Vocational schools sometimes referred to as career colleges or trade schools, are popular for students who want to fast-track their way into a well-paying career. Rather than take four years to earn their degree, vocational training allows students to complete their studies in two years or less. Vocational education is meant to prepare individuals for specific types of trades, vocations, or occupations.
Why Choose Vocational Training?
Vocational training centers and trade schools continue gaining popularity. Statistics show that a total of 16 million students enrolled in vocational schools in 2014 compared to a meager 9.66 million in 1999. This could be attributed to the high cost of a college education as well as the decline in the value of college and university degrees.
Importance of Vocational Training
Economies across the world have become quite diverse. This has caused the labor market to become more specialized. The demand for higher skill levels in the government and business sector continues to increase. This has led to an increase of vocational education through training initiatives by businesses, subsidized apprenticeship, and publicly funded training. Vocational education is essential for the following reasons:
- Vocational training sort of introduces employees to the workplace by imparting them with job-specific skills
- As the students receive specialized education, they have higher chances of getting employed compared to others
- Students acquire not only theoretical but also manual skills. Vocational education involves hands-on training
Some of the questions that students have to grapple with when deciding on whether they should join a vocational school include:-
- What’s a trade?
- What trades are there?
- What trade is right for me?
- What trade should I do?
- What trades are in demand?
What is a Trade School?
A trade school is a technical school, which arms students with skills that enable them to enter directly into a specific profession. Trade school programs are becoming more popular than conventional colleges for the following reasons:
- Students spend less time studying courses that are out of their scope of interest
- Trade education takes a minimum of 10 weeks and a maximum of 2 years
- Students who enroll for trade school degrees as soon as they complete high school enter the workforce earlier and with the relevant experience and training
- In a vocational or trade school, the class sizes are smaller hence students receive more hand-on training
- Trade school requirements are fewer and less complex compared to university or college requirements
The downside of studying in a trade school is that the student cannot transfer the credits to a university or community college. Also, students earn a certificate at the end of the program as opposed to a degree which you would earn in a college or university.
Before signing up for a program in a particular trade school, students should consider such factors as; the salary potential, how in-depth the program is, job availability, course marketability, and whether the school is accredited.
Rather than just looking up for trade schools near me, try to establish what the best technical colleges in your area are.
What Kinds of Trade Careers are there?
Trade school careers are those that require very specific skill-sets or hand-on training. In truth, most of the people in today’s workforce started their career path with short courses from a technical college of a vocational school. In this section, we provide you with a list of trade jobs in today’s market. Some of the highest paying but easiest trade jobs include:
- Boiler makers
- Construction managers
- Plumbers, steamfitters, or pipefitters
- Wind turbine technicians
- Crane operators
- CNC machine tool programmers
- Industrial machinery mechanics
- Mobile heavy equipment mechanics
- Brick masons
Some of the fastest-growing trade jobs are home healthcare aide, cosmetologists, dental assistants, automotive technicians, and marine mechanic.
For the longest time, women have excelled in such fields as education, law, health and dental care, business, and so on. However, times are fast-changing, and a growing number of women would rather work in fields that have previously been viewed as male-oriented. This is why most vocational schools have a list of trades for females among what they offer. Best trades for women who are keen on joining vocational schools include media arts, green energy, architecture and engineering, and HVAC technicians.
Although high-stress and demanding jobs tend to pay the most, there are a number of fun jobs that pay well without a degree. Some of the most common fun trade jobs are food and beverage, creative design and media arts, computers and technology, automotive technology, aviation, among others.
Joining college or university is a good option for some people, but there are many factors that could deter others. For starters, the cost of university or college education is rather high, depending on where you live. Many students go to great lengths and even get into debt to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Such debts are often crippling on a graduate’s wage and take years to pay back. Enrolling in a vocational or a trade school is by far the easiest and most cost-effective option.