Tips | Professional Schools
A professional degree is a program of advanced learning which leads to an occupation governed by a mandatory regulatory body. Professional programs usually require an undergraduate degree as well as a professional degree and designation or license to use the professional title and actively practice the profession. Most professions require practicing members to engage in ongoing continuing education in order to retain their designation. Examples of Canadian professional programs are included below.
*Contact the individual school or academic department directly for the most up-to-date admissions information
1. Applying to Dentistry
Schools in Ontario
For a full listing of accredited Canadian universities offering Dentistry programs, as well as schools offering Dental Hygiene and Assisting training visit: https://www.cda-adc.ca/cdacweb/en/ (select “search for accredited programs”)
Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) is required by U of T and UWO
The DAT is administered by dental schools to help students assess their capacity for a career in dentistry and to assist dental schools with admissions. The DAT is designed to measure manual dexterity, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, as well as science knowledge including biology and chemistry.
For information about the DAT including test dates, visit the Canadian Dental Association’s website.
Useful Links on Dentistry
National Dental Examining Board of Canada: (on becoming a licensed dentist)
Learn about related careers in dentistry: (ie. Dental hygienist, technician, assistant)
2. Applying to Nursing
Below is a partial list of Ontario universities offering accelerated nursing degree programs. For a full list of accredited nursing programs visit the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing website.
Accelerated & Second Entry
- Accelerated programs are shorter in duration (“compressed or fast-tracked”) and applicable to applicants with existing and relevant university-level studies (varies by school).
- Second entry programs typically run for up to two years and are available to applicants with a completed university degree (requirements vary by school).
Nursing Programs in Ontario
- McMaster University Nursing
- Queen’s University Nursing
- York University Nursing
- Ottawa University Nursing
- Western University Nursing
- Trent University Nursing
Useful Links on Nursing
- Learn about nursing careers including RPN; RN, Nurse Practitioner
- College of Nurses of Ontario
- Ontario Nurses’ Association
- Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
- Canadian Nurses Association
- The Canadian Nursing Students’ Association
3. Applying to Pharmacy
Schools in Ontario
Visit The Canadian Pharmacists Association for a full listing of Canadian and International Universities offering Pharmacy programs.
Prior to applying to international programs, students are encouraged to investigate the licensing requirements of the province/country in which they wish to practice if you want to return to Ontario or your home province.
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
If applying to a pharmacy program, you may need to complete the PCAT, an online multiple-choice assessment covering topics including: biological processes, chemical processes, critical reading, and quantitative reasoning. Consult individual schools to determine if the PCAT is required. Visit the PCAT website for more information.
A related career to Pharmacist is Pharmacy Technician. Learn about accredited Canadian Pharmacy Technician programs.
4. Applying to Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy is “a profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.” (World Federation of Occupational Therapists Council Meeting 2020).
- Admission Requirements: Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Occupational Therapy
- Applications must be submitted through The Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS): http://www.ouac.on.ca/orpas (typically available in mid-October for admission to the program in the following academic year). The application deadline is typically early January.
Occupational Therapy Schools in Ontario
- University of Toronto Occupational Therapy
- Western University Occupational Therapy
- McMaster University Occupational Therapy
- Queen’s University Occupational Therapy
- University of Ottawa Occupational Therapy (training is in French only)
For a full listing of Canadian universities offering programs in Occupational Therapy, visit Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Useful Links about Occupational Therapy
- College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO)
- Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT)
- Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)
- Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation (COTF)
A related career to Occupational Therapist is Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA). Read about OTA careers and training programs for more information.
5. Applying to Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy is “a professional health discipline directed towards the prevention or alleviation of movement dysfunction, and towards the enhancement of physical capacity.” The ultimate goal of Physical Therapy is to assist the client/patient to achieve the highest possible level of independent function. (Department of Physiotherapy at the University of Toronto, 2020).
Application Procedures and Deadlines
Applications for Ontario schools must be submitted through The Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS), typically available in mid-October for admission to the program in the following academic year. To obtain an application, choose the “Request an Application Package” option. The application deadline is typically early January.
Physical Therapy Schools in Ontario
- University of Toronto Physical Therapy
- McMaster University Physical Therapy
- Queen’s University Physical Therapy (Master’s only)
- Ottawa University Physical Therapy (program offered in French only):
- Western University Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy Useful Links
A related career to Physiotherapist is a Physiotherapy Assistant (PTA). Read about PTA careers and training programs for more information.
6. Applying to Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology
Speech-language pathology (SLP) “is concerned with the study, assessment, and treatment of disorders of speech and language. Speech-language pathologists assess and treat communication disorders in children and adults.” (The Department of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Toronto, 2020). Read more about the history of SLP.
You may also be interested in Audiology which assesses, diagnoses and treats a broad range of hearing and balance disorders. These programs are taught in some of the same Canadian schools as SLP and are regulated by the same professional bodies.
Applications for Ontario schools must be submitted through The Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS): typically available in mid-October for admission to the program in the following academic year. The application deadline is typically early January.
Read more about Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Schools in Canada.
SLP and Audiology Useful Links
- College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario
- Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Speech-Language Audiology Canada
A related career to SLP and Audiology is Communication Health Assistant (CHA). Read about CHA careers.
