Ontario Colleges and Vocational Schools

Put your goals in forward motion within a province that's all about action.

Ontario colleges and vocational schools give students the chance to expand their talents and experience what it's like to live and learn in a place brimming with possibilities. This region is where people maximize their potential and prove that career success is achievable alongside active and enriching lifestyles.

What makes Ontario such a welcoming and prosperous part of Canada? The people, for starters. With over 13.5 million residents, this province is full of bright and fascinating individuals. Nearly 30 percent of them were born in a foreign country, making the region incredibly diverse.* But the population is also well-educated, with more than six out of 10 adults in the province having completed post-secondary schooling.**

So the people are one major part of the equation. What else makes Ontario so special? The impressively varied economy. The province's 2015 GDP totalled over $599 billion, which is more than the GDP of whole industrialized nations like Switzerland or Sweden.** And remember: Good jobs come with that kind of economic performance. In fact, by the end of 2019 it is predicted that over 300,000 jobs will be created in the province.*

With market-driven vocational training from one of the colleges or vocational schools in Ontario, your opportunities could exceed what you currently imagine. The enjoyable career options you can pursue are truly wide-ranging.

Ontario's Best Vocational Sectors

This province has something for just about everyone. Regardless of your interests, you stand a very good chance of discovering an Ontario industry that both fascinates you and gives you good career prospects. Here are some of the most promising sectors to check out:

  • Healthcare Services—From 2009 to 2013, employment in this occupational area expanded by about nine percent.*** That's indicative of the rising need for qualified health and social care professionals across the province, especially as the number of seniors climbs. Everyone from physiotherapist assistants and personal support workers to medical lab technicians and paramedics should be in strong demand now and several years into the future. Plus, don't overlook the advancement possibilities generated by the province's life sciences industry. Over 61,500 health professionals are employed by companies developing new pharmaceutical and medical diagnostics products.**
  • Professional and Financial Services—Businesses of every variety operate in Ontario, including many that have their corporate head offices in major cities like Toronto and Ottawa. And nowhere else in Canada will you find such a high concentration of finance and insurance companies, which employ close to 360,000 Ontarians.** That makes this region a terrific place for almost any aspiring office administrator, accounting specialist, paralegal, or marketing pro.
  • Digital and Interactive Media—The film industry has been a major player in Ontario's economy for a long time, from Toronto in the south to Sudbury in the north. But the digital arts sector has been making bigger and bigger contributions. For example, the province's digital gaming sector—now represented by over 100 different companies—has been expanding at an annual rate of about 30 percent. And the entire digital media sector of over 950 companies generates about $1 billion of revenue every year. Some of those companies have even developed special-effects technology used in multiple films nominated for Academy Awards.** Video game designers and mobile web developers have been especially sought after by employers in these creative industries.
  • Network and Communications Technology—70% of Canada's companies in this industry are based in Ontario. In total, over 18,000 of them are worth collective yearly revenues of more than $85 billion.** They employ cyber security specialists, software developers, network systems administrators, and many other kinds of computer and IT professionals.
  • Skilled Trades—As Ontario's industries adapt to meet new and changing demands, a lot of employers are having trouble finding tradespeople with the right qualifications. So, from HVAC and electrical work to industrial fabrication, all kinds of opportunities exist. A lot of them are fueled by sectors like automotive manufacturing (which employs about 90,000 skilled Ontarians), mining (which generated $11 billion in 2014), and aerospace manufacturing (which generates $6 billion each year).**
  • Tourism—Over 104 million people travel to Ontario each year to explore the province's sights and engage in sophisticated cultural activities. They account for yearly revenues of close to $30 billion as they visit world-famous attractions, dine out at restaurants, and enjoy the hospitality of a large variety of hotels.**

Ontario's Six Main Regions

Great opportunities can be found across the entire province. But its vast size means that each region has a distinctive personality and may appeal to different people for different reasons. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Greater Toronto Area (GTA)—As the most populated and well-known metropolitan area in Canada, the GTA provides a lively staging ground for countless career possibilities and cosmopolitan cultural pursuits. It's where many of the nation's most talented professionals work and interact with people from all over the world. And because it has a truly convenient and extensive public transit system, a lot of Torontonians decide not to own a vehicle, making the region exceptionally student-friendly. Located in the southern part of the province along a stretch of Lake Ontario's shoreline referred to as the "Golden Horseshoe," the GTA includes the city of Toronto as well as many surrounding municipalities like Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Burlington, and North York.
  2. South Central Ontario—This area, which includes the famous and beautiful Niagara region, lies between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Hamilton, its most prominent city, is home to more than 530,000 people, many of whom work in the creative sector or in careers related to advanced manufacturing, freight, or logistics.****
  3. Southwestern Ontario—Two cities in this region stand out: London and Windsor. In London, students and aspiring professionals can enjoy the amenities and opportunities of a large city while benefitting from greater affordability and a charming community atmosphere. One of the city's most exciting emerging industries is digital media, which employs over 9,000 people.†
  4. Eastern Ontario—As the home of Canada's capital city, this region is hard to ignore. Ottawa is where many of the most stable opportunities exist, and it also happens to be one of the most affordable big cities to live in. Almost 50 percent of its residents are under the age of 35, and they are highly educated. Many of them work for employers like the federal government (which employs more than 110,000 Ottawans) or for one of over 1,900 creative and knowledge-based companies. And they get to enjoy legendary attractions like the Rideau Canal and the largest outdoor skating rink in the world.‡
  5. Central Ontario—With awe-inspiring lakes and scenic rolling hills, this part of the province captures the imagination. But cities like Peterborough and Kingston still offer many career-seekers a lot of potential among all of that beauty. For example, healthcare is one of Kingston's major career sectors since the city has some very high-end facilities. And it is quickly becoming one of the most active places in North America when it comes to the development and use of clean alternative energy.††
  6. Northern Ontario—This region—home to career-friendly cities like Sudbury and North Bay—might be known for its rugged landscape, but it's extremely picturesque and inviting. Its residents get to access the best parts of urban living while being in close proximity to hundreds of kilometres of walking and hiking trails and well over 300 pristine lakes.‡‡

Advantages of Going to School in Ontario

The province's students have many reasons for choosing to pursue their career training in places like those mentioned above. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Diversity of people—If you want to learn about and interact with people from different cultures, then few places are better than Ontario. In fact, over 200 different languages are spoken within the province.** Just imagine how much you can grow from the experiences that kind of setting can provide.
  • Variety of leisure options—Toronto is an obvious hotspot for amazing restaurants and entertainment venues. All of the best concert tours come through the city, and it hosts a huge number of memorable festivals. But great adventures can be had all over the province, especially if you're into outdoor activities.
  • A big medley of living options—Ontario has communities to fit just about anyone's pace or lifestyle preferences. And the great thing is that, regardless of where you reside, you probably won't be far from school or plenty of large-city amenities.

A Smart Way to Get Things Underway

Colleges and vocational schools in Ontario have the knowledge and experience to help you think through your options and begin along a path that suits your aspirations. Discover one right now with the free search tool on this page!

Main Sources

* Government of Ontario, Ministry of Finance, website last visited on September 6, 2017.

** Invest Ontario, website last visited on April 7, 2017.

*** Statistics Canada, website last visited on February 25, 2017.

**** Hamilton Economic Development Office, website last visited on February 25, 2017.

London Economic Development Corporation, website last visited on September 26, 2017.

Invest Ottawa, website last visited on April 7, 2017.

†† Kingston Economic Development Corporation, website last visited on April 7, 2017.

‡‡ Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, website last visited on April 7, 2017.