Why You Should Choose Vocational Schools and 2-Year Programs
June 30, 2014
The standard advice usually given to high school graduates is this: go to college.
That's not a bad choice, but it's also not the only choice. Vocational schools offer students the opportunity to learn in an incredibly career-focused environment with hands-on learning, industry professionals teaching courses, and sometimes built-in internships or co-ops. A typical undergraduate education is almost always expensive, and can be impractical. Depending on your needs and your strengths, a vocational or 2-year degree education can be a more practical option.
Why Choose Vocational Schools?
You know what you'd like to do
Most vocational programs skip general education courses altogether- making for a more efficient use of your money. So if you don't need any time to decide what you want to do, a shorter program of study is a good option.If you're not sure what you want to study before you begin, consider going on informational interviews. Find professionals who have gone through the same program and are working in the field, and ask if you can talk with them over coffee or a meal or shadow them for a day to get a sense for the type of work they do. It is crucial that you know the type of work you're going into is right for you before you start.
You need to get into a career fast
The time it will take to finish your technical degree or certificate depends on what you're studying. At the vocational level your program of study can be as short as a few months or as long as a couple of years. Some students can't stall their income earning potential for the four or so years that a typical undergraduate education requires-- and that's OK.
You want a hands-on education
While some 4-year programs stress internships and co-op opportunities, technical or vocational certificates almost universally have a lab, clinic, or on-site experiential component. Which means that, for some certificates, you might spend more time in the field than you do in the classroom.
Many vocational schools might still offer or help you find internships, alongside their hands-on training modules. Internships are, especially in technology and industry, quite often paid opportunities. And internships always look good on resumes.
You want a Career in High Demand
The types of career choices that vocational schools offer are usually centered around the demands of the economy. Vocational schools are able to tailor their programs to match what employers are looking for, and are flexible in ways that traditional colleges aren't. Vocational schools connect with local businesses; one of their main functions is to help develop local talent for the local and regional economy. This helps to ensure that students stay in demand. Also, one of the main indicators of a school's success is their rate of job-placement after graduation. Vocational schools typically do well in this regard.
You need flexibility
Vocational training programs are more flexible, for the most part, than undergraduate programs. Night, weekend, and online classes could make it easier for you to pursue your certifications while also allowing you to work another job, making this a great choice for students with families that rely on their financial support.