There may be more than one way to acquire the skills and knowledge you need to make your next career move. Find out more about the training paths that may be available to you.
It’s true that to qualify for some types of work you must successfully complete specific learning requirements, such as a certificate or degree. Even so, there may be several possible education or training routes open to you.
Anika’s career goal is to provide bedside care for patients in a hospital setting. She could take many paths, such as:
- complete a health care aide certificate at a local college and go to work, or complete a bridging program for health care aides, then qualify as an LPN
- go directly into an LPN program at a college, complete the program and go to work, or complete a post–LPN bridging program at a university and pursue a nursing degree
- begin a university transfer program at a local college and transfer to a university bachelor of nursing (BN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BScN) degree program in her second or third year
- go directly to university and complete a BN or BScN degree program
- work full or part time while completing some health care aide, LPN, BN and BScN requirements by distance education.
Your training path
Your route to your career goal will probably be different from the example above, but you may also have several options to consider. It’s a good idea to evaluate each possibility by answering these questions:
- What skills and knowledge does this option provide?
- What credential does it offer?
- What credential, if any, do you need to work in this field? Check out Certification Requirements at OCCinfo for more information.
- What reputation or credibility does this option have among the employers you might want to work for?
- How relevant is this option for your career goal?
- What kinds of further learning or training can this option lead to?
- How well does this option fit with your personal situation?
Depending on your goals, any one of the following options—or several of them in combination—could be a good route for you.
Become an apprentice
Apprenticeship is a training opportunity that involves paid employment under the supervision of a qualified journeyperson and several weeks of classroom training each year. The length and terms of apprenticeship vary from one trade to another. Find out more about apprenticeship.
Train on the job
Many employers (police departments, oil and gas companies, etc.) offer on–the–job training for new employees. Some employers also offer training programs to help current employees upgrade their work–related skills or learn new ones. Employers may offer the training in-house or contract a third party, such as a professional association or an educational institution. For information about on–the–job training possibilities, ask a career advisor, talk to employers or contact industry associations, unions or professional associations related to the type of training you want .
Learn at a distance
Distance learning lets you study at your pace, in your own place, outside of the classroom. Learning material is delivered in a variety of formats, including online, print, video and teleconferencing. Programs range from high school upgrading to graduate degrees.
Distance learning gives you flexibility, including many part–time options, but it also requires a lot of self–discipline.
Before you enrol in a distance education program, check with other educational institutions and employers to make sure that they recognize and respect the credentials you would earn. Start your search for distant education.
Study part time
Part–time study allows you to take 1 or 2 courses at the same time as you continue to work, care for children or pursue other activities. Completing your studies on a part–time basis takes longer but many people find it easier to manage than a full–time commitment. Part–time distance learning offers a lot of flexibility. Explore some part–time options in the Educational Programs section at OCCinfo.
Study full time
Going back to school full time has many advantages:
- You can complete your studies in a shorter timeframe.
- You can focus on your studies and could achieve better marks as a result.
- If you’re on campus, you’re more likely to get support and encouragement from instructors and other students.
- You have a regular schedule of classes and assignments, so it's easier to stay motivated.
Attending classes full time requires time and financial resources. For information about scholarships, bursaries, grants and awards as well as student loan programs, visit Paying for Post–Secondary School.
Study on your own
If you know the skills and knowledge you need and you don't require a specific credential to find work, you can create your own program of study. A wealth of information is available online, in bookstores and public libraries. To be successful at this learning option you need very clearly defined goals and more determination and self–discipline than for any other option.
Find your learning path
Learning is an investment that usually pays for itself in increased earnings. Just as importantly, learning helps you stay motivated and makes your working life more satisfying. With more choices and flexibility than ever before about how, when and where to get the skills and knowledge you need, it’s a great time to choose a learning path and move forward in your career.