Vocational training is education that prepares you for work in a chosen field. Such education is also referred to as technical or career education. It is meant to serve as a guide for students in their chosen career path. Students train with different courses that are part of their degree program. In vocational training, the students focus on their chosen discipline and get trained in their specific area of expertise. It offers them a chance to learn the skills they require to excel in their respective career choice. When it comes to job search, applicants with vocational education have the edge over others. This is because they already possess the skills needed for the job.
A typical vocational degree will span between a few months to two years. You can attend a technical school, community college, or vocational trade. Vocational training can either be in a classroom or at a job site. Students will learn skills and trade from experts on the job or professors in classes. Credentials earned can be a post-secondary certificate or an associate degree. Some occupations require people to have a vocational degree and a license.
TYPES OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMS
Vocational training belongs to three broad categories. They include certifications, diploma programs, and associate degree programs.
High school career technical education (CTE) requires several courses and work programs. It aims to help students learn different trades. Vocational training centers and high schools offer such trade courses either as full time or part time programs.
Career colleges, community colleges, and technical schools offer students various courses for their career choice. These kind of classes are essential for hands-on-training sessions. Most of the students that take the courses have their high school education. Aside from these, online vocational programs is an excellent option for those seeking flexible classes.
Vocational training can help all sectors of the economy. It brings in different skilled labor who can contribute to society. They acquire skills that can make them competitive in the labor market.
WHAT ARE VOCATIONAL CAREERS?
The technical trades can prepare a student for many jobs. The skills and jobs vary by industry. The fact is that many fields lack experts and qualified workers. According to a report, more than 600 occupations require sufficient experts. It has been estimated that in the next few years, there would be a shortage of ten million skilled workers.
These technicians have gone through lots of training. They learn topics such as servicing and repairing of all electrical and mechanical faults in forklifts. They understand how forklifts work. The main elements include the transmission and engine parts. The forklifts of today are electronic. They have the latest cutting-edge technology. Most of these forklift technicians either work in dealer stores or repair shops.
CERTIFIED FORKLIFT OPERATOR
A certified forklift operator is a driver that receives and moves cargo. At the same time, they have to meet various safety and quality standards. Their work range from the operation of forklifts to the handling of products. Drivers are available to work on schedule to meet the demands of customers.
Medicine has several branches. One of them is health care support. Surveys find that there are around four million workers in this sector. The jobs are diverse. Healthcare support system is necessary to coordinate and deliver quality services to patients. Services range from nursing to home health care to dental care services.
A phlebotomy technician is a person that takes blood samples from patients and takes them for testing. Most people dread the day they will be asked to give out blood for testing. They fear that a needle will be used to pierce their skin. A technician must create an environment conducive enough to allow them to collect blood samples for testing.
WHAT IS A VOCATIONAL SCHOOL?
A vocational school is also known as a technical school, vocational college or trade school. In such schools, students who enroll receive training on skills they need to excel in jobs. Training does not equal degrees for students. Instead, schools provide students with a post-secondary skilled trade. Most schools begin as vocational schools and later start to offer degree programs. The entry requirements for vocational training are low. This makes it easier to gain admission than that of college.
WHY SHOULD YOU GO TO A VOCATIONAL SCHOOL?
The money you will spend to train in a specific vocational course is less than what you would spend in a typical two or four-year college program. This is because they do not last more than a year. Also, students are eligible for college financial aid programs. Most people prefer to start with a career school program when they are not so sure about their career.
SPEND LESS TIME IN SCHOOL
The time frame for most vocational training is within a year or less. This implies that you can attend classes, commit to it, and pass your exams. It is easier to stay committed with such a short course duration. This training is an excellent option for those who feel they cannot commit four years.
When you spend less time in school, it will help you to save money. Also, you join the workforce faster than those in degree programs.
If you do not want to go to an academic program, you may find career training a great choice. It is not like a regular four-year program. There is no need for prerequisite studies. Such coursework may have nothing to do with your career. In career training, you will only study the vital aspects of your future job.
LEARN PRACTICAL SKILLS
Career training offers you a golden opportunity. You learn practical skills that will be useful when you decide to seek a job. The courses and skills taught in career training schools will prepare you for the workforce. The sort of skills that you acquire in school is something that you can be proud of.
One unique feature of vocational training schools are the numerous hands-on learning opportunities. Although learning with books in classrooms is essential, vocational training offers students the chance to gain practical skills. Ones they can utilize in a real-world setting. Hence, students tend to be comfortable and confident in their abilities when they join the workforce. For instance, some career schools have functional labs and clinical settings for healthcare students. Similarly, a fully stocked kitchen is available for students in the culinary program. Likewise, students studying to be a mechanic can use the garage full of tools. Those in the computer field will appreciate the computer lab with the latest computers and software installed. Many schools organize internship programs for their students before their graduation. This will enable you to use your skills and gain valuable work experience.
WHO IS THE IDEAL VOCATIONAL STUDENT?
Vocational studies are best suited for students who want to learn a specific skill and enter the workforce early. It is quicker and less expensive than a degree program. Vocational college is also a good choice for those who need a change in their career path. Lastly, it is ideal for people holding full-time jobs because the classes and schedule are flexible. If this sounds appealing, then you should enroll in a vocational training program.
What makes a good vocational student? One should pay attention to detail. A student should have a strong sense of commitment. Being a hard worker and having a reliable work ethic is helpful.
