Choosing a post-secondary program

Choosing the right program to follow can be a challenging task. The information and resources on this page are designed to help you select a program that’s right for you.

Consider your potential career

When choosing your study program, you may want to begin by considering what type of career you want. Some careers have very specific academic requirements, so it’s important to know what kind of education you’ll need to prepare you for that line of work.

The Canlearn program search tool is a great way to explore the kinds of programs out there. This tool gives you profiles, requirements, and application and admission information for programs of study at Canadian CEGEPs, colleges and universities.

Consider your interests and strengths

It’s a good idea to pick a program that interests you. Post-secondary education helps you prepare for your future career, so choose a program that could lead to a career you would enjoy. You’re more likely to succeed in your program if you’re engaged and interested in your field of study.

It may also be helpful to consider your strengths, or areas where you naturally excel. To help you identify your strengths, talk to someone who knows you well, like a teacher, family member, friend or coach.

Programs that lead to jobs in high demand

A smart consideration when choosing a program is to pursue a career that will lead to jobs that are in high demand. The Working in Canada Web site has many tools for finding valuable information about the labour market, including outlooks for different occupations or locations.

Gain transferable skills

Not all programs lead to a specific career or job, so you should consider to what extent the skills and knowledge you gain through your education will be transferable to a possible career. This will help you market yourself to potential employers when you graduate and start looking for employment. It may also increase your opportunities for great jobs in many different fields.

Work-and-learn options

Many post-secondary programs offer work-and-learn options. These educational programs allow you to work in your field of study while attending school, providing you with valuable work experience that can be really helpful when transitioning into the workforce after you’ve completed your studies. Some even offer paid work placements. You’ll usually need to enrol in a program with a work-and-learn option to participate.

Internships

Internships are working positions that provide you with on-the-job training and work experience in a professional career environment. They’re usually offered to university and college students.

Co-operative education

Co-operative education, or Co-op, is a form of learning that combines classroom learning with workplace experience. A co-op work placement is usually recognized as an academic credit, allowing students to continue their education while gaining valuable work experience.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an agreement between a student (an apprentice) and a skilled worker in the trades. Apprentices train on the job while working for an employer who helps the apprentice learn the trade or profession. This arrangement is mutually beneficial because the apprentice is able to learn new skills while the employer gains a capable worker.