Training & education in B.C.

British Columbia’s schools are among the best in the world. The cost of studying here is lower than in many other locations. We offer exceptional elementary and secondary schools. Our universities and post-secondary institutions are known world-wide. We offer support for international students and for those wishing to learn English as a second language.


Post-secondary Education

British Columbia is home to internationally recognized universities and educational institutes. You can choose from small rural colleges to large urban campuses and from trades to academic programs. Students can attend class full-time or part-time or study from home through online programs.

Public Institutions

Three types of public post-secondary institutions operate in British Columbia:

  • Universities offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Some also offer courses and programs that can lead to a certificate or diploma. Some offer English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.
  • Colleges offer courses leading to certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and applied degrees. Some offer ESL programs.
  • Institutes may offer credentials from certificates to degrees. Institutes are organized by career, vocational and technical specialty, and offer training for a number of occupations.

To learn more about public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, visit LearnLiveBC and the EducationPlannerBC.

Private Institutions

British Columbia also has a number of private degree-granting institutions, career training institutions and English as a Second Language (ESL) schools. To find out more about private career training institutions in B.C., visit the Private Training Institutions Branch website.

Costs and Financial Help

Students pay fees that cover part of the cost of public universities, colleges and institutes. Each post-secondary school and each program has different fees. The B.C. government assists students who need financial help and who have lived in B.C. for 12 months before their program starts. To find out about student loans, scholarships and grants, talk to the financial aid office at the college, institute or university you plan to attend. Visit StudentAid BC.

Learn English

You will need to speak, read and write in English to work or study in B.C. Good English language skills will help you work in your profession, take care of daily activities and find success in B.C.

Permanent residents may be eligible for free English language classes. You will need to pay for private language classes.

Adult Basic Education

You may need to take a few more high school courses to receive your diploma, to upgrade so that you qualify for some jobs or before attending a post-secondary school. Find out which institutions and school districts offer adult upgrading, read a helpful handbook that provides detailed information about the program, and learn about grants that you may be eligible for.

Upgrade your qualifications

If a regulatory body or your employer decides that you need more training or experience to work in B.C., there are several programs and services that may useful:
  • Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program. B.C. has a growing economy and an expanding job market. Using an approach tailored to your situation Career Paths can help you find the perfect employment fit.
  • Bridging Programs. Regulatory authorities often work with schools to provide special programs that can help you work in B.C. If you work in a regulated occupation, check with your regulatory authority.
  • Post-secondary institutions. Colleges and universities offer short-term courses and degree programs. Learn more about B.C. post-secondary institutions at LearnLiveBC.
  • Employment Guides. The Skilled Immigration Infocentre publishes guides about industries ranging from accountants to welders. They contain information about the types of jobs within industries, the aptitudes and qualifications you would need for each industry, job search tips and more.