Why You Should Study a Trade in Canada

February 9, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

In an ever-evolving job market, specialized skills in trade work remain as important as ever. This has increased the value of trade education as a pathway to success. Canada's thriving industries, from construction to healthcare, present endless possibilities for skilled tradespeople.

With hands-on learning experiences and apprenticeship opportunities, students gain invaluable practical skills essential for real-world success. Whether aiming for financial stability, career advancement, or professional fulfillment, studying a trade in Canada lays the foundation for a prosperous future.

Ready to better understand why you should study a trade in Canada? Clasp your hands on the key to securing stable employment in Canada's booming industries through trade education, paving the way for a successful and fulfilling career!

Trades in Canada

Trades in Canada are vital in driving the nation's economy, contributing significantly to its growth and development. With over 300 recognized trades and occupations, there's a diverse range of opportunities for individuals seeking a trade career. Among those trade occupations, 54 can have a Red Seal Trade designation.

Trade professionals enjoy competitive salaries and job security, making it an attractive career choice for many Canadians. Additionally, to meet its skilled trades demand, Canada plans to recruit over 256,000 new apprentices from 2022 to 2026, according to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Top Reasons Why You Should Study a Trade in Canada

Studying a trade in Canada offers several advantages, making it a compelling career choice. Some of the reasons why you should consider studying a trade in Canada include:

High Demand and Job Security in Canada

One of the primary reasons why studying trade in Canada is highly advantageous is the high demand and job security within the country's various industries. With an aging workforce and increasing retirements, the demand for skilled trades workers is only expected to rise in the coming years.

Canada's economy is fueled by the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology sectors, which rely heavily on skilled tradespeople to drive growth and innovation. This is reflected below in Canada's most in-demand skilled trades sectors and jobs, according to the ESDC.

In-demand Trade Sectors in Canada Job Examples in Each Trade Sector in Canada
Construction Electricians, Carpenters, Plumbers, Steamfitters/Pipefitters, Welders, Heavy Equipment Operators, and Painters
Transportation Automotive Service Technicians, Heavy-duty Equipment Technicians, Motorcycle Technicians
Manufacturing and Industrial Tool and Die Makers, Industrial Mechanics (Millwrights), Metal fabricators
Services Cooks, Bakers, Hairstylists, Landscape horticulturists
Information and Digital Technology Instrumentation and Control Technicians, and Machinists

This high demand translates into excellent job security for individuals with trade qualifications, providing stability and peace of mind in an ever-changing job market.

Shorter Trades Training Period in Canada

Unlike traditional academic routes that often require several years of study, trade education in Canada offers a shorter and more streamlined training period. Many trade programs and apprenticeships can be completed in months or a few years, allowing individuals to enter the workforce quickly and start earning a steady income.

This shorter training period reduces the financial burden associated with education and enables individuals to gain valuable hands-on experience and build their careers sooner.

Earning Potential in Canada

One of the most enticing aspects of pursuing a trade in Canada is the significant earning potential it offers. Skilled tradespeople in Canada often enjoy competitive salaries and attractive compensation packages, reflecting the value placed on their specialized skills and expertise.

Whether working as electricians, plumbers, welders, or HVAC technicians, trades professionals can earn a comfortable living and achieve financial stability for themselves and their families. This is especially true for skilled tradespeople from developing countries, as reflected below with average monthly net salaries obtained from

Countries Average Monthy Salary After Tax (CAD)
Canada 3,917.73
Pakistan 809.72
Ghana 246.18
Nigeria 92.20

Hands-On and Practical Experience in Canada

Another key advantage of studying a trade in Canada is emphasizing hands-on, practical experience. Trade education programs prioritize experiential learning, allowing students to develop their skills in real-world settings under the guidance of experienced professionals. Many of Canada’s trade schools are in Times Higher Education’s rankings as a testament to its prestige. This includes:

  • St. Lawrence College,
  • Fanshawe College,
  • College of the North Atlantic,
  • Fleming College,
  • North Island College, and
  • Conestoga College.

