Technical and trade schools focus on providing students with hands-on education for a chosen career. Vocational schools offer degree and certification programs in a variety of fields. Attending a trade school can lead to a very profitable and rewarding career. Below are several terms used to describe popular vocational programs.
Medical Certification Program – A secondary education program that leads to a certificate to work in the medical field. Popular medical certification programs include nursing, ultrasound, radiology, medical assistant, medical coding, EMT, and dental assistant training. These programs offer targeted classes and hands-on experience for each profession.
Technical Institute – A school that offers courses and practical training in subjects like information technology, computer science, electronics, and engineering. Technical colleges have both certification and degree programs that take anywhere between two to four years to complete.
Construction Certification Programs – Programs that prepare students for careers as construction managers, contractors, electricians, plumbers, or heating and air conditioning technicians. These programs lead to licensing required to practice each profession.
Culinary School – A school that prepares its students for careers as chefs, pastry chefs, or restaurant managers. Like other vocational schools, culinary schools focus on hands on learning, and students typically spend most of their time preparing food.
Cosmetology School – A school that prepares students for careers as hair stylists, nail technicians, or estheticians. Cosmetologists are required to be licensed. Attending a cosmetology school is a good way to learn the skills required to obtain a license and have a successful career.
Internship/Apprenticeship – Temporary positions that give entry-level workers experience in a given field, an opportunity to make contacts, and possibly, course credit. Internships or apprenticeships may be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months long. Many vocational programs include internships or apprenticeships with the possibility of hire.
Not all career paths lead you to a traditional education at a four year university. There are many jobs that require vocational or technical training that can be done at a trade institution. Students of these programs learn basic and advanced techniques in trades like culinary arts, auto mechanics, medical billing, and certain technology based careers.
The first career college arose in the United States in 1832. By the mid-1830s as many as 15 to 20 private institutes had popped up around the nation. The 1900s saw the invention of adding machines and the typewriter along with a major influx of women in the workplace, bringing more students to technical institutions for business training. Many vocational institutes, sometimes called post secondary schools, consist of only two year long programs, making them equivalent to an Associates Degree. Some are public and run by the local government or school district while others are private and require higher tuition costs. Community colleges are also known to offer technical education courses.
When searching for a proper place to learn, make sure the institution not only teaches classes in the job you desire, but is also a nationally accredited school. If your occupation requires you to move on to a four year university, accredited programs give you a higher chance of the college accepting your credits. Online courses are often available for technical education, but these can be hit or miss with even transferring credits to trade schools. Be careful where you spend your hard earned money.