Choosing a trade school or program in Canada can be a difficult and time-consuming choice for international students. At first you will need to make many decisions, such as what areas of specialization interest you and the importance of cost, location and other similar factors. Once you have decided on these, you will still need to undertake a significant exploration and consultation to focus your interests and choice of a trade school in Canada.

Here is a step-by-step process to help international students evaluate each school or program:

  • Visit the school's website. Most trade and apprenticeship schools provide detailed information about their programs - i.e., which programs are offered, amount of tuition and fees, admission requirements and intake times, student demographics, faculty qualifications, industry experience and accomplishments, and more! Often the institution's website will provide a "Q&A" or FAQ page which will answer the most common international student questions about the institution and its programs.

  • Speak with or email an admissions counselor or program head at the school if possible: they have a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and study programs that can lend a perspective to your decisions, and sometimes lead you in new directions.

  • Research other sources of information. There is a wealth of things that you can do here:

    • Find or ask to be put in touch with past graduates of the school or program and talk with them about their experiences while a student. Consult the school's international student office (if they have one) as well to see if they can put you in touch with any current or former international students in the program. Since perhaps the most difficult admission requirement is finding a job with an employer who is a journeyman or who employs a journeyman in the trade of the applicant's choice, find out where past graduates got started and contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to make sure you have the right paperwork.

    • Confirm which employers have recruited graduates in the past and contact their human resources departments to determine their satisfaction with the school's graduates and programs, whether they continue to recruit from the school, and whether they value it over others on a regular basis.

    • Search the Internet for information on awards and achievements bestowed on specific trade schools or programs in Canada - competitions won, instructor honours, etc.

    • Consult Facebook and other social networking sites that may provide testimonials and other student comments on specific trade and apprenticeship schools and programs in Canada.
    Then match these facts and figures against the Canadian trade and apprenticeship schools and programs you are evaluating.