College education

One of the unique features of Quebec’s education system is the network of junior colleges (CEGEPs) serving as a bridge between secondary and university-level studies.

Technical and Continuing Education

In the province of Quebec, college education follows secondary school (11 years of study after the 1st year of primary school) and is preceded by university. This is the first level of higher education. College education is provided by public or private colleges called Cégeps (collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel). Cégeps exist in the province of Quebec only.


There are three options for college education:

  • Pre-university education: These two-year programs give access to undergraduate programs and lead to a Diploma of College Studies (DEC in French) issued by the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur (MES).


  • Technical education: These three-year programs prepare students to enter the labour market. They lead to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS) issued by the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur (MES) and also give access to undergraduate programs.


  • Continuing education: With programs ranging from 6 to 18 months, continuing education leads to an Attestation of Collegial Studies (AEC in French) issued by the college. It consists of a set of technical courses specific to each institution and aims at immediate preparation for employment. These programs are offered to meet the workforce needs of the labour market.

The 14 colleges in the Québec City region offer over 125 programs in more than 21 fields of study:

  • Administration, business, and IT
  • Agriculture and fisheries
  • Food services & tourism
  • Arts
  • Wood and wood-based products
  • Buildings & public works
  • Chemistry and biology
  • Environment and land-use planning
  • Electrical engineering
  • Motorized equipment maintenance
  • Mechanical manufacturing
  • Forestry and paper
  • Communications and documentation
  • Maintenance mechanics
  • Mines and site operations
  • Metallurgy
  • Transportation
  • Social, educational, and legal services
  • Health
  • Beauty care
  • Leather, textiles, and apparel

Advantages of college education

  • High placement rate: With a placement rate of 86%, the ACS is a true gateway to employment.
  • Competitive salaries: The average salary of ACS graduates is $723/week.
  • Employment prospects: According to Emploi-Québec, technical education graduates will be increasingly sought after by employers in the coming years.

You want to come complete your college education:

- Only programs of 6 months and longer are eligible for a study permit.

- Only programs of 8 months and longer are eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).



- Level of French: minimum B2 (find out more)

- Required level of education: Quebec secondary 5 (11 years of studies after the 1st year of primary school) or have a level deemed sufficient by the college.


Average annual tuition, excluding related fees (study guides, equipment, and tools):

  • Student of French nationality: Free, under the agreement signed between Quebec and France in 2001 (except for private ACS).
  • Student not of French nationality: between 12,000 and 18,000 CAD.

List of institutions offering college-level programs in the Québec City region and surrounding area:

Labour Market:

Relevant links to find out more about: