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Vocational Training and Technical Education in Canada

Monday | August 20, 2018 | by Abigail Byle

vocational training in Canada

Have you considered vocational training in Canada? Many newcomers don’t know what vocational education is or they aren’t aware of how it can help them achieve their career goals.

Vocational training refers to job-specific technical training. It prepares students for working in the “trades”—such as construction, technology, justice, mechanics, cosmetology, and even education.

Why Pursue Vocational Training?

Any person who needs to develop job skills or certification in a certain field should consider applying to a vocational school. Prioritizing career-specific skills has a practical focus, preparing students for entry into the workforce.

Vocational education is an important option to consider, especially for any person who is already working in their chosen career or field, and who may just need to update or certify their training to work in North America.

At many of the community colleges across Canada, there are different programs available to improve skills or to get additional education and training that may be necessary to qualify to work in many different professional and technical fields.

Additionally, many Canadian and U.S. students are more inclined to pursue baccalaureate studies at traditional universities and colleges. Given changes in demographics, with Baby Boomers in Canada moving into retirement, and fewer millennials pursuing technical and vocational training to replace them, there are growing opportunities for new Canadians to move into vocational jobs.

What Vocational Programs Are Available?

Vocational programs are offered in many different occupations and can be called vocational colleges, technical schools, or career colleges, but the emphasis is on developing professional skills, whether in the trades, healthcare, or even in hospitality and early childhood education. In Ontario, there are programs available in many fields in nearly every city.

The majority of available programs are based in construction, manufacturing, service, and transportation.  The Manitoba Institute of Trade and Technology (MITT), for example, has programs available for students in nearly every field, with new programs and courses constantly in development. MITT also has partnerships with institutions around the world, including colleges and universities in China. In fact, many vocational schools in Canada have partnerships with institutions in other countries.

Why Should I Consider Attending Vocational School Rather Than a University?

Vocational programs are career-focused and usually intensive; they help prepare you for a quick entry into the workforce. Because you can graduate within two years, you will be on the fast track to the career of your choice. Also, formal vocational training may aid in or be required for professional certification.

Also, training programs are usually less expensive, particularly compared to universities, which may have much higher fees for international students and also additional course and degree requirements that increase program costs. However, there may be limited spots available in a given program, so admission is competitive and you may be placed on a waitlist for future enrolment.

What Are Some Benefits of Vocational Training?

Vocational programs are different from traditional academic programs in many ways. Vocational training is available at both community colleges and technical schools. Students can usually choose between standalone courses, certificate programs, diploma programs, or full degree programs.

These are some of the principal benefits of vocational programs:

Vocational training focuses on teaching job-specific skills. It often involves internships and hands-on training, which work better for some students. Because industry professionals develop and teach the classes, it ensures that the programs are current and the lessons are relevant.

Related Reading

How to Apply to Canadian Colleges and Universities

Digital Micro-Credentials: Paving Your Pathway to Integration

Abigail Byle is a Graduate Programs and Admissions Assistant for the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Manitoba.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).