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   Career Education Sourcebook

Where To Get Your Career Training

While many Canadians receive career training at University or Community College, tens of thousands every year pursue other paths - receiving training through Union Training Programs, Professional Associations, Government Programs, Apprenticeships, and Career Colleges. Many Career Colleges belong to The National Association of Career Colleges (NACC). The information below comes courtesy of Cynthia Cooper, President of C/J Health Care Support College Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Career Colleges (OACC).

Career Colleges offer a unique, shorter-term, skill/ employment based education option. While this career training avenue is often less known than Universities or Community Colleges, Career Colleges have actually existed in the Province of Ontario for over 130 years, and in other provinces for a similar length of time. Career Colleges provide a cost-effective, efficient, job-ready form of education.

In Ontario, many Career Colleges are members of OACC. The OACC operates on a not-for-profit basis. The Association ensures that its members meet and maintain high quality standards so that their students are provided with the best possible education. But why choose a Career College? - because they offer what career oriented students need:

Niche Expertise: Career Colleges don’t offer the “everything to everyone” approach. Our schools are specialized, focused, and offer niche expertise in fields as diverse as health care, I.T., automotive, broadcasting, culinary arts, travel, and welding.

Time Savings: OACC Member Colleges, and many other Career Colleges and Training Centres operate year round, day and night, with multiple intakes. This allows students to start and study when they want, and to complete their studies more quickly. Many of these facilities offer online, or correspondence training too.

Experience: Career Colleges recruit industry experts who have more than just academic knowledge, but also have real-world, applied experience.

Career Colleges must succeed: Career Colleges receive no direct funding from government. We must rely on the satisfaction of our students, and the referrals which that satisfaction generates. We MUST provide applicable, up-to-date training. We are businesses, with a service to provide, and a product to sell. Like all businesses, our product must meet the needs of those most important to us - our students/ the customer.

Employment Assistance: Many Career Colleges invite employers to serve on Curriculum Development Advisory Committees. In addition, many maintain Active Employer Outreach Programs, and Employment Assistance Programs. All of this is done to establish contacts between you and your future employer, and to help you enter your chosen career.

Applicable and Practical: Our training is focused on ensuring students are job-ready upon graduation. Its an attractive approach to potential employers who can be assured the student/ their new employee is prepared for the demands of the job. OACC member colleges create their curriculum and examinations to ensure that graduates can/ do successfully attain industry certification. We achieve this through the use of the most current equipment and technology - just like in the business world into which our graduates will soon enter.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Its a question I’ve asked my children a hundred times. And a question my parents asked of me. Its a favourite play-time question for children everywhere, and the beginning of many games of make believe. But for High School students or those needing career re-training, its not a play-time question at all, but rather a question they must ask themselves every day. For these people the question isn’t “what do I want to be when I grow up”, but rather “what do I want to be now that I am grown up.” Its time to get serious. Its time to prepare for life.

When I was faced with that ‘question’ 20 odd years ago, I knew the answer. I wanted to work in International Development. But I had a problem. No teachers, no counsellors, just plain nobody, could tell me where to get the education I needed to prepare me for my career choice. But how could they, there were no sources of information on all the training opportunities this country had to offer. So I settled. I went to University. I studied what I could, and ended up in the publishing field. While it wasn’t my desired career path, it has given me an opportunity - to provide the information I, and my teachers and counsellors needed 20 years ago.

This book is a first. In all these years nobody else has produced a guide to cover Vocational Schools, Career Colleges, Union Training Programs, Association Training Programs, Professional Designation Programs, Apprenticeships, and International Study programs. When I was in High School and University I didn't even know these places existed. But here they are, providing you with hundreds of potential career paths you might not have known you could follow.

So have a look. Find a few places that might offer you the type of training that meets your interests. Then talk it over with your teachers, counsellors, family - they have the experience and expertise that can help you make the right decision. And by all means contact these places. While we tried our best to describe these places thoroughly, this book doesn't tell you everything - is the campus attractive?, are they financially sound?, is their a good student social life? Their inclusion does not imply our endorsement. These organizations have been included to help you choose your path - it could lead somewhere wonderful.

Stephen Froom,
Editor