Vocational training and Trade Education are two of the newest forms of post-secondary education. Both programs are designed to prepare students to enter the rewarding field of trades professions after graduation. They offer a wide variety of career options in areas such as mechanical engineering, plumbing, heating and electrical, and machining. In order to get the skills needed for success in these highly competitive fields, both students and graduates must complete courses in the core areas of business, accounting, and economics.
Today’s economy has had a dramatic effect on the need for highly educated workers. In response to that, many employers have instituted “one hour or better” work schedules, which often translates into increased hours worked by college-educated workers. As a result, many tradespeople are experiencing job layoffs, reduced hours, and reduced benefits and pensions. This has had a detrimental affect on the ability of those individuals to acquire new skills or to retain their previous ones. Fortunately, there is an alternative for today’s workforce apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeship programs offer one of the most effective employment opportunities for today’s college students. Through trade schools and apprenticeship programs, today’s students not only learn essential trade skills but to develop job skills that are in high demand. They gain experience in the application of technology and leadership, while gaining valuable practical hands-on experience. This combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job application experience results in graduates with the combination of knowledge and confidence necessary to succeed within today’s marketplace.
The high demand for tradespeople means that wages are fair and competitive. With an unemployment rate of close to 10%, many people are frustrated with their current situation. For this reason, they may be contemplating, not joining, the ranks of the unemployed. Instead of walking away from their chosen profession, perhaps focusing on their family and friends, or choosing to accept a pay cut, individuals should consider attending a trade school or two.
Apprenticeship programs are available at technical, vocational and community colleges nationwide. However, the best programs are found at four-year colleges that focus specifically on the development of skilled tradespeople. At these institutions, students receive both general and specific training in both the construction trades and carpentry trades. Students also have the opportunity to participate in specialties in their field of choice.
The benefits of attending a trade school are well-documented. Graduates typically earn more money and, at the same time, enjoy better job satisfaction. Students who graduate successfully complete the program and become fully qualified workers are usually more confident about themselves and more committed to their career than students who start out with a college degree and no career training. In addition, the increased level of expertise that comes from being trained under the direct supervision of experienced workers gives students the competitive edge needed to advance in their career.
If you’re interested in obtaining your trade skills certification or training, be sure to visit one of the accredited trade schools or vocational institutions that can offer you the kind of hands-on experience that will make a positive impact on your resume. Ask questions about the programs offered, the student instructors and the track record of the institution. If possible, visit some of the classes in person. If that’s not possible, try to contact a few of the instructors beforehand to ask questions. It’s important to feel comfortable with your instructor, as well as the other students in the class, so be sure that you feel good about them all when you meet them.
Another option to consider is attending a vocational institute for two years instead of just a traditional four-year college. Although most vocational schools and community colleges expect students to maintain a B average, the upper limit for graduation is much lower than it is for traditional colleges. In many cases, these programs offer financial aid to help make tuition affordable. Many vocational schools are accredited by third-party organizations. Check to see what programs they participate in to get the best education possible.