Experience is the best teacher. Sure, you study for hours in a dorm room, cramming for Monday’s anatomy final, but are you getting the job training you actually need? That’s where the benefits of vocational courses come in. Vocational courses and education programs allow students to jump right into the fray, learning as they go.
Below, we’re going to break down vocational schools and the main benefits of partaking in vocational courses. More importantly, we’ll show you some examples of great online education programs.
What Are Vocational Skills and Where Do You Learn Them?
Vocational skills are the valuable bits of know-how students at community colleges, vocational schools, and technical colleges learn for their chosen field. For example, a dental hygienist learns vocational skills in dentistry and a welder learns how to operate dangerous machinery.
Vocational skills and vocational training programs allow students to pursue rewarding careers as specialists in different fields. Below are some examples.
- Nursing aid
- Dental hygienist
- Police officer
- Sous chef
- Veterinary tech
There are a few ways to go about earning certifications or associate degrees in different vocational courses and education programs.
Choosing one of the best online community colleges is a fantastic, cost-effective way of earning a two-year degree, otherwise known as an associate degree. Community colleges offer several vocational courses throughout an associate degree.
However, they don’t focus as much on the actual job training as vocational schools. For example, you can attend community college for radiology. You’ll learn all the medical skills you need, but you might not get the valuable job training you need as a radiologist or radiological technician.
Regardless of job training, earning an associate degree can be a valuable stepping stone to your future career.
This is where the majority of experience happens. Vocational schools, also known as trade schools, prepare students for the jobs they want. Vocational education programs offered to students effectively train them to become a budding expert in their field through raw experience.
Community colleges offer you some first-hand experience and education regarding a subject, but vocational schools aim to prepare students to work in the field. Make no mistake, these aren’t just blue-collar jobs. Vocational schools offer education programs for animation, public relations, finance, computer technology, and marketing.
The Main Benefits of Vocational Courses
Attending vocational courses is an excellent opportunity for those who don’t want to attend a four-year university. Although attending a university is a great accomplishment, you need to be realistic about your education choices.
Right off the bat, a vocational school takes two fewer years than a bachelor’s degree. Vocational courses, like education programs offered at community colleges, usually take about two years to complete. This ensures students get good jobs right out of the gate.
For many students and families, the cost of a standard university can be astronomical. With college tuition growing annually, along with student debt, it’s smart to seek out a cheaper option. For some, earning a bachelor’s degree costs well over $100,000. On the flip side, vocational schools are significantly cheaper and throw you into the job market immediately.
Good Jobs Are in High Demand
Right out of a vocational program, there are a ton of worthwhile jobs for graduates. Employers immediately see that students completed solid job training and are work-ready. This can narrow down stressful and tedious job searches.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs like electricians will experience significant growth over the next decade. This constant increase is due to the continual demand for these professionals and their technical educations. Jobs like electricians, HVAC installers, and plumbers will never go away. Keep that in mind.
Smaller Class Size
Vocational education programs usually have smaller class sizes. This is a great benefit, as it allows you to interact with instructors in a closer way. Small class size means more one-on-one time, giving you a better feel for the occupation and its practices.
Start Whenever You Want
Something unique to trade schools and vocational courses is the freedom you have when applying. Where four-year universities have strict deadlines, vocational schools allow for more flexible admissions. They usually have multiple start dates throughout the year, allowing you to jump right into a curriculum sooner.
Best Online Vocational Courses and Schools
Where should you look for an excellent vocational education? It depends on where you are, how you learn, and what resources are available to you.
There are some fantastic vocational skills to learn online in the comfort of your own home. These vocational courses are great ways to get a feel for what you’ll learn at a vocational school.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Madison Area Technical College offers an astonishing amount of vocational courses. Additionally, its online learning education programs are unmatched. Along with standard in-person classes, it provides both asynchronous and synchronous online learning.
Its online education programs allow you to take classes at your own pace, from anywhere in the world. It also has particularly cheap tuition compared to many other trade schools.
Some standout education programs from MATC are:
- Automotive Technician
- Carpentry Techniques
- Culinary Arts
- Criminal Justice Studies
- HVAC Apprentice
- Occupational Therapy
Penn Foster College, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is an entirely online college. It offers associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and vocational courses in their Career Diploma section.
Its tuition is pretty low with flexible payment plans. As with most online education programs, Penn Foster College allows you unfettered freedom to complete classes and work on your own time.
Some great, affordable career and technical education programs are:
- Travel and Tourism Specialist
- Medical Assistant
- Dental Assistant
After completing a career diploma, Penn Foster College offers excellent career services to ensure you get a good job right after graduation.
Ashworth College provides cheap, comprehensive vocational training programs in 12 of the most popular trade school concentrations listed below.
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- Automotive Automatic Transmission
- Automotive Engine Performance
- Automotive HVAC
- Automotive Technician
- Diesel Mechanic
- Dog Obedience Trainer
- Electrician Training
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Home Inspection
With the significant shift to online learning, Ashworth and many trade schools are accommodating in extraordinary ways. Ashworth provides hours of valuable online videos and courses for excellent learning potential.
Ashworth’s education programs boost your job prospects and allow you to focus on practical skills at a fraction of the cost of other trade schools.
A Quick Note on Certificate Programs
Online vocational courses allow you to earn a valuable certificate, exhibiting your knowledge in a specific subject. For many jobs, a certificate can be the clincher during a job interview. Depending on what field you explore, a certificate program varies in length and cost.
Vocational Courses: The Verdict
Should you take vocational courses? It depends on a few factors in your life. For some, the cost of a university is simply too much to bear at the moment. Some programs offered by traditional universities don’t satisfy the need to get right into the workforce after school.
Other students may benefit from a comprehensive career and technical education. If any of these benefits and online vocational courses pique your interest, make sure to do your research. If you find a good fit, you could end up with a good job.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.