Guest blog post by Viktor Zdraveski

When choosing a career, there’s one important fact you have to keep in mind: college isn’t for everyone. 

So, before you go for the most popular education option, you should take some time to evaluate the alternatives. If you can’t see yourself spending 4 years in school or if your dream is to become a paralegal, business analyst, nurse, computer technician, medical assistant, accountant, or artist, a vocational degree may be the perfect choice for you. 

Are you still hesitant about choosing a vocational school? Here are the top 5 benefits that will help you make up your mind.

 

 Image: liberaldictionary.com

1. Applicable Job Skills

People who attend a vocational school are ready to accept a job right after graduation. 

Traditional colleges rely on theoretical frameworks and equip students with general skills. There’s little career guidance, as well as limited interaction with employers or career services. 

Vocational schools, on the other hand, are focused on preparing the future workforce with applicable job skills. Many vocational schools partner with employers in the industry to offer externship programs and practical training which involves real-life equipment and examples. This way, the school allows students to gain experience, preparing them for a seamless transition.

Vocational school graduates don’t have to think about what they’re going to do after they’ve completed their education. They have already decided what they want to do in life and after spending about two years in vocational school, they can immediately join a specific trade. 

2. High Graduating Rates

A vast majority of the students who enroll in traditional colleges don’t end up graduating in the four-year window. In fact, according to Complete College America, most college students manage to complete their bachelor’s degree in 6 year., 

Students at vocational schools graduate at much higher rates, with only 2% of them failing to obtain a degree within the predicted duration. 

The prospect of getting a job almost immediately after graduation seems to be a strong motivating factor for students. A vocational school graduate can begin earning immediately and, if they have a student loan, they can start repaying it right away. In addition, vocational programs are shorter (most of them take 2 years to complete), which encourages maximum performance and focus. 

3. Bright Future for the Vocational Trades

When it comes to the careers for which vocational schools can provide the necessary education and training, the options are varied. 

Research has shown that some of the fastest-growing jobs are in the technical fields. Some of the vocational trades with the highest employment growth rates include massage therapists, physical therapists, and medical assistants. 

Here’s a list of 10 jobs that are expected to have the highest employment growth over the next decade, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Veterinary technician
  • Paralegal
  • Nuclear medicine technologist
  • Environmental engineering technician
  • HVAC technician
  • Dental assistant
  • Hairstylist
  • Makeup artist
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Audio engineer

4. Costs Less

Earning a vocational degree takes less time (two years) than earning a bachelor’s degree (four years). The expenses are lower as well. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average trade school degree costs $33,000, whereas obtaining a bachelor’s degree will cost you about $127,000. That’s $94,000 saved!

5. Smaller Classes and Flexible Schedules

Vocational school classrooms have fewer attendees than traditional colleges, which means that instructors are able to focus on each student and provide valuable training. Smaller classes also allow you to build stronger relationships with other students and network more easily when it’s time to find a job. 

In addition, vocational schools offer options for evening classes for students who are busy during the day. So, if you have a full-time job or need to take care of your kid, the flexible schedule of vocational schools might be the best solution for you.

Image: keen.rsd7.org

How to Choose a Vocational Training Program

Even though vocational schools are less expensive than colleges, it’s still a substantial amount of money to spend. So, if you decide to enroll in a vocational school, you should conduct thorough research of the different programs before signing up in order to ensure you get what you pay for.

When deciding whether a certain program is good for you, consider the following:

Try to learn as much as you can about the program in relation to the development of professional studies, the development of technical skills, and student support. 

Check the school’s experience and reputation in the market. See what other people are saying about the school and the program you’re interested in via feedback and reviews. 

Find out whether the program you’re considering is authorized and whether the school has well-trained, experienced instructors. 

Compare the fees charged by different vocational schools for the program you’re considering. Check also whether there’s a possibility of getting financial aid.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to deciding whether you should choose college or vocational school, your capabilities and personal preferences will also play a major role. If you’re not a person who can spend 4 years in a confined classroom learning mostly theoretical things or if you were never a good student to start with, college might not be the ideal solution for you. 

College is also not a great option for people who already have a full-time job or a family to take care of. Vocational school programs offer the flexible schedules and practical training you need to meet your career goals.