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Canadian Vocational Schools Information
Whether you’re still in high school, have recently graduated, want to advance in your current profession, or are considering a career change, vocational schools in Canada offer a variety of educational options that may be suited to your individual interests, goals, and strengths.
Vocational and trade schools provide training in a range of fields that are vital to today’s society. From health care to business to beauty to skilled trades—and everything in between—these schools can help you gain career-specific skills and knowledge related to a variety of occupations.
What is Vocational Training?
Vocational training is commonly defined as any training that is specific to a particular occupation. While an academic degree program from a college or university might prepare you to pursue a wide range of entry-level positions within a certain field such as business or IT, vocational training is intended to equip you with the defined competencies (and even certification or licensing) required to pursue a specific position—like hairstylist, construction electrician, or chef.
A vocational school is an institution that provides occupation-specific training, which can lead to an associate degree, diploma, certificate, or another similar credential.
Vocational and technical schools in Canada are either public or private institutions that provide career training programs, apprenticeship programs, and much more. These schools can be characterized by the fact that:
- The majority of training options fall into one of four main categories, which include construction, manufacturing, service, and transportation.
- Instructors are typically industry-experienced professionals who possess an understanding of the practical abilities and theories required to enter the specific area that they are teaching.
- Programs are developed with a strong focus on career readiness and generally contain significant hands-on training and opportunities for obtaining real-world experience.
What is the Job Outlook for Vocational Careers in Canada?
Due to an aging baby boomer population, job opportunities are expected to open up across a wide range of skilled occupations in the coming years. According to national projections, about two-thirds of new job openings in Canada between 2015 and 2024 will require at least some college and/or apprenticeship training. This is expected to account for the largest component of new jobs that will be available in Canada.
Still, when looking at this number, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an across-the-board representation of jobs. So before pursuing a vocational career, you should look into occupation-specific data for where you live.
Is a Vocational School the Right Choice for Me?
Before pursuing one of the many available vocational careers, you’re likely to want to know if a vocational education is the ideal path for your future.
To help figure out the answer, you may want to:
- Talk to professionals already in the field to learn about wage expectations, local demand, and more.
- Learn about the training you will need to pursue your career goals, and find out if there are local vocational training programs that can provide you with this.
- Obtain a related position in the field. For example, if you want to become a carpenter, you could seek a job as a carpenter’s helper. Or, if you want to work toward a career as a chef, you could try to land a position as a dishwasher or prep cook in a commercial kitchen.
- If you’re still in high school, you could complete a youth apprenticeship program, which can help you gain valuable skills and provide a glimpse of your potential career future.
What are the Benefits of Attending a Vocational School?
- Career-focused education—Unlike traditional college or university programs, a vocational or technical school program can provide training that is concentrated solely on developing occupation-specific skills and knowledge. Some programs can even prepare you to obtain Red Seal certification, journeyperson certification, or licensing related to a particular profession.
- Cost-effective training—Since vocational programs tend to cut out the need for general education courses, you can enjoy a more condensed education, which can result in lower costs and less of a time commitment.
- Regularly updated curricula—Vocational training programs are generally developed with direct input from industry employers in order to produce graduates who possess the skills and knowledge needed to meet actual job demands. Because of this, many vocational schools frequently review and refine their curricula.
- Job-ready programs—By choosing a vocational education over the traditional academic route, you could obtain training that is specifically intended to help you graduate ready to move directly from the classroom into the workforce.
- Available funding—Especially in Canada, a number of government grants and other incentives are offered to those who pursue vocational careers.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Now that you are armed with answers to some of the top questions about obtaining a vocational education, you may be ready to take the next step in your journey. Begin by finding Canadian vocational schools and programs that are a match for you today.
Vocational Education in Australia
Thousands of courses are available through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in Australia. Qualifications gained through the VET system can lead to a variety of diverse and exciting careers.
- What is VET?
- Who offers VET?
- Courses and qualifications
- How do VET courses differ to higher education courses?
