What is Post-Secondary School in Canada? Post-secondary education is an educational program occurring at a level above the twelve-grade elementary and secondary school system. There are a few different types of post-secondary education each with different purposes; Universities, Colleges, Trade schools,s, and vocational schools.

What is Post-Secondary School in Canada: Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada

What is Post-Secondary School in Canada

However, at most post-secondary schools, the school year is divided into 2 main terms and an optional summer term. In CA, a recognized school can grant Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates, and Other qualifications. So, if you’re not sure if a school is officially recognized, contact your ministry or department of post-secondary education.

Below is the list of post-secondary education in CA are;

  • University.
  • College.
  • Trade/Apprenticeship Program.
  • Vocational Studies.

The above-mentioned schools are referred to as post-secondary education. It is done after completion of secondary/high school.

The University

University is one of the post-secondary educations in CA. It offers programs on a wide range of topics at different levels of difficulty and complexity. After you have successfully completed a university program, you’re awarded a university degree that reflects the type of program you went for. There are 3 types of degrees, they’re as follows;

Bachelor’s degree: This is the easiest degree offered by Canadian universities. It takes 3-4 years to complete.

Master’s degree: Master’s degree is a more advanced degree that usually takes 1 – 3 extra years of study after you get a bachelor’s degree.

Doctoral degree: Doctoral degree is the most advanced degree offered by Canadian universities. This degree can take another 3- 4 more years of study and research following a master’s degree.

However, in regulated professions, students must complete an internship or pass a standardized test (or series of tests) after getting the degree.


College offers shorter programs than the University. The program lasts between 1-3years. It’s an educational institution that cannot grant degrees, though there are some exceptions to this. Moreover, they usually offer programs resulting in certificates and/or diplomas.

Nevertheless, generally, college programs are more directly career-oriented when compared to universities. Let me explain more; a college graduate may complete hands-on, practical training in an employable skill such as graphic design or culinary skills.

These Colleges often have courses to improve student’s skills and employability, such as language training. And also, many colleges have training programs or apprenticeships in skilled trade occupations like carpentry or welding.

Trade School

Trade school has to do with a specialized occupation, that is usually emphasizing some form of manual labor, which needs hands-on training and formal education. The skilled trade rarely requires a Bachelor’s Degree.

Therefore education in the trades usually occurs through trade schools, which are often smaller programs contained within colleges or vocational schools.

Furthermore, once an aspiring tradesperson has sufficient training, they may undertake an apprenticeship. And as an apprentice, the student works closely with an experienced tradesperson to refine their skills in the trade.

Vocational Education

A vocational Education may have educational programs at either the secondary or post-secondary level, so it is not always necessary to have a high school diploma in order to attend vocational school. In this Vocational program, students learn the technical skills required to perform the tasks of a specific job.

However, it prepares them to enter directly into the workforce, either in skilled or low-skilled occupations.

Nevertheless, there are different terms for different types of schools at the post-secondary level and these terms mean different things in different countries around the world, that is to say, a college may refer to one type of school in Canada but something different in the US.


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