Skills & Talent

Breadth of Credentials

Credentials Designed for Labour Market Integration

Canada’s polytechnics offer education and training to those looking to enter the labour market for the first time, those looking to upgrade their skills at mid-career and those seeking to re-enter the labour market after being displaced. Our member institutions offer a broad range of credentials and program options suited to every requirement.


Two-year diploma and three-year advanced diploma programs are typically continuous, intense programs of study preparing students for employment in technological, technical, para-professional and professional occupations. Studies combine applied theory and practical skills – of the over 1,000 diploma programs offered by our members, more than 60% include a work-integrated learning component. In 2018-19, 47,000 students graduated from diploma programs. Graduates of the previous cohort achieved an employment rate of 86%.


Certificate programs are focused, one-year programs offering learners an on-ramp to a career path or other post-secondary programs. In some cases, certificate programs can be completed over several months or years by taking one or more courses at a time. Collectively, Polytechnics Canada members offer more than 600 certificate programs.


Polytechnics have an enduring focus on the skilled trades. While roughly 80% of skilled trades training takes place on-the-job, many apprentices rely on post-secondary institutions for their technical training levels. Technical training provides apprentices with opportunities to examine the theory behind their trade, practice a broader range of scenarios than might be offered by their employer and learn about new technologies impacting their profession. In 2019-20, over 30,000 apprentices trained at one of Canada’s polytechnics.

Learn more about how polytechnics are training the next generation skilled trades workforce by downloading Canada’s Polytechnics and the Skilled Trades.

Bachelor Degrees

One of the distinctive features of Canada’s polytechnics is their ability to offer four-year Bachelor degrees. Polytechnics provide a combination of theory and hands-on experience valued by employers, which is why 76% of all degree programs include a work-integrated learning component. In 2019-20, our institutions offered 214 standalone degrees, as well as 27 in partnership with universities.

Post-Graduate Certificates

Post-graduate certificates offered by Polytechnics Canada members deepen learner knowledge and skills in a specialized occupational area. Prerequisites vary based on the program and institution, but many require students to have previously completed a diploma, advanced diploma or Bachelor’s degree. Our members offer 385 post-graduate programs, often with a work-integrated learning component, giving learners from various post-secondary backgrounds access to specialized training in high-demand occupations. The latest cohort of graduates had an employment rate of over 90%.