What are the different colleges in Canada?


Canada has become one of the most sought over study destinations in the world as it has become renowned for its high-quality education system. Thousands of international students’ flock to Canada every year to study in the country’s colleges. However, many are not aware of the different colleges in Canada.

There are mainly two types of colleges in Canada: Community colleges and Private colleges. In this article, we aim to cover the major differences between these colleges. The different types of programs that colleges in Canada offer are:

  • Post-secondary diplomas
  • Post-secondary certificates
  • Post-graduate diplomas or certificates (i.e. you are eligible only if you complete a higher education program first)
  • Short-term training and crash courses
  • Skills trades training (e.g. welding, plumbing, etc.)
  • Prep courses for professional licenses exams
  • Bachelor’s degree programs (under the supervision or with the collaboration of a university)
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) training
  • French language training

Community Colleges in Canada

The community colleges in Canada are financially support by the Canadian government. They may receive funds from the federal government or other sources. Since these colleges receive external funding, the fees is often lesser than other private institutes.

Private Colleges in Canada

Private colleges do not receive funds from the federal or provincial governments. They rely purely on tuition fees paid by students. Most provinces use rigorous procedures to accredit these colleges. Private colleges are usually smaller than community colleges and more expensive for local students. Private colleges in the province of Ontario are called Private Career Colleges (PCC) as they are focused on skills development for specific career opportunities.

Major Differences Between Community and Private Colleges

The following list compares community and private colleges from different angles for international students.

  • Tuition Deposit: Community colleges are usually cheaper options as compared to private colleges. However, for international student’s there’s not much difference between the tuition fees. Some private colleges are cheaper than a community colleges.
  • Class sizes: The class sizes in private colleges are much less indicating more individual attention and personalized teaching facilities to students.
  • Length of education: Many private colleges offer shorter programs than community colleges without compromising on the quality of education. This approach helps save student’s time. The shorter education time is a huge plus for international students who save considerable amounts on living and rental costs in Canada.
  • Admission: It’s easier to get into a private college as they’re more eager to take students as compared to public colleges.
  • Designation by the Immigration Authorities: All community colleges are designated by the immigration authorities. As an international student, you may only register to Designated Learning Institutions (DLI)to be able to secure a Study Permit. Some private colleges may not be designated. To make sure if a college is designated by the immigration authorities or not visit the IRCC website.
  • Post-graduate Work Permit:If you are an international student and graduate from a community college you may apply for a special work permit (PGWP) to stay in Canada and work after graduation. This option is rarely available to private colleges. Visit the IRCC website to make sure your prospect college qualifies for a PGWP after completion of your studies.
  • Educational credential assessment (ECA): As an international student you might want to eventually immigrate to Canada and become a Permanent Resident of Canada. Some methods of immigration (e.g. the Express Entry) expect you evaluate your educational credentials through an approved organization, also known as ECA. If you complete your education in Canada you do not need to go through the ECA process. This feature is the same for both private and community colleges.

Over the years studying in Canada has become an extremely attractive options for international students due to flexible work-study options and pathways for immigration. If you study in Canada as an international student regardless of whether you’re enrolled in a private or a community college, you can work for a maximum of 20 hours and earn minimum wage as defined by every province. Moreover, your educational qualifications in Canada also help you to get points in Canada’s Express Entry through which a candidate can gain Permanent Residency in the country.

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