What Are Vocational Classes?

Vocational classes teach students a skill or trade by using a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. For those not interested in obtaining a college degree, vocational classes can be useful in developing skills that can translate into a rewarding career. Read on for more information regarding vocational classes.

Vocational Classes

From automobile repair to welding, vocational classes prepare students for a wide range of technical or trade occupations. Vocational classes can be taken in high schools, at community or technical colleges, or through adult education programs.

Important Facts About Vocational Classes

Prerequisites Varies depending on program nature; high school diploma standard; certain courses require relevant licensure/certification
Online Availability Yes
Common Courses Applied communication, mathematics, expository writing, public speaking
Possible Careers Automotive technician, accountant, truck driver, carpenter, construction manager
Median Salary (2018) $40,710 (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High School

Many traditional high schools offer vocational classes such as wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, typing and home economics. These types of classes can prepare young students for a future in carpentry, mechanics, or machining. Some vocational technical high schools devote part of the day to classroom instruction in traditional studies and the rest of the day to vocational classes.

Technical and Community Colleges

Technical colleges, trade schools and community colleges across the United States offer a wide range of vocational classes. Many of these classes are part of extensive programs offering 1- to 2-year certificates or associate's degrees in a variety of subjects. Some common subjects of vocational classes provided at community and technical colleges include automotive mechanics, culinary arts and electronics.

Adult Education

Many high schools, colleges and career development centers offer adult education vocational classes. These vocational classes can be used to teach a student new skills or to reinforce skills needed for their current occupation. These classes are typically held at night or on weekends. The length of many of these programs varies, ranging from a few weeks to a year or two. Some of these programs are administered and coordinated by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).

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