- Higher education pathways
- Average tuition costs
- Entry requirements
- Search for a course
What is VET?
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is education and training that focuses on providing skills for work.
VET provides the skills to help people to:
- join the workforce for the first time
- re-join the workforce after a break
- upgrade skills in their chosen field
- move into a different career.
Who offers VET?
VET courses are primarily offered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These can include Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and private colleges. Some universities may also offer VET courses in addition to higher education courses. Each Australian state or territory registers these organisations to:
- provide quality training
- deliver courses developed with industry
- issue a nationally recognised qualification.
You can find a list of registered RTOs on the My Skills website.
RTOs that wish to offer courses to international students must also register with the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). This register allows the government to monitor the education offered to international students in Australia and ensure that it is of a consistently high quality. You can find a list of registered providers on the CRICOS website. You can also find more information about the Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework that governs CRICOS on the Australian Education International (AEI) website.
Courses and qualifications
The VET sector includes the following types of qualifications:
- Certificate I to IV:These courses provide introductory skills and training. They teach industry-specific knowledge and skills in communication, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork. They vary in length from six months to two years.
- Diploma:Diplomas prepare students for industry, enterprise and paraprofessional careers. Diplomas typically require one to two years of full-time study.
- Advanced diploma:An advanced diploma provides a high level of practical skills for advanced skilled or paraprofessional work in areas such as accounting, building design and engineering. Students can complete some advanced diploma courses at university level. Advanced diplomas vary in length from 1.5 to two years of full-time study.
- Vocational graduate certificate/diploma:The vocational graduate certificate and diploma are the equivalent of the higher education graduate certificate and diploma. They provide high-level employment-related skills and knowledge. The graduate certificate usually requires six months to a year of full-time study, and the graduate diploma usually requires one to two years of full-time study.
- English language courses:VET providers may also offer English language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks. For more information about learning English in Australia, see English language courses.
How do VET courses differ to higher education courses?
Traditionally, VET courses are known to focus more on providing practical and work-orientated occupational skills, whereas university or higher education courses are better known for focusing on providing theory-based knowledge and professional career paths. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, because VET covers such a wide range of different courses and qualifications.
VET courses cover:
- basic life skills, even literacy and numeracy training (such as pre-vocational training or foundation studies)
- basic vocational skills for particular occupations (such as floristry and automotive)
- semi-professional vocational training (such as business advertising, and occupational health and safety)
- study areas with a practical focus (such as viticulture, music and hospitality).
VET courses, particularly at the diploma and advanced diploma level, can often lead into higher education courses such as bachelor degrees.
Most VET courses are part of national training packages that are updated regularly in consultation with relevant industry bodies. They also follow the same curriculum wherever you study them, so you can transfer your credits to an identical program at a different organisation.
Higher education pathways
VET courses at the certificate IV, diploma and advanced diploma level can provide students with a pathway into the higher education sector. In addition to helping students meet entry requirements, VET courses can also provide credit towards some higher education courses. For example, students who graduate with a diploma may receive up to two or three semesters of credit towards a related bachelor degree. The exact amount of credit granted depends on the institution, the degree and the VET qualification completed. It is important to check pathways and credit arrangements with institutions.
It is also becoming increasingly common for higher education graduates to complete VET qualifications in order to gain practical, work-orientated skills to assist them to enter the workforce.
Average tuition costs
VET course fees range from AUD$4000 to $22,000 per year. Higher-level vocational courses, including vocational graduate certificates and diplomas, may have higher fees.
These figures were sourced from the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website in 2015. Please note that course fees can vary widely depending on the course, institution and location chosen, and should always be sourced from the relevant provider.
Entry into the VET system usually requires students to have reached a level of study equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Some courses may have prerequisite subjects or work experience requirements. Entry into some courses, such as art and design, may also require submission of a portfolio. Students should check with individual providers for any additional entry requirements, English language requirements, information on fees and charges, and course starting dates.