Private colleges in Ontario offer training programs in varied industries. Many, which are registered with the Province, can be found on the website of Career Colleges of Ontario.
Teaching subjects offered at registered private career colleges include:
- Beauty & Massage
- Culinary Arts
- Health Care
- Language Schools
- Legal Administration
- Media Recording Art
- Science Engineering
These programs may be more expensive than courses offered by community colleges, industry groups, government, and non-profit organizations. However, students at registered private colleges may be eligible for financial assistance (through a combination of grant and loan) under the Ontario Student Assistance Program.
“What you need to know about attending a private career college in Ontario,” on a government of Ontario website, outlines the status of these private colleges.
Before enrolling in a private college in Ontario, newcomers and their private sponsors are strongly advised to consider a report jointly published in 2013 by Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership and WoodGreen Community Services, entitled “Hard lessons: Newcomers and Ontario Private Colleges”. The report found that many newcomers:
- enrolled because courses required less time to complete, or were more flexible in terms of classroom scheduling;
- were admitted with less English language proficiency than stipulated, resulting in less learning;
- were convinced to enrol by high-pressure sales techniques and incomplete or misleading disclosure of fees payable and government assistance available;
- complained about poor teaching standards and facilities;
- discovered placement opportunities to be non-existent or inadequate; and
- discovered that newcomers graduating from private colleges were having poorer employment outcomes, compared to those graduating from community colleges.
This Woodgreen/Toronto South LIP study also noted that “Private colleges offering non-vocational programs, language training, programs less than 40 hours in length, programs costing less than $1000, professional development programs and hobby courses are not required to be registered.”
See also these published media reports offering further evidence for caution:
- “Quality of education at Ontario’s private career colleges questioned” (Globe and Mail, July 1/16)
- “Ontario’s private-college grads not finding jobs, provincial numbers show” (Globe and Mail , May 22/16)