HOW TO CHOOSE A VOCATIONAL SCHOOL
Inquire about the reputation of the vocational school of your choice within your industry. Check for complaints about the school from students. Also, you can review the school’s records in the state’s Attorney General’s office. Alternatively, you could check the state department of education to see if the school has good records. Is it free from complaints? Is the school the best choice for students in your field? Do students who graduate from the school find jobs in their respective studies?
Vocational training leans more on the job training than classroom lectures. You are going to spend time in the lab, clinic, worksite, or shop depending on what you study. Since it is hands-on work, you should expect direction and supervision from your tutors to learn the skills.
If you believe you can learn better with one on one discussions, then you should look for smaller classes. It would help if you endeavored to sit at the front so you can listen and ask questions. Learning in a large class can present some distractions, and you may lack focus.
QUALITY OF CLASSES
It would be best if you considered the quality of the classes you will be attending. How are the professors in the field? If they lack expertise or knowledge about the subject, then look at other classes. If a teacher is a good lecturer, but they lack experience, they will not be able to teach like someone that has experience. Hence, it is essential to enroll in a vocational school that has well-trained instructors in the field. They should have worked in it and have the necessary credentials to show for it. For instance, the automotive industry is one that changes fast. It will not be a wise decision to learn from a teacher that uses outdated methods to teach their course.
Once you feel comfortable with the quality of the teachers, you should focus on the classrooms themselves. How much time do you get to gain experience in each class? How much time do you have to attend classes outside of school? To see, you can take a tour of the school. Walk into any classroom and examine it. Also, check the level of interest from the students and the teachers. Is the teacher easy to understand? Are you okay with the teaching style? Ask current students how they feel about the class. Discuss your interest in the program with the teachers and ask relevant questions. Often, they should be able to offer help where necessary.
First, find out the ratio of students that continue with their education versus those that withdraw for any reason. Then, if the number of students withdrawing is higher, it is not the right decision to enroll in a school. Thus, it demonstrates that the school did not meet the expected standards. Do your research and gather enough information to decide on enrolling in a school.
Find out if the school has state of the art facilities for the different courses they teach. Pay a visit to the school. Inspect their classrooms and workshops. Next, find out if they have computers and other tools that students use in the classroom. Do they have the standard training equipment?
Ensure the school you plan to enroll in has met the regulatory standards required by the accreditation state board. When it comes to financial aid, it is easy to get with an accredited school. If you graduate from a well-known vocational school, employers will want to hire you. However, if your school is not accredited, your training will not be recognized.
These days, there are a good number of vocational schools to choose from. A good portion of those is online. The sad news is that most of these vocational institutions do not meet with the required standards. Therefore, they are not accredited. As a result, be careful because it is useless to pay for a study program from an institution that is not legitimate.
It would help if you chose your career based on the numerous job prospects in the field. First, it would be best if you considered the industry. Is it growing? Second, are there job opportunities for graduates in that area? Third, can you get a job after graduation or will you need additional training? Consequently, if your answer to any of these questions is no, then that career path is not the right choice.
The graduation rate measures the number of students that started the program about those that graduated. Accordingly, a good school should have a high graduation rate. Furthermore, a low graduation rate signals caution if you enroll in such a school. To this end, you may be forced to quit halfway through your studies.
Find out the cost of the program from the school you are considering. How do they schedule tuition payments? What do the books, uniforms, lab fees, equipment, and graduation fees cost? You need this information before you decide. Also, it will help you to budget your student loan funds if you have any.
Also, try and find out if the school offers any form of financial assistance to the students. If yes, in what way? The US Department of Education offers various forms of students aid such as grants and work-study programs. Most financial aid is from such programs. Find out how you can apply for such aid.
Thus, with any form of training, the cost of a vocational education depends on several factors such as:
- The reputation of the school: When a school experiences success in education, it will start to charge higher fees.
- Duration of the program: If your chosen area of study needs you to spend more time in school, then you should expect higher fees as well.
- Learning materials: Most vocational programs fees include uniforms, books, supplies, training costs and even license fees.
- Type of program: If your program requires specialized tools or technology, then it will reflect on the costs.
- Training format: Programs that require less time to study such as apprenticeship and co-op programs have low tuition costs and you will spend more time in the field than in the classroom.
It is possible to reduce your training costs irrespective of your choice of study. The government has made grants available to vocational students to promote vocational skill development. Those who desire an apprenticeship program may become eligible to receive most of the government grants and aid. Most employers even pay a worker who has not yet finished classroom study.
Vocational education is essential, but not as much as getting your desired job after graduating. The primary reason for the vocational study is to get a good job that would be worth your time and effort. Hence, before you choose a school, you should visit the job placement office or career service page of the school’s website. Does the school has a good relationship with local employers? Do graduates get jobs easily soon after leaving school? These are all vital questions. A career choice is a great decision to make, but it should be with the right vocational school. That is why you need to choose your school with careful consideration.
Have you chosen your career path already? Vocational training can be an excellent way to start. And you can be on your way to a great career within some weeks or months. Vocational programs are leading to the award of certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees in a specified skill.
Aside from these, vocational programs are easier to fulfill than full 4-year courses. They deal less in theory and more in practical subjects. These classes do not involve as much time so students can learn them quickly. There are a lot of vocational training programs in the various field of study to choose from.