Short Courses in Canada for International Students: Cost, Admission Process, and Job Prospects

by Komal Yadav

Interested to study in a foreign country but not ready for a long-term commitment? Not to worry! Canadian short courses are just what you are looking for.

Why study in Canada though? As per the reports of the Canadian Bureau of International Education from 2018, over 494,000 International students are enrolled in Canadian institutes, across various levels of education. The magnetic appeal of Canada as a study destination can also be perceived by the fact that it holds the fourth position as receiver of post-secondary international students after the United States, United Kingdom, and China.

One of the reasons for this growth is the rising popularity of short courses among international students in recent years. The short-duration of the course, job-oriented curriculum, affordable tuition fees, less stringent entrance criteria, and cordial immigration policies add to the attractiveness of such short courses.

Short Courses: Types and Difference

Short courses in Canada are offered in the form of Diploma and Certificate courses that focus on a particular specialization and aim to make the students industry-ready. The main difference between these two lies in terms of duration and depth of study.

A certificate course lasts only for a year while a diploma may take two-three years to complete. 6-month certificate courses are also available at some colleges of Canada.

Colleges in Canada offer diploma and certificate courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level:

  1. Post-secondary diploma/Certificate: Students can apply for post-secondary diploma/certificate course after completing their secondary education. Some certificate courses are offered at high school level too. Duration of the diploma courses is usually two years. It may extend up to three or four years, depending upon the program and college offering the course.
  2. Post-graduate Diploma/Certificate: These courses are an extension of undergraduate programs and are meant to add value to the bachelor’s degree. Post-graduate diploma course in Canada, comprising of two to three semesters can be completed within a year.

Short Courses (Diploma and Certificate) vs. Degree Programs 

Both, Diploma/Certificates courses and Degree programs offered in Canada have pros and cons. So which one to pick? Here is a comparative analysis to help you.

Duration: Short courses can be completed within two years except for some engineering courses which extend up to three years. An undergraduate degree in Canada takes as long as three to four years to complete.

Curriculum: Short courses are job-oriented involving more training and practical aspects while degree programs are meant for academic knowledge.

Cost: Degree programs are more expensive to attend. An undergraduate degree tuition cost ranges between CAD 18,000 - CAD 20,000 for a year. Short courses are much cheaper starting from a tuition cost of just CAD 2,000/year.

Validity: A degree from Canada is recognized everywhere in the world. However short courses do not have much value in other countries.

Visa and Residency: Canada immigration policies grant study permit for studying all types of courses offered in Canada. However, a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is issued only to those enrolled in courses of 8 months or longer duration.

Conclusion! If you have those nerdy genes with sufficient time and money, Canada offers enough degree programs to study. However, students looking for longer stay in the country, with a good-paying job, but are facing constraints of time and money, can look out for short courses.

Which Short Course to Study in Canada?

Choosing a course is one of the most difficult decisions to take. Especially when you are going abroad for studies. Ending up at the wrong place only slows down the growth you will be expecting. Take a look at the following short courses offering greater job opportunities in Canada with good salary package:

Diploma/Certificate CourseAverage Pay/Year (in CAD)
Engineering
Automotive Engineering$55,575
Chemical Engineering$70,095
Civil Engineering$50,700
Electrical Engineering$63,375
Computer Engineering$60,685
Manufacturing$31,200
Mechanical Engineering$56,550
Administrative Studies
Administration$46,352
Logistics$43,385
Architecture Studies
Architecture$58,500
Interior Designer$48,750
Business Studies
Business Administration$44,000
Business Management$169,202
Real Estate$60,000
Economic Studies
Accountancy$29,000
Accounting$42,172

Popular Colleges in Canada offering Short Courses

Diploma and Certificate courses are offered by Public Colleges, Community Colleges, CEGEPs (Vocational Colleges) and some of the Universities.

Here is a sneak peek at average placement offers for students passed out from five of the popular Canadian colleges with a short-term course:

CollegeAverage Placement Offers (in CAD)
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)$49,000 - $69,000
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)$39,000 - $81,000
Conestoga College$56,000 - $67,000
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)$60,000 - $81,000
Algonquin College$60,000

How to Apply for Short Courses in Canada?

Education system in Canada is under provincial jurisdiction. Hence curriculum structure and admission requirements for diploma/certificate courses vary from province to province, but some basic directives for International students remain common across all the colleges.

Application Portal and Fees

  • Ontario: All 26 public colleges of Ontario accepts application through Ontario Common Application Portal which charges CAD 95 application processing fee. Students can apply to 5 short courses (not more than 3 per college) starting from the same academic year.
  • Quebec: SRAM accepts an application for 32 out of 48 CEGEPs of Quebec. An amount of CAD 85, payable through Credit/Debit Card, Bank Draft/Money Order or Bank Transfer, is charged as application processing fee.
  • Alberta: Students can submit an application for post-secondary diploma and certificate courses offered by institutes located in Alberta through Alberta Common Application. The application processing fee, payable through Credit Card, varies with the institutes.
  • Others: Colleges not associated with the above application portals accept individual applications for admission.

