Education: Don’t Have the Time or Money to Go Back to School? Think Again

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On September 7th, 2006, Heaslip House at Ryerson University celebrated its official opening. The recently renovated art deco building is the new home of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education. With more than 64,000 students, The Chang School is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education.

Phil Schalm, the Program Director of Community Services at the Chang School explained why Ryerson should be the first choice for new immigrants. “We offer the courses that people need on a part-time basis, so they don’t have to be unemployed to go to school. And you can get the courses you need with a great deal less red tape than through other institutions. You don’t have to go through the usual full degree program if you just need to take a couple specific courses to bring your qualifications to the North American standard.”

In the past, you would have had to apply to a university for admission to their traditional degree program. Once admitted, you could then apply to get into a particular course. This was a six to 10 month process, and in the end, space may not have been available in the course you needed. Schalm explains that, “The Chang School has the mechanism to reach into existing degree programs so people can get the courses they need and get on with their lives.”

The school’s mature students admission policy enables anyone over age 21 who has been out of school for at least two years to take selected courses. When you pass a course, they will issue a formal transcript to satisfy regulatory bodies and professional associations that you have obtained equivalency and are qualified to go back to work in your field. The Chang School works with employers to assure that what they are offering is exactly what is needed in the workplace.

If you are an internationally educated nurse, midwife, dietician or social worker, the Chang School offers bridging programs specially designed to help you gain the accreditation you need to work in your field in Canada. A similar program is being developed for internationally trained urban planners. If you are worried that you can’t afford it, Schalm says, “We have really paid attention to creating bursaries for part-time students. CESAR – the student union for part-time and continuing education students – offers $130,000 in bursaries each year. In addition the Chang School itself offers bursaries so that in any given year over a quarter of a million dollars in bursary support is available to part-time and continuing education students.” You can learn more about the bursaries available on their website www.ryerson.ca/ce.

On top of the bursaries they have the Leaders in Learning Awards – cash awards related to need, leadership and performance.

If you are a recent immigrant who feels that you need to go back to school in order to get the job you want – but don’t feel you have the time or money to do it consider The G. Raymond Chang School. With over 1,200 courses, workshops and seminars (80 percent of which carry university credit status) and over 200 distance education courses, The Chang School may be the solution you have been looking for.

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