Future Plans in Canada
Will my employer ask about the name of my university?
In Canada, it is standard to apply for any position with a curriculum vitae (c.v.) in which we put our university education, including the name of the educational institutions where we studied, and the diploma or degree granted. Because almost 100% of Canadians do their degrees at public universities, and educational quality is highly standardized, Canadian employers know that the name of the university is not a key signal of the quality of education.
Regarding a student’s home country, it is natural that employers will not have wide familiarity with universities around the world except for a very small number of names (Harvard, Stanford, etc.). Generally speaking, employers around the world are familiar with Canada’s strong reputation for consistently strong higher education quality.
How do I become a nurse/doctor/lawyer/pharmacist/engineer in Canada?
The Canadian system for becoming a recognized member of many professions is different from much of the world, though similar to the system in the USA.
Almost all medical students complete a bachelor's degree first. To be competitive, the student’s academic standing must be very strong. Most students complete a science-based major, usually a Bachelor of Science - this is considered “pre-med”, or pre-medicine, whether it is officially called that or not.
Some medical schools also admit students from other academic backgrounds such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Engineering) though such students may need to take some science courses as prerequisites before starting medical school.
A big advantage of the Canadian system is that students do not need to choose their specialization too soon in their lives. The CUAC can guide students as to a suitable pre-medical program but we cannot assist with admission to medical schools. There are very few seats available for international students in our medical schools, so we can help you map out a pathway that makes sense for you.
To be a lawyer, one must complete a three-year law school program. Like medicine, in most cases, this requires completion of a bachelor's degree in high academic standing. Law schools are open to candidates with any degree on an equal footing (e.g. science, engineering, philosophy, anthropology, business, and so on, without exception).
The CUAC can assist students wanting to study almost any bachelor's degree program which will satisfy the requirements for law school admission. The CUAC can also assist with students wanting legal studies as a bachelor's degree (criminology, law and justice). However, to be a practicing lawyer, such students still need to go on to a three-year law school degree. The CUAC can also help with admission to some Master of Laws programs (LLM) for those already practicing law in their home countries.
Most pharmacy programs will first require some bachelor's degree study in high standing and many successful candidates will first complete a bachelor's degree.
The CUAC can assist students with pre-pharmacy programs but not with admission to pharmacy degree programs. As with medicine, there are very few seats available for international students.
Engineering and Nursing
Students can enter these programs directly after high school with sufficient academic standing in the right courses (engineering emphasizes physics, mathematics and chemistry and nursing emphasizes biology and chemistry). Following graduation, each profession has a system for satisfying the requirements of gaining professional recognition as a licensed engineer or nurse.
Will the university guarantee me a job after graduation?
Usually not, but many specialized technical or professional programs do have job placement rates of nearly 100%. General programs at universities, colleges and polytechnic institutions all have sophisticated support systems for graduating students. These supports guide students on preparing their curriculum vitae (c.v. or resumé), developing interviewing skills, searching for employment, and many other aspects that better prepare graduating students.
Canadian institutions are each strong in offering students work experience related to their field of studies, called “co-operative studies” or “co-op” for short. This allows students to get better preparation for their careers often giving them very well paid positions throughout their studies.
Can I stay in Canada after I graduate?
Canada offers a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The length of the permit depends upon the length of the study. A one year period of study (2 full-time semesters) will normally lead to a one-year work permit. However, a two year period of study (4 full-time semesters) will normally lead to a three-year work permit.
Canada is also the top country in the world, and has been for decades, in giving people further opportunity to stay permanently (permanent resident - PR - status). There are a large number of programs including some only available to international students, under which they can apply for PR after they graduate and gain work experience.
For anyone with PR status, there is currently a waiting period of 3 years before citizenship status can be granted. PR status has all the entitlements of citizenship except some voting rights and the right to a Canadian passport.
The CUAC reports the latest news on new announcements concerning the PGWP or PR opportunities. These reports are at our blog.
How can I get permanent residence?
There are many systems for getting permanent status in Canada. The primary system offered by the government of Canada is called “Express Entry” and is a system based on points in which international students get a preferential number of points after graduation.
The government of Canada also offers each province opportunities to create incentives for students to study in different regions where more highly trained people are needed. For example, Ontario has a program to attract students to its northern, more rural, communities called RNIP. Nova Scotia has a program to attract international students to all over the province to help it satisfy the growing needs and demands of companies moving to Halifax or expanding their business operations in the province.
While the offer of a work permit after graduation is guaranteed (as long as the program and school is approved- all CUAC partners are), getting PR is not guaranteed. One must satisfy the qualifications of whatever program they are applying through.
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What are the employment prospects in Canada?
As a G-7 nation, Canada has one of the most advanced and diversified economies in the world. There is almost no industry not available in Canada, from pharmaceutical research, bioengineering, to producing planes, trains, automobiles ,and satellites.
The Canadian higher education system is designed to make students flexible, adaptable, and prepared for a fast-changing world. We Canadians don’t just focus our education on preparing to get a job after we finish our studies but, rather, to enable us to keep adding skills and be ready even to change careers later.
The Canadian unemployment rate has been very low for about four decades.
Finding employment in any Canadian city depends upon a variety of factors including the industry, position, and the candidate’s personal qualifications and suitability. In Canada, a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows a student to work anywhere in Canada after graduation.