Vocational Schools

Attending a vocational school is a potentially fast way to get a job in the career of your dreams. Vocational schools have programs available for an almost countless amount of career types, but what are the enrollment requirements? How long does it take to complete vocational training and earn a certification in the career field of your choice?

While some students begin vocational training when still enrolled in high school, certain vocational schools and career types require prospective enrollees to be a minimum of eighteen years old. Federal and state-funded scholarships are available in addition to other financial aid to help pay for tuition. How do you apply for financial aid in 2021? What are the top vocational schools in the nation today? Read ahead for a comprehensive and informative guide on vocational schools and how to get your certification fast.  

Types of Vocational Schools

The type of vocational school you attend needs to align with your career goals and specific choice of vocation. Fortunately, countless types of vocations schools are available to help you start the career of your dreams fast. First, however, it is important to understand how vocational schools are categorized in two distinct ways.

Learning/Training Style

Multiple avenues are available for attending vocational schools in 2021. Learning/training styles vary because people of all ages from high school to middle-age adults attend vocational schools for different reasons. Some adults choose to change careers mid-life, while others lose their long-time jobs and need to learn a new trade to stay employed. Certain younger students know the type of career they want at an early age and enter Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs while still enrolled in high school. Others join the military right out of high school and choose a trade based on their service experience after discharge. Types of vocational learning/training styles include:

Career Fields

Each type of learning/training style education as listed above is further broken down into topics of study relevant to particular career fields. Vocational school programs exist for prospective, electricians, masons, cosmetologists, carpenters and plumbers. A few additional career fields pursuable by attending a vocational school include:

  • Veterinary assistant.

  • CDL driver.

  • Phlebotomist technician.

  • Entry-level IT consultant.

  • Dental assistant.

  • Travel agent.

  • Welder.

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment requirements for vocational school is dependent on a variety of factors including the type of career you are pursuing and the state in which you live. For example, licensing & certification requirements for electricians are not only different from those of a cosmetologist, but they also vary per state. Some vocational programs allow students to begin training while still in high school while others require enrollees to have a high school diploma or equivalency degree (GED).

Certain certificate programs are only available to students who already possess associate or bachelor’s degrees in specific fields of studies. These types of certificates are generally purposed for helping employees advance careers and increase salaries. They are also sometimes required on an annual, bi-annual or tri-annual basis for employees to stay in compliance with new regulations and learn new technologies/methodology related to their applicable fields.                                                                                 

Vocational School Certificates – How Long Does It Take?

Obtaining a vocational school certificate is relatively fast but completion timeframes vary based on your career path and type of certificate pursued. Some certificates are obtainable in as little as three months. Others require twelve months of training. Some vocational school programs last one to two years, again depending on the type of career you choose and level of training required.

Certain jobs also require apprenticeships and on-the-job training in addition to vocational school attendance. Apprenticeships are obtained based on the number of hours you complete. The length of every apprenticeship and amount of required hours varies based on the career field and state in which you live as well, however. Fortunately, many apprenticeships run simultaneously with vocational school training, helping you enter the workforce fast.

Costs, Scholarships & Financial Aid

The highest average tuition cost of attending trade school is approximately $33,000 for the entirety of the education. This is not the case for most trade schools available today, however, and much lower starting tuition points are available. For example, a three-month certificate program at a trade school might cost between several hundred and several thousand dollars to obtain. The costs of attending trade school simply vary greatly depending on career field of choice and level of training required. Additional fees are also expected for obtaining your applicable license, purchasing books/supplies and any licensing examination fees.

Scholarships are available to help pay for some or all your vocational school tuition costs when qualified. U.S. states and federal governments offer vocational/trade school scholarships as well as other forms of financial aid. Scholarships (and grant monies) from individual schools are also awarded based on financial need, academic achievements and quality of extracurricular activities. Top resources and links to options for scholarships and other financial aid include:

How to Find the Best Vocational School for You

When researching vocational or trade schools make certain the school of your choice is accredited. Accredited online school programs are now equally as common and on-site programs as well. The U.S. Department of Education has resources to help you find the best vocational school for you. If in high school or college, your guidance counselor or advisor will also have resources available to help your research.

Top Vocational Schools in the Nation for 2021

The best vocational or trade school for you might be the community college in your area. Keep in mind most schools charge reduced tuition for in-state enrollee. Certain programs are better in other states, however, and travel might be required for you to obtain the best vocational training possible. A varietal list of top vocational schools in the nation for 2021 includes:

New Career At No Cost

Your new career may be at no cost to you. Financial and grants do exist for vocational courses making it free to you to start in a new career field. Here are different types of financial help and resources. 

  • Financial Aid: Many qualify for financial aid through government funding. Some pre-qualifications may exist. For more help visit studentaid.gov
  • Vocational Grants: Many may also qualify for vocational grants and scholarships. To find more information on grants visit gocollege.com