What Is Vocational School?

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Are you interested in learning what a vocational school is? Are you conflicted with if you will attend a traditional college or vocational school? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, then you have come to the right place.

Vocational school is a type of post-secondary education that many individuals choose to obtain instead of college. It can be used for a variety of different professions and is a gateway for many students to get into their respective careers.

This article will provide you with information on vocational programs and if vocational education is worth having. Keep reading to find out more about vocational schools and how they can help you to further your career.

What is Considered Vocational School?What is Considered Vocational School?

Vocational school programs are meant for training individuals for a specific line of work. These options offer particular job training rather than having a primarily academic focus. They provide valuable skills which allow students to enter the workforce prepared to take on anything.

If you are drawn to a specific type of work or training and do not do well in an educational environment, a vocational option may be perfect for you. These options get straight to the point and offer real-life training.  Several occupations provide vocational training. This training includes cosmetology, medical coding, dental assistance, and several other options.

Vocational schools can also be considered trade schools. Traditional degree-granting colleges can often provide students with degree-granting programs as well as vocational options. Most times, colleges will offer continuing education courses for programs that grant certifications and certificates.

Two and 4-year degree programs are not considered vocational programs. There are several differences when thinking about vocational school vs. college. There are several things you must consider when determining the best post-secondary option. However, the best choice for you depends on your preference.

There are several advantages to vocational school, with one being that Individuals enrolled in these programs do not have general education courses. Another critical positive there is to attending trade school is that you are able to transition directly into your career. Many times individuals who have completed a four-year degree can have difficulty finding a job in their field. With vocational school under your belt and the skills needed to progress, having to wait around for a job is not likely.

What are Vocational School Programs?

What are Vocational School Programs?

When looking into vocational programs, there are several different types of schools that are available to you. These schools cover a variety of other programs and disciplines, which may pique your interest. The following programs have various options available to you and could be a great asset to a person’s career. The list below includes several different vocational schools.

Continuing Education Courses

Continuing Education courses are often the shortest timed courses that individuals can take. They are not extended programs and often can take under a year to complete. These programs can also provide individuals with the opportunity to expand their skills and upgrade their knowledge base. This can include non-credit-based, more hobby-style courses as well. Examples of continuing education courses include things like workforce development and even business development.

Trade School

When you think of vocational school, often, that is interchanged with trade school. However, trade school provides emphasis on a specialized skill. This can include things like plumbing, mechanical work, construction, and more. These programs often end with the receipt of licenses to practice your designated trade.

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship programs are another option which allow individuals to receive job training under the leadership of someone else. Several apprenticeship programs are available to individuals based on the trade that they choose. In this scenario, students must work as an apprentice under someone who is a professional and far more senior in the trade. Apprenticeships are highly competitive and are even paid.

Nursing School

Nursing is one profession that is always in high demand. Not only is it high in demand, but salaries are competitive, and there are always options for work. A nurse has the opportunity to attend a trade school or to attend a traditional college. Through the use of a vocational program, potential nurses are able to become Licensed Vocational Nurses before they become registered nurses. This allows you to start working quickly and even take advantage of bridge programs to becoming an RN.


Administration programs are also excellent vocational options for individuals and another option when choosing a vocational program. These types of programs include medical assistants, paralegal assistants, administrative assistants and many more—programs like these aid individuals in building skills in writing, public speaking, and many more interpersonal skills.

How Long is Vocational School For?

How Long is Vocational School For?

The lengths of a vocational program can vary depending on which program type that you choose to complete. Some programs can be as short as a couple of weeks, whereas others can last a few years. This length of time can also vary by the institution type.

There are several private and public institutions available to students. At the end of your program time, you will often receive some certification or certificate of completion. Like those in the medical field, some careers often allow students time to reach the goals they set for themselves. Instead of going through one program for nursing, a school may offer a program that will enable a student to become an LPN, a medical assistant, or even a pharmacy technician. These programs vary in length.

If you are taking adult education programs or even continuing education courses, these can have a minimum of one week to one year. This level of variance is seen across all vocational programs.

Average Cost of Vocational School

Average Cost of Vocational School

One significant difference when comparing vocational school vs. college is the cost. The cost of a traditional college is far more than that of a vocational school, which is why many students opt to take a far less conventional route.

Though the cost per program can fluctuate, the average cost of vocational education is roughly thirty thousand dollars. This can easily be the cost of only one year of traditional college versus an entire vocational education. However, this number is still on the high end for vocational school.

A vocational school is an excellent option if you are looking for an alternative to paying for traditional education. Students in conventional colleges often have to pay for the cost of housing, books, fees, and even meal plans. Vocational students often only have the burden of books to purchase.