Admission Requirements for Short Courses in Canada

  • Academic Transcripts:

Majority of the colleges ask for a transcript of the last four years of high school for post-secondary diploma/certificate admission. Bachelor’s degree is required for post-graduate diploma/certificate admission.

Transcripts should be original and translated in English. Some colleges also accept certified copies of original transcripts at the time of application considering original documents are provided at the time of enrolment. Transcripts can be submitted through electronic medium or mail depending upon the requirements of the college.

  • Birth Certificate and Parental Consent: Vocational colleges, specially CEGEPs requires submission of birth certificate. Additionally, students below 18 years of age according to their birth certificate, must also submit parental consent (form or application) for studying in Canada.
  • Language Proficiency:

Students not from English speaking countries are required to provide proof of English proficiency by submitting scores of one of the below tests:

  1. TOEFL
  2. IELTS
  3. PTE
  4. CAEL

Colleges with French curriculum, particularly CEGEPs, have French proficiency requirements, for students not from the French-speaking country. It can be demonstrated by submitting one of the following certificates:

  1. Bright
  2. TCF tout public
  3. DELF tout public niveau 2
  4. DALF
  5. TEF

Several colleges offer courses in both French and English. In this case, either of the two test scores, French or English, can be submitted as proof of language proficiency.

  • Immigration Documents:

A Canadian study permit is required for enrolment in diploma and certificate courses, of longer than six months duration. For courses of duration less than six months, a temporary visa is also acceptable.

Following documents are required to apply for a study permit:

  1. A temporary resident visa/travel document
  2. Current passport
  3. Acceptance letter from Designated Learning Institutes (DSI)

Important Dates for Admission to Short Courses in Canada 

Intake season for most of the colleges in Canada is Fall, Winter, and Summer. Dates mentioned below are general deadlines followed by most of the colleges. However, some of them follow their own deadlines for submission of transcripts and other supporting documents.

Ontario Application
Application AvailabilityOctober
Deadline for Highly Competitive CoursesFebruary 1
Deadline for Accepting OfferMay 1
Deadline for submitting Tuition FeeMid-June
SRAM (Quebec) Application
Fall DeadlineMarch 1
Winter DeadlineNovember 2
Alberta Application
Fall DeadlineEarly: November 1
Regular: March

Cost of studying Short Courses in Canada

Short courses in Canada are relatively cheaper for International students than undergraduate and graduate degrees. Cost of short term courses offered by Alberta colleges is lower than other province colleges.

The amount mentioned below is a general estimate of tuition fee, charged for a year or two semesters. The actual cost may be more or less than the following amount.

ProvinceTuition Fee (Yearly)
Ontario Colleges$14,000
Quebec Colleges$12,360 - $19,160
Alberta Colleges$9,750 - $26,560

Other Expenses for Studying Short Courses in Canada 

In addition to the tuition fees, students have to bear additional expenses for studying in Canada, such as health insurance, accommodation, food, textbooks, and other living expenses. These expenses slightly differ for each province. The total living expenses for two of the provinces are as follows:

For QuebecCAD 12,538
For AlbertaCAD 15,060 - CAD 18,060

Job Opportunities after Short Courses in Canada

Colleges offering short professional courses, primarily have an integrated internship provision with the course. You’ll get the first-hand experience of working in a Canadian corporate environment. Also, the experience gets added to your resume, which makes finding a job easier once the course is complete.

Colleges also have a Career Specialist appointed to help students get a suitable job. Placement offers are also provided by some colleges in association with companies, eliminating the need to waste your energy on job hunting.

Job Permits for International Students in Canada after completing Short Courses 

Students enrolled in short courses, in Canada, are eligible to apply for Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). A post-graduate work permit allows international students to work full-time, part-time or be self-employed while living in Canada.

The permit is issued to those who have completed at least an 8 months of course from Canadian college. Completion of a diploma or certificate course as a full-time student is mandatory. Part-time students are not eligible for Post-Graduate Work Permit.

Duration of PGWP depends upon the length of course:

  • For course of duration less than two years: Post-graduate work permit is issued for time-span equal to the duration of the program.
  • For course of duration more than two years: The duration of the permit issued is three years. It will also clear your way to the Permanent Residency considering you work in Canada for at least 12 months within these past three years.

Requirements for Post-Graduate Work Permit:

  1. Processing fee of CAD 225
  2. A Study Permit valid upto 180 days after finishing the course
  3. Official letter from college confirming completion of course
  4. Official transcripts of course studied
  5. Biometric data (fingerprints and photo)
  6. A Passport valid up to the duration of PGWP

Short courses may not have global recognition. However, if you plan on settling down in Canada, they provide you the easiest route to Permanent Residency.

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