Health Care Schools and Colleges

By PublisherLast Updated January 23, 2020

Health care schools can help you learn a reliable vocation that fits who you really are.

Vocational colleges throughout Canada contribute to the successful futures of thousands of people each year who want skills for in-demand and meaningful health care careers. Their college-level programs are often conducted in a very practical and focused way that can greatly widen your potential and help you become job-ready in less time than you might expect. It's a training approach well suited to helping you go after opportunities in this fast-growing field that's full of purpose.

5 Excellent Vocational Areas Worth Pursuing in Health Care School

Occupations don't get any more important than the ones that make up this sector. Quality health care is simply a fundamental need of every Canadian. And that need is rising. As a result, people who graduate from colleges that offer training in this field frequently go on to have good employment prospects and enjoyable professional lives.

The facts speak for themselves. For example:

  • In 2006, older Canadians (aged 65 and over) made up only about 14 percent of the nation's total population. However, by 2050, they could represent about 27 percent.* And older people tend to require more health care services—more frequently—than those of younger age.
  • It's been estimated that, between 2012 and 2037, the number of physicians in Canada will need to grow by at least 46 percent just to match the increasing pace of demand caused by the aging population.** But, of course, similar demand will be created for many other types of health and medical workers as well.
  • Having a health-related degree, diploma, or certificate can significantly increase your income potential. For instance, check out the impact it had on the cumulative earnings of Canadians between 1991 and 2010: Men who earned a college credential or bachelor's degree in a health field made 23.5 to 84.5 percent more money than those with only a high school education. And women made 77.1 to 138.4 percent more.***

So, which health vocations make the most sense to train for? The variety of possibilities is extraordinary. In fact, multiple options exist within each of the five categories below. And many other good ones exist besides those—such as massage therapy, fitness training, nutrition consulting, emergency care, phlebotomy, physiotherapy assisting, and pharmacy support.

1. Medical Technology Specialties

Canada's hospitals and diagnostic testing labs employ many different kinds of people who specialize in using particular technologies for specific purposes. That's part of what makes careers in this category so compelling. They let you operate advanced medical equipment—used for things like medical imaging, health monitoring, and laboratory examination—that plays a significant role in helping patients get properly diagnosed and treated.

Plus, medical technologists and technicians often receive good salaries and benefits. For example, the median annual pay of Canadian cardiology technologists is $52,000, with some making over $68,640. And medical laboratory assistants can earn a median salary of about $51,500 or up to $80,080 or more.****

2. Nursing

Aside from doctors, nurses are among the most essential professionals in the health care industry. They embody the kind of practical and helpful spirit that is so crucial for ensuring that medical patients experience the direct, compassionate, and skillful care they need. It's why they are often in very high demand. From 2015 to 2024, nearly 140,000 job openings are expected to become available for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse supervisors alone. But thousands more will also be generated for practical nurses.****

And you can't ignore the fact that nurses tend to be compensated very well. Median earnings for full-time licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in Canada are $52,000 per year, and some earn above $68,500. For RNs, the median salary is about $74,800, with many earning more than $93,600.****

3. Medical Administration

Medical offices and hospital departments generate a lot of documentation in the form of things like patient records, doctor memos, billing statements, and requisitions. The amount of health information that must be processed, organized, and managed is simply massive. So administrative professionals with specialized knowledge of the medical sector are always needed in order to keep everything running as it should.

Opportunities exist for health unit clerks, medical billing and claims specialists, medical transcriptionists, medical office assistants, and those in many other types of support roles. The wages can be enticing. As an example, the median annual earnings of full-time Canadian medical secretaries total about $39,900, yet many make above $54,246.****

4. Dental Services

Good oral health is vital to a person's well-being. So dental care plays a major role in keeping Canadians healthy and confident. But the vocational options in this field extend beyond just becoming a dentist. The nation's dental offices also require the services of hygienists and office and chairside assistants. Such positions can be very satisfying and often come with outstanding pay.

For instance, the median yearly wages of the nation's dental assistants are about $45,700, with many earning over $62,400. And for dental hygienists, the median salary is even higher: $70,800. Plus, some experienced hygienists are able to make more than $93,000 a year.****

5. Social and Human Services

Every community has people who need extra assistance. They might be elderly, have disabilities, struggle with addictions, or deal with challenges related to things like housing, family crises, or mental health problems. In fact, during any given year, 20 percent of all Canadians experience difficulties related to just addiction or mental health alone.†

That's why a lot of good career possibilities exist for people who want to help their fellow community members overcome or cope with their challenging circumstances. You can specialize in areas like personal support and health care assisting, addictions counselling, family and youth care, or senior assistance. Or you can work in a more general capacity. The median yearly pay of the country's community and social services workers is nearly $43,600, with some of them earning over $67,600.****

Main Sources

* Public Health Agency of Canada, website last visited on August 3, 2017.

** Sustainability of the Canadian Health Care System and Impact of the 2014 Revision to the Canada Health Transfer, Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries, website last visited on January 23, 2020.

*** Statistics Canada, website last visited on June 4, 2018.

**** Job Bank, Government of Canada, website last visited on February 28, 2018.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, website last visited on May 7, 2018.