Though you may obtain a degree that can afford you the opportunity to make 80000 fresh out of college, you will need to offset the enormous amount of student loan debt that you will eventually have to pay back with interest.

What's the Difference Between a Vocational School and a Trade School?

What’s the Difference Between a Vocational School and a Trade School?

There are several differences between vocational schools and trade schools though they are often mistaken for one and the other. There are several differences between trade and vocational schools. A vocational school has often used a term to describe several different types of post-secondary education options.

Vocational and trade programs are often different because of what the programs specialize in. Trade schools are more hands-on. They also can be encompassing more labor-intensive options like carpentry and mechanics. Vocational programs can include not only trade schools but more technical schools as well.

Is Vocational School Worth It?

Is Vocational School Worth It?

Vocational school is an excellent way to get a jumpstart on your career. There are several reasons why vocational school is essential and several reasons that make it worthwhile for students. The reasons listed below are just a few motivational points for getting a vocational education.

Less Time to Complete

For some students, the option to choose vocational schools is simple. These schools take far less time to complete, and where some individuals would spend four years completing a degree, vocational students can achieve the same degree in far less time. As the average time to complete a post-secondary degree rises, the option to attend vocational school grows more appealing. It is an excellent option for individuals who don’t have the opportunity to participate in traditional school full time. Vocational school can be a perfect option for single mothers or individuals who have commitment constraints.

More Hands-on Experience

Traditional schools are centered around gaining the needed work experience to do well. Courses and lessons are considered to be more work-centered, providing real-world experience. Unlike when receiving an education at a university, general education courses are not required when in trade school. This can be a drawback for some individuals because credits are not easily transferable between the two types of programs.

Small class sizes

Vocational programs are often more hands-on, meaning students receive more personalized instruction. Instructors are unable to supervise large amounts of students while gaining job training which means that class sizes will be far smaller than in traditional universities. Vocational schools do not have lecture hall-sized courses and are often able to provide a very different classroom experience for students.

Low Costs

If we haven’t emphasized it enough, the low costs of vocational school are an excellent motivator. The average price of vocational school is far less than what you would expect to pay for a traditional college. You also do not need to worry about paying for the extras that come with going to college out of state.

Financial Aid

Often times many individuals think that because they opt to go to vocational school, there is not an option for financial aid, but that is not true. It’s important to remember that no matter what option you choose, college or vocational school, there are always financial aid options available to you. There are several grants and scholarships that students can apply to when looking into a vocational school. There are even some vocational schools that are eligible for financial aid via the FAFSA.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Like college, the vocational school provides students with opportunities to affect their lives positively. Though a 4-year degree may have a higher payoff, there are several vocational programs that can be just as lucrative as a four-year degree. Dental assistants, paralegals, and electricians are among the most popular and most lucrative professions for students. Once these programs have been completed, students are able to obtain higher-paying jobs and ultimately lead more fulfilling lives.

Open Scheduling

Vocational schools often provide individuals with flexible scheduling. These courses are usually offered at a variety of times, day or evening. If you have a job that you must commit to in the daytime, vocation school can be an excellent option for someone in need of night or even weekend courses, depending on your area of expertise.

Growing Workforce

There is a growing workforce for trades. These are often professions that are in high demand and needed by individuals everywhere. Trade students often go into the job market with work experience; This allows them to be confident when going into interviews and preparing to start in the workforce.

Focused Studies

Vocational schools allow individuals to have focused studies. This means that information is focused on your chosen area of study. There is no extra fluff that you will have to go through to obtain your certifications. You do not have to worry about taking elective courses or even participating in extracurricular activities. All of the classes you take within a vocation school are core-level courses.

These are only a few of the reasons why getting a vocational education is worthwhile. We are sure that you can even find reasons why this is an excellent option for you even in your personal life.

Wrapping Things Up: What is Vocational School?

Overall, vocational school programs are excellent options for individuals who do not prefer the commitment of traditional schools. It gives students the freedom and flexibility to design their own schedules and even pick times of day that work for them. However, vocational school is not for everyone.

If you are looking for the traditional college experience, that is not something that you will find in a vocational school. There is no dorm housing, there are no meal plans, and you don’t have to worry about parking. This can be a gift or a curse for some individuals.

Regardless of which way you spin it, getting a vocational school education is most certainly worth the cost. It brings individuals to the workforce quicker and even takes less time to complete than traditional education. If you’re looking to get a vocational education, we hope you found this helpful and can find a program that fits your needs. Happy hunting!

Did you enjoy this post? Then you may like our other college study tips here.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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