testing.  They must have a minimum equivalent "B" grade in a senior-level or post-secondary English credit. Applicants into the Pharmacy Technician program must complete an English proficiency test and meet the scores as indicated above – no exemption will be permitted.

Applicants who are not citizens of but have recently graduated (within the last two years) and studied for a minimum of two years, in one of the countries listed below, may also be eligible for exemption.



Antigua and Barbuda, Australia


Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Botswana


Canada, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands 




Falkland Islands, Fiji


Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana






Kenya, Kiribati


Lesotho, Liberia


Malawi, Mauritius


Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria


Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, South Africa


Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos 


Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America


Zambia, Zimbabwe

Alternative Pathways 

Applicants who do not meet the above English proficiency requirements are encouraged to consider the programs offered by our neighbour, Lakehead University,  at its English Language Centre.