Picking a Training Program

Question: I’m considering going back to school. What are some good post-secondary programs?

Good for you! 

Here in BC, the projections are suggesting that by 2024, three-quarters of jobs will require a post-secondary education so you are definitely increasing your odds of finding work by taking further education! 

However, investing in an education even for 2 years can be quite expensive. The Government of Canada suggests that tuition alone will cost between $2,500 to $6,500 per year.  This does not include books and supplies or any other costs associated with living.  On average, from 2014 to 2015, Canadians spent about $16,600 per year on education. That means that a 2-year diploma could set you back $33,200.

Before committing to a program, consider these steps:

Talk to Employers: If you are interested in a certain occupation, get in touch with a few employers and ask them what type of education they require. In particular, ask about what schools they hire from and if they give preference to students with co-op or work experience. 

Look at Labour Market Projections: The Province of BC has published a Labour Market Outlook which shows what occupations are expected to be in demand by 2024. As much as you may be drawn to a certain occupation, it is critical that the demand is there!   It is important to do your research to ensure that your field pays the wages you want and will have jobs available when you graduate. Take a look at the number of jobs posted for this particular type of job on industry-specific job boards or sites like LinkedIn.com or Indeed.com to get a sense of the demand.  

Some of the occupations expected to be in demand include engineering, architecture, HR, and social work, just to name a few.

Be Rigorous with Your School Choices:  All schools are not equal even though they may advertise that their graduates are highly employable. In fact, some private schools such as the University of Phoenix may be a detriment to having on your resume. For private schools, ask if the school tracks graduation employment rates and ask if you can get in touch with a previous graduate to get some additional feedback.  

Having worked in government-funded career services, I helped many clients get funding to go back to school. Clients who took education at public institutions did much better in finding work than clients from private schools.

Get to Know Yourself: Before investing in your education, it may be worth taking some time to explore your career options. You can do this informally by talking to friends and family.  You can take online assessments and quizzes to help you identify what key skills you possess, what your career values are, and where your interests are strongest. You might also want to invest in working with a career counsellor to get additional insights on what occupational options would be best suited for you.

Hope your schooling choice opens up a new world of opportunity for you! 

If you are struggling to find a career direction or pick a training program, consider working with Career Story. We provide affordable, professional career counselling services.  Contact us today at 604-614-3155 or info@careerstory.ca. You can also ask questions on our Facebook page at facebook.com/careerstoryca