Universities. Colleges. Apprenticeships. Vocational schools. Because there are many choices about which type of post-secondary institution to attend, it can be difficult to know what to do. Both traditional colleges and vocational schools are equally valid choices, but the south Texas college that is right for you depends on a number of factors, as indicated below:
- Do you know your career path?: Do you have an idea of what you want to do for your career? At a four-year south Texas college, you will need to take a variety of courses, some of which will pertain to your major while others teach you about interesting, albeit unrelated subjects. This educational model is better suited to those who may not yet know exactly what they want to do, but enjoy critical thinking and analysis, as well as some hands-on information. On the other side, vocational schools are aimed at those who do have a specific career goal. Students will take courses directly related to their field of study. For example, if you want to be a welder, then you would take courses related only to welding. Additionally, you will engage in a lot of hands-on training so that you gain the necessary skill set for your career. This requires that you know your career path before you enroll.
- How much hands-on training do you prefer?: The best vocational colleges teach primarily through hands-on training. You will have access to the latest techniques, tools, and knowledge that you need to succeed in your career. However, you will still need to take some academic classes to complement your training. While some traditional colleges do offer cooperative programs that give a taste of the real world, your education is achieved primarily through courses that teach you how to analyze issues, solve problems, and apply theory to research topics requiring critical thinking skills.
- How much flexibility in schooling do you need?: Both vocational schools and traditional colleges have options for flexibility, but for full-time college students, you may be beholden to a specific schedule or educational path. This will help ensure that you have access to the correct courses in the right order so that you achieve your academic goals. Vocational schools offer part-time and full-time schedules, online courses, and weekend classes.
- Is speed of completion a factor?: The time to complete your education at a vocational school is shorter – generally ranging between six months to two years, depending on your program. Most programs at traditional colleges range between two to four years.
- Job prospects: The specificity of vocational training lets you connect with potential employers much more easily, particularly when combined with your hands-on training. However, a degree from a traditional south Texas college offers more flexibility. For example, an English degree can open the doors to teaching, journalism, technical writing, or editing while a diploma in welding allows you to become a welder. Graduates of vocational schools may have an easier time finding a position right away while graduates of traditional south Taxes college may have greater access to a higher-level career.
Both traditional colleges and vocational schools provide sound educational options and credentials that will prepare you for employment. However, the right choice of a south texas college depends on you and your career goals. Regardless of which you select, remember that you are taking the right step towards furthering your education, knowledge, and outlook, which will ultimately increase your value in your future profession.