Public and Private Colleges in Canada, what is the difference?

by Basma Ihmaidan
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It’s possible that at this moment you are looking for information to validate your decision of studying in a Public or Private College in Canada. Don’t worry, because we intend to give you all the information you need to decide which one is the best option for you.

The first thing you need to know is: What is a College in Canada and what will it mean for your professional career and stay in the country?

When we talk about Colleges we are referring to the institutions that generally offer short term professional programs that have a duration mostly between 1 and 2 years; however, some of them include in their academic offer university degrees of 4 years. 

This education is highly valued in the country, for canadian students as well as for international students, so let’s learn the differences. 

We invite you to know the 10 best colleges in Toronto for international students.

Why study in a College in Canada?

colleges publicos en canadá

The why? will depend on your current situation. For example, if you don’t have a higher education yet and want to develop a profession; studying in a College in Canada can be your best option to start since you will be able to develop a technical career in a short time. 

On the other hand, if you are a person that has a higher education and are looking for a career change instead, getting into a College can be very interesting for you. Because it allows you to develop, in theory and practice, short careers that you can validate later to complete new university studies if you wish.  

For any of these cases, one of the biggest advantages of going through a canadian College is the positioning of the educational system of the country, as we have mentioned before, it’s highly valued. 

You may also be interested in knowing the top 3 of the best Universities in Vancouver: what you should know.

What is the structure of a College course in Canada?

Every course of this kind has a theory and practicum component, basically you will find that the education it’s oriented to the quick integration into the labour market. 

  • Theory component: Besides knowing that you will learn the technical  foundation of the career you choose, you must know that canadian Colleges usually have modern facilities that simulate perfectly the implementation of your specialization. This means that everything you learn in theory you will bring it to practice almost immediately in a controlled environment.
  • Practicum component: This refers to the practicum realized at the end of the program, inside canadian companies. Meaning that at the end of the college program you will have the opportunity to start working immediately in real companies to validate your knowledge. You must know that this component is mandatory, which allows you to get into the work environment after you finish your career.

Estimated costs 

The estimated costs for College education depends enormously on the course and institution you decide to go. Nevertheless, if you want to know the average estimated costs, they are between 7.000 CAD and 18.000 CAD per year.

At this point it is important to highlight that certain professional programs from public and private Colleges in Canada, grant a work permit for a part time job while you are studying which will allow you to keep this investment the time you last studying. 

Public and Private Colleges, what are their differences and advantages?

colles publicos en canadá

Evaluating the differences between Public and Private Colleges in Canada is not a complicated task, because for us there are only two aspects that might be key for you to choose between them. The budget and level of english is what you need to analyze when you are deciding. 

The Private Colleges in Canada are a bit more economic for international students than Public Colleges. Besides, they are the first ones that allow you to  finance a portion of the payment corresponding to the total of your registration invoice. 

And the other difference we mentioned, the english proficiency required for both Colleges. In a Private the level of english required is inferior to the one required by Public Colleges. Meaning, while at a Public College a student requires IELTS 6-6.5, at a Private College a student can get in with a IELTS 5.5- 6. 

Now that you know the differences, pay attention to the advantages that you have when choosing a Public College to study in Canada. 

Advantages of studying in a Public College in Canada

colleges publicos y privados en canadá

The first and most important advantage a Public College has over a Private College in Canada, is related to how valued it is in the labour market is to have completed your studies in these institutions. This explains that despite Private Colleges are highly valued as well, the canadian labour market considers first the international students graduated from Public Colleges. 

Therefore, these types of institutions often provide a better opportunity for those international students from Latin American countries that are studying in Canada and are looking for experiencing the canadian work environment and evaluate the opportunity to make a life in this country to boost their professional development. 

In this case, a Public College offers you very interesting advantages, because it allows you to: 

  • Have a work permit for a part-time job while you are enrolled in your professional program. 
  • Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after you’ve completed your studies and got your title. This permit will allow you to work full time in Canada up to three years.
  • Additionally, if you have a partner this permit offers the possibility for them to work full time as a financial support for your studies.

In this context for example, Carlos studies Business Administration in a Public College, in that case: 

  1. Carlos will have developed facilities for his learning; that surely will feature companies open to the public for the studies internships. 
  2. Carlos could work part time to cover his studies.
  3. Carlos could bring his wife to Canada and she will have a work permit for a full time job. 
  4. If Carlos completes his career after 3 years, immediately he could apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit that will allow him to work full time in Canada for 3 years more together with his wife. 
  5. At this point, Carlos will speak native english for sure, will understand how life works in Canada and will want to keep enjoying the work opportunities that give and incredible experience for his studies. 

You may also like: 5 Study Programs in Canada for Business Professionals


Studying in a College in Canada, it’s without a doubt an important decision to make because as you have seen, it will significantly change your lifestyle and professional future. 

This is why having the most information possible will help you choose the right institution. Setting goals and objectives that you want to achieve in Canada will be essential to define which path you should follow to benefit from the opportunities that this country offers. 

In this sense, our recommendation is to clarify the differences and advantages of Private and Public Colleges, so you can know new reasons that will validate your decision.

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