Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.


Levels of Education in Canada

Updated: June 15th, 2023

Canada is renowned for its excellent education system, which offers students a comprehensive range of options at various stages of their academic journey. Levels of education in Canada are split into four categories: preschool, elementary school, high school education, and post-secondary education.

Canada’s educators are highly qualified and possess a level of education that allows them to deliver teaching and tutoring services that are some of the world’s best. Canada’s multicultural demographics allows the student body to bring diverse and inclusive viewpoints to the classroom. Most university educators hold an international degree. This allows them to teach at various tertiary institutions at any specific level of study in Canada.

Four Levels of Education in Canada

four levels of education

Canada offers preschool to young children, ages four to five years old before they begin elementary school at age six. Most provinces offer one year of preschool education, which is most often called Kindergarten.

Provinces such as Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta offer additional years of free preschool education before a child starts primary school, e.g.children younger than age four.

If your province does not offer free preschool to children under the age of four, you have the option of enrolling your child at a private school until they reach the eligible age to attend public preschool in your province.

Elementary School in Canada

Elementary school in Canada begins a student's educational journey. Also known as primary school, it typically caters to students aged between 5 to 11 years old. Elementary education in Canada provides a solid foundation in core subjects such as mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. Alongside academic learning, elementary schools in Canada develop essential life skills, social interaction, and physical education.

At this level of education in Canada, students are usually taught by the same teacher for the whole year, and receive all their lessons in the same classroom. Special education programs may have one to four teacher assistants to assist the teacher during the day. The number of teacher assistants present depends on the type of disabilities the students have and the severity of the conditions.

Middle School in Canada

Following elementary school, students transition to middle school in Canada, which covers grades 6 to 8 or 7 to 9, depending on the province. Middle school in Canada serves as a bridge between elementary school and high school, preparing students for the challenges of secondary education.

In grade seven, students attend different classrooms throughout the school day, and they have different teachers for every class. During this stage, students continue to build upon their academic skills while exploring a wider range of subjects.

The purpose of middle school education is to prepare students for high school by creating a routine similar to that of a high school environment. Middle school in Canada focuses on fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent learning abilities.

High School Education in Canada

High school or secondary education in Canada is a crucial phase in a student's academic journey and typically covers grades 9 to 12 or 10 to 12, according to each individual Canadian province. Canadian high schools offer diverse courses, allowing students to tailor their education based on their interests, strengths, and future goals.

Besides compulsory subjects, high school students can choose elective courses in areas such as arts, sciences, humanities, and vocational studies. In Canada, high school or secondary education prepares students for post-secondary education or entry into the workforce.

Post-secondary Education in Canada

Post-secondary education in Canada encompasses universities, colleges, and institutes that offer degree programs, diplomas, certificates, and professional courses. Canadian universities are renowned worldwide for their high academic standards and research opportunities, attracting students from around the globe.

Colleges and institutes, on the other hand, focus on providing practical skills and vocational training for specific industries. Many students attend college as a way to prepare themselves for university education. In contrast, others attend college to obtain a qualification that will allow them to enter the workforce immediately after they have completed their course.

Post-secondary education in Canada offers various disciplines and programs to suit various career aspirations. Learn more about the differences between colleges and universities in Canada.

Private Vocational (trade) Schools and Internships in Canada

Besides traditional educational institutions, Canada also offers private vocational (trade) schools and internships for students seeking hands-on training and specialized skills.

Private vocational schools provide industry-specific training in culinary arts, healthcare, technology, and trades. Students who attend these institutions can enter the workforce after they have completed their program.

These programs equip students with practical skills and knowledge to enter the workforce directly. On the other hand, internships offer students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field while studying. Both private vocational schools and internships provide alternative pathways to career success.

How Can I Apply to Study in Canada?

how can I apply to study in canada

If you are interested in studying in Canada, there are certain steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth application process. The first requirement for international students is obtaining a Canada Study Permit, which serves as a student visa.

Canada Study Permit

To apply for a Canada Study Permit, you need a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, proof of financial support, and a clean criminal record. It is important to start the application process in advance to allow for sufficient processing time.

Ensure you have enough money to pay for your application’s Canada Study Permit fees, which are as follows:

Canada Study Permit Fees
Fee Amount in Canadian dollars (CAD)
Study permit (per person) 150
Restore status = 200 + new study permit = 150 350
Biometrics (per person) 85
Biometrics - Maximum fee for a family of 2 applying at once 170
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) 7

Find out more about how to apply for a Canada study Permit.

Benefits of Studying in Canada

benefits of studying in canada

Studying in Canada offers numerous benefits that make it an attractive choice for international students. Here are some of the key advantages:

High Standard of Education

Canada is known for its high standard of education, with its universities consistently ranking among the top in the world according to QS World University Rankings. The World Education Services (WES) recognizes Canadian degrees and diplomas globally, providing students with an excellent foundation for their future careers.

Affordable Student Fees

Compared to other popular study destinations, Canada offers affordable tuition fees for both domestic and international students. Additionally, the cost of living in Canada is relatively reasonable, making it an accessible option for those seeking quality education without breaking the bank.

Enriching Student Life

Canadian educational institutions prioritize the holistic development of students by offering a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports. This enriches the student experience and provides opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and cultural exchange. Learn more about student life in Canada.

Multicultural Educational Environment

Canada embraces diversity and multiculturalism, creating an inclusive educational environment for students from all backgrounds. Studying in Canada exposes students to different cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking, fostering a global mindset and preparing them for a diverse workforce.

Learn more about the benefits of studying in Canada.


Which Canadian Province Has the Highest Concentration of Schools?

Ontario, the most populated province in Canada, has the highest concentration of schools. It is home to numerous prestigious universities, colleges, and schools, offering various educational opportunities.

What Are the Top Universities in Canada?

Canada boasts several top-ranked universities that consistently excel in various academic disciplines.

Want to learn more about Canada? Subscribe to our newsletter and get an e-book on Canadian immigration filled with mesmerizing sights of Canada!

Please enter a valid phone number. is a private recognized immigration agent and is not affiliated with the Canadian Government.
Privacy policy