7. Applying to Social Work and Counselling Programs
What is Social Work?
Social work is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It aims to help people develop their skills and their abilities to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems. Social work is concerned with individual and personal problems but also with broader social issues.
Education: the minimum educational requirement to become a social worker is a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree. Agencies that hire social workers may prefer applicants who have earned a master’s degree (M.S.W.) and is generally required to advance to senior positions and perform specialized work such as therapy. College and university teaching positions require a Ph.D. in social work.
Ontario Faculties of Social Work (offering both Bachelor & Master’s degree programs – B.S.W. & M.S.W.)
- University of Toronto Social Work (* MSW & PhD only *)
- Carleton University Social Work
- Lakehead University Social Work
- McMaster University Social Work
- York University Social Work
- University of Western Ontario, King’s University College Social Work
- University of Windsor Social Work
- Wilfred Laurier University Social Work
- Renison University College Social Work (affiliated with University of Waterloo)
- Ryerson / Waterloo University Social Work
For a full listing of Canadian universities offering BSW / MSW / PhD programs in Social Work, visit Canadian Association for Social Work Education
Social Work Useful Links
- Canadian Association of Social Work Education
- Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
- Ontario Association of Social Workers
- Canadian Association of Social Workers
A related career to Social Work is Social Service Worker (SSW).
What is Counselling / Psychotherapy?
Counselling is a highly interpersonal process that focuses on enabling human change. Counselling addresses areas such as personal growth, career development, wellness, relationships, mental health, and psychological illness or distress. As you research this field you will likely come across the term “psychotherapy”. While there is no clear distinction in activity between both areas of practice, the differences relate more to one’s training, interests and chosen work setting. For example, a psychotherapist working in a hospital will likely focus on specific and severe psychological disorders in contrast to the wider range of challenges encountered in practice by a counsellor.
Credentialing (ie registration with a regulatory college) takes place after completing a counselling program and enables one to work and practice in the field. Credentialing is a provincial responsibility in Canada and is increasingly becoming the norm country-wide. Many employers will look for certified counsellors or psychotherapists as this will show that they are professionals that are bound by a code of ethics, a standard of practice, a disciplinary procedure and who are required to maintain their certification through regular professional development.
From: Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. (2020). The profession and regulation.
Retrieved from https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/profession/
Counselling and Psychotherapy Useful Links
- Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association
- Psychotherapy education programs recognized in Ontario (by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario):
- Psychotherapy education programs in Canada and abroad
8. Applying to Engineering
Engineering is a section of technology and science that focuses on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, software, devices, systems, processes and organizations. Engineering consists of many areas of practice (i.e. astronomical; chemical and robotics engineering).
To work as a professional engineer in Canada, you are required by law to be licensed (which represents the highest standard of proficiency in the field and is in place to assure that quality and safety standards are met to protect the general public).
Engineering Useful Links:
To explore different fields within engineering (including engineering technology careers) visit the following sites:
- Engineering Computing and Technology Fields
- Science Engineering Careers
- Engineering degree programs across Canada
- Provincial and territorial engineering regulators.
9. Admission Tests
Admission tests are required by numerous professional faculties and graduate schools. Typically, they are prepared and administered by American agencies, although there are numerous testing centres across Canada. Some good books on admission tests are available for use at the UTM Career Centre. To access admission test preparation visit our e book collection: http://guides.library.utoronto.ca/c.php?g=373504&p=2526368
For further information about any of the tests, visit the websites below or contact the administering agency by phone or e-mail. On-line registration is also possible for most tests via their websites.
- GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
- MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)
- LSAT (Law Schools Admissions Test)
- GRE (Graduate Records Examination)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
CASPer Test: Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (used in professional programs including some nursing and medical training programs. Check each school’s admission page for testing information).
CASPer is an online selection test designed to measure key personal and professional characteristics (eg. professionalism, empathy, compassion and cultural sensitivity. Consult individual schools for test requirements. For test information visit: takecasper.com
UTM Career Centre Resources
- Graduate & Professional Schools Fair: Speak with reps from schools across the country to learn about programs and requirements, offered annually in September.
- Get Experience Fair: Meet with on-campus and off-campus organizations that give students an opportunity to volunteer which will help you to build skills and experience. Offered annually in Sept.
- Professional and Graduate School Workshops: Attend workshops such as: The Road to Graduate School, Applying to Teacher’s College, Law School and Medical School Information Sessions, offered fall and winter
- Resources & Links for Further Education (including Teaching, Law and Medicine among others):
- Job Shadowing Program & In the Field: Learn about various professions first-hand from individuals in the field. Visit:
- Career Resource Library: See occupational binders and various career books at the Career Centre or borrow an e-book for up to 14 days.
- Assistance with Graduate School Applications: Schedule an in person or on-line appointment with a Career Counsellor to get feedback on your CV or resume and personal statement.
- Individual Appointments: Discuss questions about your career, further education, and professional school choices with a Career Counsellor. Call 905.828.5451 to book an in person or on-line appointment. You can also access us through Live Chat located on our website
Please note that this information is subject to change. It is best to refer to the original sources for the most up to date information. Updated August 2021.