What Are Vocational Schools?

Vocational schools are also known as technical, trade or career schools. While many offer a well-rounded education, vocational schools place greater emphasis on preparing students for specific careers or occupations. Most vocational schools are private schools that may be either nonprofit or for-profit.

What Vocational Schools Offer

Vocational schools generally provide practical, concrete training for specific jobs, in contrast to traditional academic colleges and universities that also present abstract and theoretical content. Graduation from these programs prepares students for entry-level work without further training or education. Many vocational schools also offer academic courses. Nearly all vocational schools award certificates and associate's degrees, with some also offering bachelor's, master's and even doctoral degree programs. Some schools may also offer programs online.

Important Facts About Vocational Schools

PrerequisitesHigh School Diploma or G.E.D.
ProgramsAutomotive Technician, Computer technician, Hairstylist, Medical Assistant, Truck Driver
Degrees Associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate
CertificationOffered

Career Preparation at Vocational Schools

Typical program areas at vocational or technical schools include computer technology, health care services, law enforcement and business administration, among others. Many schools offer programs designed to prepare students for the following careers:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Police Officer
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Graphic Designer
  • TV and Radio Broadcaster
  • Computer Technician
  • HVAC-R Technician

Accreditation of Vocational Schools

Accreditation is a critical factor to consider when choosing which vocational school to attend. Some vocational, technical and career schools claim accreditation, but the accrediting agency they cite may not be one recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Earning a degree from a school whose accreditation is recognized by the Department of Education ensures that the education you receive meets certain academic standards. Further, it is more likely that the credits you've earned will transfer to another school and that employers will consider your education to be acceptable.

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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