If you’re interested in studying abroad but not sure where to go, here’s an exciting direction for you to consider: North. As an increasingly popular destination for students, there are so many great reasons to study in Alberta. Canada’s “Sunshine Province” offers quality education and career opportunities, competitive tuition rates, and an affordable cost of living. It’s a great place to start your studies and career!
Why Study in Alberta?
Home to six UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites, the stunning province of Alberta is known for its natural beauty, in addition to its diverse culture and booming industry. From Grande Prairie to Medicine Hat, it has so much to offer visitors and residents alike.
From its thriving cities to excellent research opportunities, here are just a few reasons Alberta is an incredible place to live, study, and work in:
- Alberta offers the highest median after-tax income in Canada
(Alberta: C$72,500 vs. Ontario: C$66,600 vs. British Columbia: C$65,700).
- See it all: from desert and badlands near Drumheller to the Rocky Mountains’ famous national parks like Banff and Jasper, to the aurora borealis and endless forests of northern Alberta.
- At 36 years of age, Alberta has the lowest median age of any Canadian province, meaning opportunities abound; the province is young and poised to grow dramatically in the coming years.
- The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) Post-Graduate and International Graduate categories offer post-graduation opportunities to international students.
- Over C$800 million is available in sponsored research funding to encourage postgraduate excellence.
- Looking for a bit of country in the city? Edmonton’s river valley park system is North America’s largest urban green space. It’s 22 times larger than New York City’s Central Park!
Narrowing things down, there are also plenty of excellent reasons to study in Alberta’s largest city, Calgary:
- In 2022, Calgary was ranked the world’s third most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index.
- Calgary is one of the sunniest places in Canada, with over 300 days of sunshine a year.
- The city is home to 60+ universities and colleges, including the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
- International graduates from Calgary’s public universities and colleges are eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
- It has the fastest-growing tech workforce in North America, making it Canada’s rising technology and innovation hub; that’s especially great for students in STEM looking for career opportunities after graduating.
Career and Employment Opportunities in Alberta
Another one of Alberta’s nicknames is “The Energy Province,” dating back to the discovery of oil in the Turner Valley area, south of Calgary, in 1914. Over 100 years later, oil and gas are still major employers, but the sector has diversified to include jobs in biofuels and renewable energy.
While Alberta’s energy industry is the largest contributor to its GDP, in 2022, the five sectors that employed the most people were:
- Wholesale and retail trade
- Health care and social assistance
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
In response to provincial needs, Alberta’s 2030 Building Skills for Jobs initiative is meant to “develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, strengthen innovation and commercialization of research, and forge stronger relationships between employers and post-secondary institutions.”
Some of the ways the province plans to support this initiative are to attract students from diverse sources and support rural institutions. This could mean international students will be offered even more exciting incentives to study in Alberta, especially in smaller communities.
Post-Grad Work Opportunities
Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program offers newly-graduated international students an open work permit for up to three years, so they can gain valuable Canadian work experience.
Alberta’s regional job banks can also inform students about employment opportunities in their field, and share graduate and internship opportunities.
Jobs in Alberta
Some in-demand occupations in Alberta include:
- Registered nurses and psychiatric nurses
- Accounting and related clerks
- Administrative officers
- Construction managers
- Software engineers and designers
Even outside of these fields, Alberta is flourishing overall and offers job opportunities of all kinds. The province’s economy is growing quickly and is forecasted to have the highest GDP growth in Canada
Featured Universities and Colleges in Alberta
Alberta is home to a variety of higher education institutions, including 3 polytechnical institutes, 8 public universities, and 17 colleges (10 public, 7 private). A few of ApplyBoard’s partner institutions in Alberta include:
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
SAIT is located in the vibrant and diverse city of Calgary and offers students academic coaching and tutoring. 91% of SAIT’s grads get hired, and 97% recommend a SAIT education.
SAIT has provided a top-quality education to international students from over 140 countries. Its beautiful campus offers plentiful amenities and support systems, as well as a diverse and inclusive community of peers to set students up for success.
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
NAIT offers students a number of facilities, diverse and inclusive campus support services, as well as hands-on experience to take into their careers.
NorQuest offers students flexible program options and workforce-relevant programming. The College helps identify learners’ strengths, work on their areas of need, and move them towards exciting learning paths and life-changing careers.
Concordia University of Edmonton
Concordia University of Edmonton is a globally aware university with a small, closely-knit community and a strong network of community members students can build relationships.
Bow Valley College
Bow Valley is in the heart of downtown Calgary, and offers volunteer opportunities, student services, workshops, and modern classrooms—everything students need to make the best of their student life.
Keyano College is committed to excellence, with many flexible certificate, diploma, university transfer, and academic collaboration options. Keyano also offers an International Preparatory Course (IPC) to help international students transition to life in Canada.
MacEwan University offers student-focused instruction in over 65 programs, with dedicated advisors to help international students transition to studying in Canada. The institution also provides students with a range of clubs, activities, and free wellness services.
Mount Royal University
Mount Royal University is located in the welcoming and diverse city of Calgary. It ranks among the top Canadian universities in student satisfaction and offers smaller class sizes for a more personalized student experience.
How ApplyBoard Supports Students and Institutions in Alberta
ApplyBoard is dedicated to helping international students discover Alberta and achieve their study-abroad dreams. Here’s a brief look at some of the work we do with colleges and universities to promote study-abroad pathways:
Turnaround Time Improvement
Our Partner Relations and Partner Sales teams are working with various institutions to improve overall application response turnaround times. This speeds up the application process, particularly for high-demand business programs.
We’re always excited to travel west to meet with partner institutions and sector leaders! Our next event will look at smart deployment of technology in, and digitization of, education in Alberta. The Ministry of Innovation will be hosting a Roundtable Discussion on work-integrated learning.
Familiarization Tour (FAM Tour)
ApplyBoard’s Partner Relations and Events teams are working on a FAM Tour to help promote the province to our recruitment partners. This exciting initiative will enable ApplyBoard partners from around the world to see Alberta, visit select institution campuses in person, and better understand the unique experience of living and studying here.
New Institution Partnerships
The ApplyBoard team is thrilled to note we’ve recently started working with Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP), Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP), and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). We’re helping to share these institutions’ unique programs and opportunities with international students in South Asia and beyond.
Excitingly, as part of our unique China expanded partnership, we are also thrilled to support the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Greater China.