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The job market for Technicians and Technologists is hot!

A recent report on the future of Canada's labour market suggests that Canada is on the verge of a "severe" labour shortage, one that will be "much too large to be met by a record low unemployment rate." It predicts that real earnings will jump "significantly" and that employers will have to compete to attract workers.

What does this mean for you? According to Human Resources Development Canada in Ottawa, the conclusion could not be clearer. "There is currently a greater demand for community college graduates in engineering technology programs. Through 2010, new job openings in this sector are expected to exceed the number of job seekers by about three percent, with market conditions becoming especially favourable for graduates in civil engineering technology." Other promising areas include electrical/electronic engineering technologies and chemical engineering technologies.

Becoming a technician takes between 1,200 to 1,600 hours of classroom time - the equivalent of one to two years of study. Technologists on the other hand must complete two to three years of study, or 2,000 to 3,000 hours of classroom time. Technicians and technologists are usually trained in different programs, so that means students must choose one over the other before they begin their studies. A 2011 survey found that in Manitoba Technicians average an annual salary of $66,000 with Technologists having an Annual salary of $75,000.

Because the public perception of technology programs is changing, there is far more competition than there used to be for places in technical institute and community college technology programs across Canada. Students with the bare minimum high school prerequisites and marks are having a hard time getting in.

A near sure-fire way to get into the program of your choice is to keep your marks up, and take math (ideally, advanced math), science and, yes, even English courses. Above all, don't be fooled by the notion that tech school or college is an "easy" option for those who can't get into university. Don't forget that you're not just competing with high school graduates for spots in Canada's technology programs.

The key to choosing programs and choosing careers is to literally do your homework. Get the grades you need for admission (and expect those minimum standards to keep rising) and research your options.