Trade schools provide a cost effective alternative to pricey university or college tuition. Those in these alternative training institutes learn skills needed to perform many important jobs through courses specific to the field. The programs usually last one to two years and correlate with hands-on apprenticeships in fields like audio and visual, electrics and mechanics. Learn some of the terms used in these alternative institutes.
Apprenticeship – An apprenticeship involves working in same field in which you're studying. Most apprenticeships are in industrial settings where you learn skills from a licensed electrician, plumber or welder. You study with a master during the day receiving a paycheck while attending night courses. In a university setting, you're not always paid for the hands-on training.
Technical College – A technical institute teaches special job skills within two years. The vocational skills taught in this setting prepare students for important jobs in the field of technology or blue collar work such as electricians. Tuition is much lower than a four-year program and many businesses will pay for your education if you agree to work for them during and after your apprenticeship.
Union – Many vocations like plumbers and electricians are members of unions. The unions protect the workers' rights by creating contracts preventing wage cuts and undeserved job loss. They also offer discounts for required tools, equipments and apparel. The unions operate as a business taking out membership fees.
Vocation – Vocation is simply another term for a career to which you feel strongly drawn. Trade schools prepare students for their career goals using specific educational programs that teach important skills related to that specific career.
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Students who envision a future in a particular trade may decide to forgo their local public or private high school and attend an industrial, technical, or trade school. These types of schools teach the basic subjects of math, English, science, and history, but they add a focus on job-specific trades such as carpentry or culinary.
Industrial, technical, and trade schools are also available on the college or university level, where students can get specific training in vocations like mechanics, welding, and sound and audio. By offering hands-on training in a particular field, such as technology, students can pursue a career in their chosen trade. You can attend an industrial, technical, or trade school to become an engineer, graphics designer, computer technician, or electrician.
Students take the knowledge they gain at such an institute within a particular community and apply it to real life. Vocational schools in this country have their roots in Colonial times, when the first apprenticeships appeared. This is when students just learning a trade would work closely with established professionals, such as blacksmiths and cobblers, to master a trade through hands-on application. This method is still in place today, an effective way to gain experience.
Today, there are a variety of industrial, technical and trade schools that offer courses and programs ranging from business to interior design. Many teens choose a career path that doesn’t include education at a standard four-year academic college or university. They decide instead to pursue an education in a particular trade that involves a combination of academic course work and technical training.