Vocational School vs. Career-Focused College: Which One Should You Choose?

Are you goal-oriented and career-driven? Do you have a job on your mind or a company you want to join? Are there certain educational or training requirements you must fulfill before landing that dream position?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it’s no wonder why you are considering a career-centric education to get you where you need to be. Amidst a recovering economy, you want to get into the workforce as soon as you can. You want to start making way for long-term career success.

Both vocational schools and career-focused colleges are great choices for driven students like you, who are looking to get ahead in their careers. The challenge, however, lies in deciding on the educational path that best fits with your needs and job aspirations. Before making this decision, ask yourself:

  • What level of education is required to get the job?
  • How much on-the-job training do I need to start?
  • How much schooling can I commit to at this time?
  • Which educational model is best for my long-term success?

The career-driven program you choose will depend on your career interests, the educational approach you prefer, the requirements requested of your future employers, as well as your schedule needs. To help get you started, here is an overview of what Connecticut’s leading vocational schools and career-focused colleges entail:

Vocational Schools

Vocational schools (also referred to as trade schools) are a great option for students who have hyper-focused career goals in mind, but need a stretch of postsecondary education before diving into their field. With a strong focus on practical training and job preparation, these schools are a higher education model designed to get students into the workforce fast.

One of the most recognized advantages of a vocational education is that it is relatively quick: in a vocational school, students typically complete their programs in just one to two years. Some institutions even offer shorter programs that can be completed in ten weeks or less. Compared with a four-year college, the vocational path can be quite attractive for those looking to get a jumpstart on their careers.

Vocational schools, however, can be limited in their program offerings. In most cases, their 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 CT 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 offer diplomas and certificates. And typically, the credits earned in vocational schools do not transfer over to any further academic undergraduate programs you may consider down the road.

Career-Focused Colleges

Like vocational schools, career-focused colleges are focused on the professional success of students, helping them foster and cultivate the industry-specific skills employers are looking for today. However, career colleges typically step beyond the boundaries of job training alone—they also teach students ethics, theory, critical thinking, and other valuable insights that can be used in their future careers.

A career-focused college 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 college has something to offer you.

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

  • Accounting
  • Nursing
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security
  • Manufacturing and CNC Machining
  • Environmental Studies
  • Medical Assisting
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Health Science
  • And more!

All types and levels of programs are offered at career-focused colleges. At Goodwin College in Connecticut, you can earn a certificate, associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree, depending on your major and its career requirements. The best part is, our degree and certificate programs are designed to meet students’ needs:

For students on the fast-track to meet their career goals, Goodwin 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 College through our career-focused accelerated degree programs.

For students who are working, with children, or 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. Select classes can be taken either on-campus or online.

Interested in learning more about Goodwin College? Learn more today, or check out all of our programs to see why we’re a leader in career-focused education in CT! You can also interact with us on Facebook or Twitter!