Whether you are just finishing high school or you want to return to education to improve your career options, you are probably thinking about enrolling at college. However, for many people, vocational school may be a better option; in just a short period of time, you can receive a certification that will lead directly to a career in a highly-skilled profession, such as in health care, business, beauty, utilities, IT, or construction. If you are unsure that this would be the right choice for you, check out these differences between vocational schools and colleges in Corpus Christi.
Degree programs always last at least four years, but 64 percent of students take even longer to graduate — in some cases up to six years. Courses at vocational schools, on the other hand, last no more than two years and some span for just 10 weeks or less.
Programs at vocational schools in Corpus Christi cost between $4,000 and $25,000; on average $13,000 for tuition and other fees. Compare this to colleges: $28,683 per year for Texas residents, according to College for All Texans. When you add this to the longer program length, during which time students are spending on living expenses, the average college student graduates with $28,400 of debt — more than the cost of an entire program at a vocational school.
At college, students study a broad range of subjects, including a number that are unrelated to their major or career goals. Vocational schools, however, place an emphasis on practical skills needed for a particular job. This involves plenty of hands-on training, all of which is intended to help students feel confident in their ability to immediately begin work after graduation.
The long timespan of degree programs also leads to a higher dropout rate —around 41 percent of students never complete their degree, says the National Center for Education Statistics. In comparison, at vocational schools in Texas, around 65 percent of student finish their courses.
Almost all vocational school programs lead directly to secure careers in growing industries. In contrast, college graduates often struggle to find work, and the unemployment rate for graduates is growing. This means that the small annual earning difference of $11,180 per year is of little benefit to college students, especially when you consider that graduates of vocational schools have the chance to begin working at least two years earlier and end their courses with far less, if any, debt.
There are a few more differences that may make vocational schools a better option for many students in Corpus Christi. These include:
- Typically smaller class sizes. On average, vocational schools in Texas have a student to faculty ratio of 18:1. As all students in a class want to pursue exactly the same type of career, it is also a great chance to network with other professionals in the earliest stages of your career.
- Training labs with the latest equipment. Learning areas tend to resemble the workplace more than a classroom.
- Support with resume writing, job seeking, and interview skills.
- More flexible study options. Students may be able to study online, at weekends, or during the evenings.
If you decide that a vocational school is the right option for you, there are plenty of possibilities in Corpus Christi. The next step is to decide what to study — through the huge range of choices, you should be able to find a program that piques your interest and leads to a secure career with a good salary.