Confused about the difference between trade schools and career-oriented colleges? Learn more!
While looking to further your career—or find a rewarding career in a new, in-demand field—the best thing you can do is to pursue a career-focused education. But there are many roads to pursuing that education, and the choice of paths can seem overwhelming. Should you pursue a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or a certificate? Should attend a typical liberal arts college, a career-focused college, or a trade school?
If you are goal-oriented and have a career in mind for your future, a trade school or career-oriented college can offer the most direct path to employment. But what is the difference between these two types of institutions?
Trade schools—also called vocational schools—focus on “career and technical education,” according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Rather than receiving a generalized education, students take very specific classes that prepare them for a particular job, typically at the entry level. Trade schools can offer certificates in their particular area of study, such as culinary arts, cosmetology, information technology, etc.
Career-focused colleges offer paths to higher education, including earning a bachelor’s degree, while still maintaining a focus on career education. Students can expect a formal coursework that focuses on in-demand careers, while still offering more insight into the theory and critical thinking skills associated with that career than a trade school. And unlike a typical liberal arts education, career-focused colleges promote hands-on experience, in-field internships, and career placement services focused on those technical, in-demand careers. At a career-focused college, you can earn a diploma, a certificate, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, depending on your major.
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