Aurora College

Founded 1981 | Fort Smith, NT

Aurora College has three campuses. The largest is Thebacha in Fort Smith, N.W.T., located just outside Wood Buffalo National Park. Renovations are planned at the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC), located at the college’s northernmost campus in Inuvik. The upgrades, scheduled over the next two years, will add a warehouse, a loading bay, a marshalling space to support field research and a new workshop for researchers. The WARC is home to the Aurora Research Institute, which responds to the territories’ socioeconomic needs while integrating Indigenous knowledge. The Yellowknife North Slave campus houses the school’s nursing program, which has graduated more than 400 registered nurses.

The majority of Aurora’s students identify as Indigenous and come from northern communities. The school offers more than 35 certificate, diploma, degree, upgrading and apprenticeship programs catering to the labour needs of the region. Areas of study include office and business administration, leadership, industrial training, mining, the environment and natural resources, and health and human services. 

Aurora also operates 21 community learning centres, which focus on academic upgrading and adult basic education to prepare residents in remote communities to enter the school’s certificate, diploma and degree programs. The college is in the process of transitioning to a polytechnic university, beginning in the fall of 2025.

Popular Programs

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Personal Support Worker Certificate

• Trades, Apprenticeships and Industrial Training

• Business Administration Diploma

• Academic Upgrading

School Size



• Degree $3,500-$5,400

• Diploma $3,600-$4,200

• Certificate $3,600-$5,400

Residence Offerings


Cool Options

• Early Learning and Child Care: Uniquely adapted to Indigenous ways of learning with an emphasis on Indigenous language and culture, this diploma follows a competency based assessment that grades students on the skills they need.

• Blended Delivery Personal Support Worker: Students can learn online and attend in-person labs outside Yellowknife.

• Environment and Natural Resources Technology Diploma: Combining Western and traditional Indigenous knowledge, this program prepares students for jobs in natural resources and environmental management.