A Career In Aboriginal Communities: 4 Programs To Get You There


Did you know that Aboriginal communities prefer to hire professionals with specific designations? In these communities, it’s a dominant value that those within it understand and respect their culture.

There are programs designed specifically for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and recent graduates to build their skill-set for opportunities within these communities.

For the most part, these designations are aimed for roles in Financial, Management, Governance and Organizational fields. So, if you’re interested in roles that are included these industries (i.e., Accountant, Financial Planner, Manager) you should check out the different designations out there that give you the credentials to work within various Aboriginal communities. Not only will this specialize your education, but will bring new opportunities and growth to your career!

Here are 4 designations to consider:

1. Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager Designation (CAFM)

Financial Management roles in First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities are a great fit for a professionals with their CAFM designation. When certified with the CAFM designation, grads can succeed in a range from roles immediately after graduation or down the road such as Director of Operations, Director of Finance, Office Manager, Business Consultant, Controller, Brand Manager, Director of Finance, or Director of Administration specifically in Indigenous communities! Not only is there lots of variety in these fields, but these roles can be quite lucrative and have high growth potential.

There are 3 ways to earn the CAFM designation:

  1. Standard Application: You will take 14 courses that range from courses like Financial Accounting Fundamentals to Strategy & Decisions. These courses are aimed to prepare recipients with a strong base to succeed in their role in Indigenous communities.
  2. Special Arrangement Application A: In order to complete the CAFM designation through this stream you’ll need to be already a designated CA, CGA, or CMA and have two or more years of industry experience. This is a great way for industry professionals who may have not realized the opportunity to work in Indigenous communities before hatching a career in the industry.
  3. Special Arrangement Application B: In order to complete the CAFM designation in this stream you must have over five years of industry experience. You must also complete two courses; Strategy & Decisions and Aboriginal Human & Fiscal Issues.

2. Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator Designation (CAPA)

The CAPA designation is a new certification program that equips recipients with the tools, resources, and skills “to significantly enhance their workplace performance and successfully fulfill their mandates to provide optimal service to meet the needs of their communities and organizations.” This designation opens up untapped opportunities for new grads who are interested in Management roles. There is a growing demand for Administrators in Indigenous communities!

Earning your CAPA designation can be completed through the CAPA Online Program, the CAPA In-Person Program, or the CAPA Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition Program (LARL). Depending on which route is for you, earning your CAPA designation takes between a few weeks and 8 weeks.

3. First Nation Governance Diploma

The First Nation Governance Diploma is a two-year program that provides students and new grads with the managerial skills to succeed in a career in Indigenous communities. This is an egg-ceptional program for grads wanting to give their degree an edge or for students seeking a unique career in a Financial, Management, Governance, or Organizational Development fields.

The requirements to complete this diploma are by completing 15 outlined courses that range from Inherent & Treaty Rights, to Financial Management.

4. First Nation Community Management Diploma

Thinking of a career in a management role? You should consider what a managerial role would be like in a First Nation, Métis, or Inuit community! Not only is there a shortage of professionals to fill these types of roles, but there is a growing demand for them.

If you already have a post-secondary education that you can build on, or are fresh to the student world, the FNCM program is designed to prepare grads to succeed in a management role within Indigenous communities. Another bonus? You can complete these studies while you work!

Want to know more about careers in Aboriginal communities? Check out the Aboriginal Career Guide!