Whether through apprenticeships, co-op placements, or simulated work environments, students gain invaluable hands-on experience that prepares them for the challenges and demands of their chosen trade.

Find out more about the best trade schools in Canada.

Access to Global Opportunities

Studying trade in Canada opens doors to opportunities within the country and provides access to global opportunities. Canada's reputation for high-quality education and skilled workforce makes Canadian trade qualifications highly valued internationally. This means that individuals with Canadian trade certifications have the flexibility to work abroad and explore opportunities in other countries.

Learn more about global opportunities with Canada’s Global Talent Stream.

Affordability and Work-Study Balance in Canada

Unlike other countries where education costs can be prohibitively high, studying a trade in Canada is often more affordable and accessible. Many trade programs offer competitive tuition rates, and financial assistance options are available to eligible students. The flexible nature of trade education allows individuals to balance their studies with part-time or full-time work, ensuring they can earn an income while pursuing their education.

Learn more about Canada’s affordable education with Student Life: Studying in Canada vs Australia.

Fulfilling Trade Career in Canada

One of the most rewarding aspects of studying a trade in Canada is the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling and meaningful career. Trades professionals play a crucial role in building and maintaining the infrastructure, facilities, and services that support communities and improve quality of life.

Whether constructing homes, repairing vehicles, installing electrical systems, or providing essential services, tradespeople make tangible contributions to society daily.

Transferable Skills and Further Trades Education in Canada

Finally, studying a trade in Canada equips individuals with specialized skills and knowledge and provides a solid foundation for further education and career advancement. The transferable skills acquired through trade education, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication, are highly valued across various industries and professions.

Find out more about how to prepare for life in Canada as an international student.

How Can You Study a Trade in Canada

To be able to study in Canada as a foreigner or immigrant, you must apply for and obtain a Canadian study permit.

Canada Study Permit

A Canada study permit is a document issued by the Canadian government that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada, which is mandatory for all international students, except those studying in a program that is less than 6 months. The study permit costs 150 CAD and will be valid for your study program period and additional for 90 days.

Learn how to apply for a Student Visa in Canada.

Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a program offered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows for faster processing of study permits for international students. The processing time for most SDS applications is within 20 calendar days, although some applications may take longer.

The SDS is designed to make applying for a Canadian study permit more efficient and is available to residents and citizens of 14 participating Asian, African, and Latin American countries. There is no paper application for the SDS, and applicants are required to apply online to benefit from faster processing.

Find out more about Canada’s Student Direct Stream.

Can You Work in Canada as a Trades Student?

Absolutely! As a trade student, you can work in Canada under certain conditions. International students studying trades in Canada can work off campus without a work permit if they meet specific requirements, such as being a full-time student at a DLI and enrolling in a post-secondary academic, vocational (trade), or professional training program.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Candian Experience Class (CEC) offer pathways to Canadian permanent residency for skilled trades with experience and who want to live and work in Canada.

Find out more about popular part-time jobs for students in Canada.


Where Can I Find Study Abroad Scholarships For Canada?

You can find study abroad scholarships for Canada through various sources such as government agencies, international organizations, universities, and private foundations, each offering financial assistance to eligible students pursuing their education in Canada. Educanada is the authoritative source for international scholarships in Canada.

What Are The Prospects For Career Growth in The Trades Sector in Canada?

The prospects for career growth in the trades sector in Canada are promising, with ample opportunities for advancement, specialization, and entrepreneurship, driven by the country's growing economy, aging workforce, and ongoing demand for skilled tradespeople across diverse industries.

Can I Transfer My Trade Certification to Another Province or Country?

Yes, trade certifications obtained in Canada are generally transferable between provinces and territories through interprovincial Red Seal endorsement, and many are also recognized internationally, providing tradespeople with flexibility and mobility to work in different regions or countries where their skills are needed.