Trade and Vocational Schools
College is not for everyone. However, many very good jobs require specific skills and knowledge. How do you get that education if you do not want to go to college? Trade schools (vocational schools) may be the answer. Just as there are pros and cons to attending traditional colleges, the same is true for trade schools or other types of organizations that provide an education that is an alternative to what can be obtained at a traditional college.
Farther down this page, we will provide links to websites that will contain directories for finding trade schools for a large variety of careers. Also, on these websites will be a wealth of information about trade schools that you need to take your time in reading. Before getting to that list of sites, we want to make sure that you know the pros and cons of trade schools. Much of what we are going to write will be a repetition of what is stressed on other sites. However, we repeat this information because we feel that trade schools are a GREAT way to achieve a successful career for many people BUT there are some real risks with trade schools that people need to know.
ACCREDITATION: Just as important as it is for traditional colleges to be accredited by the appropriate governing body (organization), so VERY TRUE is it for trade schools and maybe MORE SO for trade schools. When it comes to trade schools, you have to be VERY CAREFUL when it comes to accreditation. You do not want to become involved with "diploma mills" and other such SCAMS. You have to do your research. Please contact multiple people and organizations to make sure that the trade school that you want to attend will give you an education / degree / certificate that future employers will recognize as legitimate.
- Trade schools have a tendency to teach just the skills that you need to do the job. Depending on the specific career, it is very possible that you do NOT learn English composition, political science, astronomy, sociology, psychology, and a lot of other subjects that you will NOT need for the job. For example, if you want a career in medical transcription, you take classes such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and typing. You are NOT forced to take a number of classes in the humanities like you would at a traditional college.
- There are many careers that can be obtained from an accredited trade school that will provide you with a very good salary, health benefits, and other amenities. Sometimes these careers can be achieved in less time than trying to achieve that same degree at a traditional college.
- For some careers, some employers would prefer a degree / diploma / certificate from a trade school, rather than a college. Some employers feel that the
on-the-job training that some trade schools provide is superior to the theoretical programs that are offered at some colleges.
- As we say over and over again, accreditation by the correct agency is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Not only does the trade school need to be accredited by the right organization, but the particular career program within the trade school NEEDS to be accredited by the appropriate professional organization. Let us repeat that. The specific career program that you are taking, within the trade school, NEEDS to be accredited by the appropriate governing agency. More on this and accreditation is found at a different web page. Please read the information on the ACCREDITATION web page.
- Transfer of Credits can be a frustrating subject among college students but it REALLY can be a source of frustration for graduates of trade school programs. LET US PUT IT THIS WAY: generally speaking, overall, all too often... classes / credits from trade schools will NOT transfer from a trade school to a university. We put that as delicate as we could. We know that some people will disagree with what we just said but many people will agree with us. We know that transferring credits depends on a number of factors, but many people will be frustrated if they try to transfer their credits (classes) from a trade school to a university. For many people, the idea of transferring their credits from a trade school will never come to mind. For many people, they obtain a very good job through their trade school education and never seek another job that may need a degree from a traditional college. However, there are times when people decide to seek a supervisor's job which requires an associate degree from a college. There are times when people decide to change careers altogether and find what they want requires a bachelor's degree from a college. Here is where you see a limitation to obtaining a degree / diploma / certificate from a vocational school. A LOT of traditional colleges and universities will NOT recognize credits (classes) from trade (vocational) schools. Maybe, just maybe, you can take some type of CLEP test at the college to get some real-life experience credit that will apply toward college.
- Credibility of the degree might be something that may concern you. It is similar to the discussion that we have on this site about the "perception" that some employers might have about a degree obtained from a TOTALLY online university. Depending on the type of career that you are pursuing, some employers might feel more comfortable hiring a graduate from a traditional college over a graduate from a trade school. We are not saying that there is a lot of proof of this but it is something that you need to be aware of. It is something to consider and investigate. As we say during the discussion of online degrees, you are going to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on your education. You need to make sure that you are hirable after you achieve your education. You need to weigh many different options and the pros and cons of different situations.
Directories of Trade Schools / Vocational Schools / Career Schools / Technical Colleges and Institutes
Peterson's is mentioned several times on this website because this company has been in the business of contributing to education, for many years. Peterson's link to "career colleges" is at http://www.petersons.com/cca/search.asp?path=gr.fas.career.
TradeSchools.com will provide a trade school directory, trade career directory, as well as information about financial aid and scholarships.
VocationalSchools.com is very similar to TradeSchools.com
PLEASE NOTE that all of the sources mentioned above are very good sources of information about trade schools. Some are EXCELLENT sources. However, for some information, you may need simply to go to Google and type in your search for a college or a specific type of career in a particular state or province. For example, let's take a look at allied health careers. There are hospital-based, two-year programs for careers such as Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Respiratory Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapy Assistant, and a few more. Hardly any source, but Google, covers hospital-based programs. On Google, type sonographer "hospital based" and you will see Diagnostic Medical Sonographer programs taught at hospitals. You can narrow the search by adding a state.