As the cost of living rises in Canada, here are five questions to ask yourself before pursuing education, accreditation or professional development

Published April 4, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In summary:
  • Ensure you understand the full costs and time commitment required to study, get accredited or train toward a new career in Canada.
  • Make certain the job market in the area you want to study is strong and the skills you’re learning are in-demand.
  • Reflect on your personal situation, both financially and in terms of supports in your life, to determine if this commitment is right for you.

As a skilled newcomer to Canada, the decision to go back to school or pursue professional development courses is a big one. On one hand, more education or training can help you reach your Canadian career advancement goals, faster. On the other hand, the financial cost can be significant.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices for everything from groceries and household items to transportation and utilities have increased at the fastest pace in this country since 1991. Meanwhile, depending on whether you are trying to get licensed to return to your profession or complete a virtual training course to make a career switch, the costs can quickly add up and reach thousands of dollars. This means before making a big financial commitment, you have to be equipped with the right information and ask the right questions.

To help you better understand the costs and benefits of pursuing accreditation, education, training or professional development in Canada, Windmill Microlending connected with the Career Paths team at Douglas College located in British Columbia. They outlined five key questions new Canadians should ask themselves to help them make the best decision for them.

Douglas College Training Group logo

The Career Paths team at Douglas College in BC shares some important questions for newcomers to consider before they invest in education or professional development to achieve career success.

1) What do you know about the steps to land employment in your field?

Being informed about the steps you need to take to achieve career success in Canada is a necessity. Education does not equal employment; it is a mistake to assume that with certain qualifications employment is guaranteed. Fully understanding the requirements of Canadian regulatory bodies and employers, first, before choosing the relevant training is a wise decision. It is also very important to consider the costs to retrain or upgrade skills and the time necessary to do so. To make an informed choice, people need to also understand related career path for skilled immigrants. For example, a dentist arriving in Canada, may want to evaluate their options and decide whether they pursue re-licensing to become a dentist or instead become a dental hygienist, industry consultant or a technician.

Did you know a low-interest Windmill loan can help you pay for the cost of living while you study in Canada? Find out about the different uses for our microloans here.

2) Have you evaluated the costs and time required?

For some individuals, an investment in education or professional development courses is an investment in yourself and it is borrowing against time. It might be feasible to go into debt knowing that this is temporary and it will enable the realization of a stable job to support repayment of that debt. It’s important to look at what resources you have. If you’re choosing to go back to school full-time or even part-time, you’ll need to anticipate earning less money while you are studying. Take stock of your resources. Ask yourself who you can rely on in your personal circle to offer a helping hand when you need it. Identify all of your options first before committing to education, training or professional development.

3) What’s the job outlook where you wish to work?

Being fully qualified is certainly an asset but it is also vital to consider the job market itself and whether the specific occupation you’re interested in is expanding, changing, decreasing or even becoming obsolete. Researching the labour market outlook of this profession in this region at this moment in time might be essential before investing time, money and energy in further education. Speaking directly with professionals in that occupation, or a career coach, might provide a window into the market and insights that might not be visible online. You can also refer to Windmill’s Trending Jobs Report which breaks down in-demand job opportunities for every province and territory in Canada.

4) What are others saying about the education program you’re interested in?

Some education and professional development programs are better than others. Invest time in doing thorough research to ensure the education and/or educational institution you are choosing is recognized by employers or regulators in your field. Networking with other professionals in your field or seeking mentorship can help. You may also consider career guidance from non-profit organizations that offer settlement and cultural integration services.

5) What are your personal circumstances?

Every person’s story is different and every individual is driven by personal values and personal needs. Landing a job as soon as you have landed in Canada might be a priority. However, when considering the bigger picture of your life vision, it’s worth pausing and reflecting on what you want to accomplish in the long term and whether your initial professional decision still stands. It might also be important to identify what supports you have access to, so that you can choose the right pathway suitable for your needs. Having a plan with realistic short-term and long-term goals can help to ensure you achieve your career advancement aspirations.

Learn more about Douglas College’s Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program.

Windmill’s affordable loans can be used to help you pay for accreditation, education, training or professional development you need to reach your career goals in Canada. Take our two-minute quiz to find out if you are eligible for a microloan of up to $15,000 from us.

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Accreditation and Licensing, Financial Planning, Education and Training,