Is a Vocational School Right for You?

Setting your sights on the future is exciting, but can be overwhelming at the same time. How can you know which is the best path towards your career goals? Right now, you may be wondering if vocational school is the right next step for you.

  • Do you already have a dream job in mind or company to work for?
  • Are you looking for an educational program that is tailored to that career?
  • Are there certain educational or training requirements you must fulfill to get there?

If you answered yes to the questions above, then it’s time you start exploring career-focused and vocational school options. These types of schools will prepare you for your career field, without requiring many extra, unapplicable courses to get there. As the country faces a severe worker shortage – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic – a vocational school, career-focused college, or trade school can help you get into the workforce fast.

When it comes to vocational colleges vs. career-focused colleges, it is important to understand what makes each unique. Read on, as we break down everything you need to know about vocational school before you take the next step towards making your career goals a reality.

What is a Vocational School?

Vocational schools – sometimes referred to as trade schools or technical schools – are designed for students who have hyper-focused career goals in mind, but need a stretch of postsecondary education before diving into their field. These schools typically offer practical job training and preparation, with very little general education requirements.

Many students appreciate vocational schools because they are known to be relatively quick. At a vocational school, students typically complete their programs in just one to two years. Some institutions offer even shorter programs that can be completed in ten weeks or less. When compared with a four-year college, the vocational educational path can be attractive for those looking to get a jumpstart on their careers.

While the timeline can be appealing for many aspiring professionals, vocational schools sometimes lack in their ability to equip students with the skills needed for long-term career success, such as:

  • Communications
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethics
  • Writing comprehension

This is because, as noted above, vocational schools do not always require general education courses. Therefore, vocational schools are a good move for those who already have experience in these areas, whether that’s on-the-job training or some college education, but who need to check off the postsecondary certification or diploma requirements to land their dream job.

If you feel you need to expand your skillsets in analysis, critical thinking, communication, or career ethics, you may consider a secondary option: a career-focused school.

What is a Career-Focused School?

Career-focused schools are postsecondary institutions (e.g. colleges and universities) that focus on the professional success of students. These schools help students foster and cultivate the industry-specific skills needed for their career, and the skills that employers are looking for today. However, career-focused schools typically step beyond the boundaries of job training alone — they also teach students ethics, theory, critical thinking, and other valuable skill sets that can be used in their future careers.

A career-focused education is an excellent course of study for individuals of all interests and all walks of life – Whether you are still in high school or looking to continue your college education, a seasoned employee hoping to advance in your field or start a new career path altogether, a career-focused school has something to offer you.

The timeline for career-focused college tends to be like a vocational school, in that students may complete their programs more quickly than with a traditional four-year program. More on that in a moment.

What Types of Careers Come from Vocational School?

Vocational schools can be limited in their program offerings, so it is important to seek out schools that offer courses in your specific field of work. In most cases, vocational programs are tailored to career fields that do not require a college degree, such as construction or massage therapy, and prepare students for entry-level positions. Some vocational schools will maintain one specific career focus, such as automotive training, while other vocational schools will comprise of a variety of programs in unrelated fields.

Some common career programs you’ll find at the vocational schools in Connecticut include:

  • Automotive training
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary arts
  • Electrical installation and maintenance
  • Floral design
  • Medical transcription
  • Office administration
  • Welding or plumbing
  • Carpentry or construction
  • Hotel and restaurant management

Instead of an associate or bachelor’s degree, vocational schools typically offer diplomas and certificates. In addition, the credits earned in vocational schools do not usually transfer over to any further academic undergraduate programs you may consider down the road. If you are considering going back to school later in life, you might consider alternative options.

A career-focused college or university, on the other hand, offers students a more inclusive education while preparing them for their chosen field.

Careers with a Career-Focused College Education

In a career-oriented program, students can expect formal college coursework combined with dynamic career training. Unlike your standard liberal arts school, career schools offer full-on, hands-on experience, in-field internships, and career placement services in high-demand fields such as:

  • Nursing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • CNC Machining
  • Environmental Studies
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Coding
  • Mortuary Science
  • Health Science
  • Human Services
  • Histology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • And more!

All types and levels of programs are offered at career-focused institutions. At Goodwin University, for example, you can earn a certificate, associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree, depending on your major and its career requirements. The best part? Our degree and certificate programs are designed to meet students’ needs.

More Options & Flexibility with a Career-Focused Program

For students on the fast-track to meet their career goals, Goodwin University offers three academic sessions each year for faster degree completion. Full-time students have the potential to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as three years at Goodwin through our career-focused accelerated degree programs.

For students who are working, have children, or have limited in terms of schedule, Goodwin’s certificate and degree programs remain flexible. Part-time students can benefit from a full range of evening and weekend course offerings. Curriculums can be designed to be on-campus, online, or a hybrid of the two.

Interested in learning more about Goodwin University and the many career-focused programs available? Check out all of our programs to see why we’re a leader in career-focused education in CT! Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.