Oftentimes our educational focus tends to be on what is considered “traditional” schooling. We picture the usual classroom filled with desks, students taking notes, and teachers lecturing from the front of the room. However, this traditional route is not always beneficial to every type of learner.
Career and technical education programs are an option that can make a positive impact on many students. Students have the choice to attend a vocational or a technical school with the goal of earning a technical degree. Teachers can help students by encouraging them to find a program that is a good fit for them.
Vocational or technical schools provide students with hands-on experiences in fields in which students might already be interested. These programs sometimes lead to excellent career opportunities for students and often lead to higher graduation rates. A technical degree can open doors for students and help offer a higher financial return on investment than a traditional school.
A vocational school (also known as a technical school or a trade school) is a school that trains students for a specific career. These schools offer guidance in gaining knowledge and skills for a particular occupation. There are high school programs that are considered career-based education as well as college programs. Most college programs are completed in two years.
Technical schools offer courses that are geared to a specific career path. These schools allow students to focus on their interests and to choose an educational path that meets their needs. There are numerous program offerings available that vary from school to school.
For students who are interested in the medical field, there are programs to help students become a pharmacy tech, a dental assistant, or a physical therapy aide. If a student has a love for animals, there are programs to become a veterinary tech. Students who are passionate about exercise can choose to study to be a personal trainer.
If business is an interest of a student, she can study catering, travel and tourism, and hotel and restaurant management.
Technical schools also offer creative programs for students who enjoy floral design, event or wedding planning, and interior design. Additionally, there are courses on carpentry that include cabinet making and home remodeling.
For students with an interest in repairing things or helping construct things, there are many programs available. Electrical tech programs train students to become residential electricians or to repair appliances and basic electronics. Students can study trades like plumbing, HVAC tech, or landscaping tech. If a student loves cars, there are courses in automotive repairs that specialize in cars, motorcycles, or heavy trucks.
Technical colleges can be a great alternative to a traditional college for many students. Students often enjoy the programs more because the students choose a program based on their interests. Many of the courses offer hands-on learning that is interactive. Students also see the learning as more immediately applicable because specific skills are being taught that will help them in their future professions.
Students have fewer classes to take that have no relationship to their future career. This leaner schedule means that students can focus on quality over quantity. With most technical degrees taking two years (instead of the traditional 4-year degree), students can be in the work force earlier and start making money sooner.
Speaking of money, a technical degree offers lower college costs with a possible bigger return on investment. Four-year colleges are expensive. Many students have to pay room and board fees in addition to the tuition fees. For some students, this leads to an accumulation of student debt. Technical colleges have lower tuition costs and no living fees.
Nick Additionally, students are generally more motivated to graduate. They are all working toward similar goals—getting a technical degree and passing national licensure exams so they can start their careers.
While a traditional education works for some students, many students would benefit from an alternate path such as technical education. When helping students plan for their educational futures, be sure to explore vocational and technical options for students. Some students will be interested in this option where they can focus on their individual interests. These programs could be what is needed to help a student stay motivated, graduate, and start working in a field without accumulating a lot of debt.