When people think of the college experience, they conjure up thoughts of kids on a college campus, going to class during the day, and enjoying dorm parties, football games, and other activities on the evenings and weekends. We also think of students studying to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, and teachers. These programs all have the same things in common: they require at least four years of education and, for the most part, the classroom setting involves the instructor lecturing, the students taking notes, and turning in homework assignments, papers, and exams to get a passing grade. At the end of earning a bachelor's degree from a four-year university (or however long it takes for a student to complete all the required classes) students graduate. Some enter the workforce and begin their careers, others continue their education by going to graduate school, law school, or medical school.
Many students are interested in taking this path, and they go on to have wonderful, fulfilling careers. But what about students who aren’t interested in this path? For those students, there are other options and careers for which they could be better suited. The fact is, not everyone is cut out for the traditional college journey, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also deserve to learn a trade that they can enjoy and which can provide them with a pathway to success.
Prospective students and high school graduates who aren't interested in spending all that time at a four-year university may instead choose to attend a technical college, trade school, or another type of education that provides vocational training and practical job training. Vocational trainng programs prepare students and graduates for employment within a specific career field or job, such as technology or business. The academic courses in these job training programs are taught by industry experts within various fields of study and teach special skills with a focus on knowledge that can create future career success by giving you quick access to introductory level jobs.
Although a traditional college experience works for many students, it’s not for everyone. All students aren’t cut out for, or even interested in, “regular” college. Some students want to learn a trade or skill and get on with their lives. Others might not be able to afford four years of school but can afford one or two years of higher education. For these students, a vocational or technical school is a good option as it can provide practical, technical training programs and a vocational degree when you complete your vocational courses. These schools usually offer majors and programs that are more blue-collar than accountants and lawyers, but they can still pay well. Trade schools also often have lower admission and education requirements. The curriculum has a focus primarily on the major itself and is generally much more hands-on and less academic as students learn skills meant for a specific career or occupational field. Technical college, vocational training, or trade schools are ideal for students who don’t excel in a traditional classroom setting but do well working with their hands; it's just a different type of education. Most programs range in duration from 9 months to two years to complete and they culminate in a student attaining a vocational degree or certificate as well as being prepared to take any required licensing or certification exams within their fields of study.