What is a Vocational School?

Vocational SchoolA vocational school offers students the opportunity to get practical training while completing a postsecondary program. Unlike a traditional college undergraduate program that earns the student an associate’s orbBachelor’s degree, a vocational program is all about building the skills that are needed for a specific trade. This is why the schools are often called trade schools instead of vocational schools. If you would like to learn what types of practical training you can take and how you can benefit from completing career training, read this guide and learn everything that you need to know.

What Are the Most Common Types of Programs Offered at Trade Schools?

There are so many career paths that you can travel down that do not actually require you to earn a postsecondary degree. While an undergraduate may become a requirement when you want to climb the ranks or take on supervisory roles, completing vocational training can help you gain the foundation of skills that you need for jobs in many different industries. Some schools focus on offering programs in a single industry or field, others are focused on offering variety. Some of the many types of vocations that you can train for include:

  • Nail technician
  • Hair stylist
  • Cosmetologist
  • Barber
  • Electrical installation
  • Welder
  • Medical coder or biller
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Dental assistant
  • Medical assistant
  • Carpenter
  • Locksmith
  • Automotive repair
  • Hotel management
  • Design

How Long Does it Take to Complete a Vocational Program?

How long you can expect to spend on career training depends on the trade. Unlike a four-year college, where most students will be completing classes for a long span of time, vocational programs are typically short. You can get the tools of the trade and even attend courses at night or on the weekends over a course of just weeks or months. The longest vocational program takes about two years to complete and this is typically a program in the medical industry which requires knowledge of terms and also of practical skill. Most of the time is spent in class learning what to do with your hands rather than learning about theory or the history of a specific discipline.

How to Choose the Right Vocational School to Learn a Trade

When you are learning a trade, you want to learn core principles and methods from an expert. Vocational schools might not be accredited by the regional councils that colleges are, but there are agencies that set standards specifically for career colleges and technical schools, according to the US Department of Education.

You must find only schools that are recognized by the US Department of Education when you are checking possibilities off of your list. You can check the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to see which schools are best. After you have found a school that meets the standard, you can consider other important factors. Some of these factors include: licensure, admissions requirements, campus area, reputation of faculty and cost.

Related Resource: Educational Technology Specialization

If you need more training for the job that you want and that job does not require a degree, then trade school could be a good alternative. It does not take long to complete a program and in most cases you only need a GED or Diploma to apply. Make sure to consider the future and find the right program that will impress employers so that you can put your certificate to use.