Vocation simply means a trade or profession, so a vocational school is a post-secondary institution that offers programs that are specifically tailored to a particular career. You may have also heard them referred to as technical schools, trade schools, or vocational colleges. At a vocational school, you would learn a skilled trade in a program that can take anywhere from eight months to two years to complete. Upon graduating you are rewarded with a diploma or certificate and are completely prepared to start work in the field you studied.

Skilled trades like welding, construction, automotive repair, medical coding, and more are some of the most secure and steadily-growing jobs in the country. Some of them, construction, in particular, has been growing every year over the past two decades. In order to learn a skilled trade so you can take one of the millions of jobs openings every year, you would attend a vocational school. If a traditional path of higher education doesn’t appeal to you or doesn’t feel like it is a good fit for you, there are hundreds upon hundreds of vocational schools across America with plenty of programs to choose from. When you think about your local ‘tech school’ you may not be able to imagine that they offer online programs, but schools like this have been implementing them over the past few years. A lot of the programs that you can choose from don’t have a “hands-on” element so they are easily translated into distance-education programs for students who could benefit from them. The benefits of online college include affordability, because so many of them boast lower costs and fewer fees associated with program completion; flexibility, because there are programs out there that allow you to complete them on your own time and; accessibility, because people may have important family obligations or not live near a school offering what they need. Online education at a vocational school is going to be no different. You’ll be able to get all of the technical skills and training that you need to confidently start your career without interrupting your lifestyle or breaking the bank.

Vocational school tends to career a negative stigma because of the emphasis that is placed on academic colleges. Some students may feel like a good career is out of their reach because, for some reason or another, traditional college isn’t an option for them right now. The stigma surrounding vocational schools is so effective that vocational programs were removed from most high schools throughout the 90’s. But, the job security has been proven in so many fields of skilled trade. In addition to that, there is a shortage every single year of skilled workers to fill the positions available, so they sit empty. Speaking of employers, many employers when you work in a skilled trade will provide ample opportunity for advancement and might even reimburse you for continuing your education. Investing in your future is always the smartest choice to make, and researching some trade jobs that appeal to you could be your first step on that journey.