Vocational School

Start a new career and learn a trade

Job prospects for unskilled laborers are shrinking. Employment statistics suggest that as many as two-thirds of new jobs are being taken by technicians, specialists and workers with skilled trades. You can put yourself in an excellent position for sustained career success by going to vocational school.

Trade schools offer vocational education in a comprehensive range of fields and industries. At a vocational college, you can learn a trade in as little as one academic year, depending on your interests and the level of professional certification you require.

Courses Offered at Technical Schools

Traditionally, the course offerings at vocational schools are designed to prepare students for careers in skilled trades. Welding school, plumbing school and electrician school are mainstays of vocational colleges. Auto mechanics, heating and air conditioning specialists, medical assistants and technicians, truck drivers and metalworkers also train at trade schools.

How to Choose a Vocational College

Your first step is to choose an area of study. Decide on the type of job you'd like to train for, then check to see what's required in terms of study, credentials and certifications. You should do your own research on salary ranges and employment statistics for your chosen profession, as some vocational colleges may skew these figures to entice more enrollments.

You should tour the facilities of any school you're considering and check to see how modern and complete their training equipment is. If possible, sit in on a class. Look at class sizes, and try to gauge how effectively the instructor communicates with students.

Former students are an excellent measure of an institution's value. Most schools will be happy to put you in touch with recent graduates, and you can ask them about their experiences at the school and their current job prospects.

If you need financial assistance, you will naturally be more drawn to schools that offer tuition assistance. Remember, though, that in-house financial aid is not your only alternative. Never choose a school solely because it is willing to finance your education.

Finally, compare programs. Ask for statistical measures of graduate success by finding out what percentage of program graduates go on to secure related employment within a year of leaving the school. You'll get the best value from a school that offers a return on your educational investment by providing quality, relevant education that helps you build in-demand skills.