Colleges in Ontario - Get the Best in Education

Degree or Diploma?

Universities(or Degree Colleges) in Ontario typically provide degrees (i.e. B.Sc., MSc, Ph.D. ) whereas Ontario Community and Private Colleges typically provide diplomas and certificates. 

What is the difference between a degree and a diploma?

1. Program Duration

One of the most fundamental differences is the amount of time it takes to earn a degree. A full-time student can earn a bachelor’s degree (B.Sc) in four years whereas diploma programs can be considerably less time. Generally, a diploma will be faster to get than a bachelor’s degree.

Note: Often credits earned in a diploma program can be transferred (at least in part) to a bachelor’s degree program. If you already have a diploma, you might be able to get a degree with just two more years of study.  It depends on the educational institution so if you are thinking of upgrading, be sure to be evaluated by multiple institutions (and cut yourself the best deal at a degree college).

2. Tuition (Cost of Program)

Generally a degree program will cost you more per year in tuition than going after a diploma.  (Note: Item 6 below)  Also refer to the typical costs here.

3. Thinking Versus Hands-On

Ontario College degree programs train you to understand the subject material.  They teach you to think and to manage. To lead a team.

Ontario College Diploma programs teach you how to be part of the team and work with your hands on the shop floor.  Community colleges are legally known as “Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology” or CAATs.  They are applied learning institutions.

4. Career Opportunities

You can begin your career quickly in a technical or skilled-labor industry with a diploma. Examples of jobs you can get with a diploma include dental assistant, licensed practical nurse, cosmetologist, and more.

There are many careers that only require a diploma, but you may end up competing for jobs with candidates who hold bachelor’s degrees (or higher). An applicant with a bachelor’s degree will generally be thought of as more qualified/knowledgeable.

Fields like chemistry, pharmacy, biology, accounting, finance, and business management typically require a bachelor’s degree. Degrees certainly offer more opportunities for career advancement and promotion.

A bachelor’s degree is a must if you want to move to graduate studies (i.e. master’s or doctoral-level programs).

5. Unemployment

Statistically, people who have a bachelor’s degree are less likely to be unemployed than those with a diploma.

6. Income Level

Those who graduate with degrees, earn substantially more than those whom graduate with diplomas.  See average salaries here based on Statistics Canada Data.

7. Educational Ambience

When you leave high school, the jump into a Degree College is substantial. The pace of learning quickens and deepens.  Whereas a Diploma College (Community College) is more like a continuation of high school.  A couple of examples illustrating the difference would be:

–>Institutions don’t take typically take attendance when you go after your degree.

–> When you go after a Diploma, they will take your attendance.

–> The dining halls at some of the degree colleges around Ontario are amazing.  Rich history and Harry Potter like surrounds.

–> Diploma Colleges don’t have history or character in their  facilities. 

Degree College Example (Trinity College Toronto)
Another Trinity College Dining Hall Photo

8. Educational Excellence

Degree colleges (Universities) in Ontario have acclaimed professors in the subject matter being taught (e.g. John Charles Polanyi, James Orbinski, Donna Strickland) .

9. Education as a Legal Requirement

Legally in many fields in Ontario, you must be a degree holder to work or hold a position of authority. Why not get a degree if it opens doors?

As extracted from “Good Manufacturing Practices Guide for Drug Products” GUI-0001 Health Canada Publication for Industry
“The person in charge of your quality control department (if you are a fabricator, packager/labeller, tester, importer or distributor) and the person in charge of your manufacturing department (if you are a fabricator or packager/labeller):

a. must hold a Canadian university degree or a degree recognized as equivalent by a Canadian university or Canadian accreditation body in a science related to the work being carried out

b. must have practical experience in their area of responsibility”

The choice is up to you.