Private career colleges

Private career colleges offer specialized and licensed job training programs to Alberta students.


Career training programs span a wide range of fields. Program options range from office administration, business management, massage therapy and health care. Training is designed to give students the skills they need to find a job after they graduate.

Training programs are taught by private career colleges, which are also Alberta businesses.

More than:

  • 25,000 students enrolled in licensed programs at private career colleges last year
  • 190 private career colleges offer about 980 licensed programs throughout Alberta
  • 79% of licensed private career college graduates found jobs in 2018-19

Licensed career training

The Private Vocational Training Act and Regulation:

  • require career training programs that cost more than $1,000 to be licensed
  • allow private institutions to be part of the province’s post-secondary system
  • provide consumer protection to students enrolled in licensed programs

The licensing process determines if the program meets an industry standard and need. It also confirms that the private career college offering the program is financially sound.

Licensing programs at private career colleges provides many advantages for private career colleges, and for the students and industries they serve, including:

Consumer protection

Licensed career programs provide quality training that meets industry standards. Licensing also ensures student rights are protected.

Eligibility for student aid

Programs must be licensed for students to be eligible for provincial and federal student aid. Students attending non-licensed private career programs do not meet eligibility requirements, and need to find other ways to pay for their education.

Learn more about student aid eligibility.

Ability to enrol international students

Canadian study permits are only provided to students enrolled in designated learning institutions.

Please note that international students studying at a private career college are not eligible for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program.

Find out how to get a career program licence.


Admission requirements and dates vary by licensed career training program and private college. Training is typically offered at different times than the standard school year.

Contact the private career colleges you’re considering for details.

Find out what to consider before you enrol in a career training program.

Find a private career college

Search for private career colleges and licensed training programs in Alberta.

Government monitoring

Government monitors private career colleges after they are licensed in two ways:

Annual reports

Private career colleges submit annual reports to government, including data on:

  • student graduation
  • job placement

If the program does not maintain graduation and job placement rates above 70% for 4 consecutive reporting periods, the program's licence could be cancelled.

Compliance reviews

Government reviews help confirm private career colleges are complying with their licensing requirements.

Find out more about career college accountability and reporting.