Continuing education beyond high school can help put you on the path to success to reach your career goals. However, you have options between going the traditional college for an associate or bachelor’s degree or going to a technical or vocational school for career training. Vocational schools offer a shorter training time and 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. Below are some of the differences between trade schools and colleges to help you with your decision.
Colleges that offer degrees typically last at least two to four years. About 64 percent of students take even longer to graduate — in some cases up to six years. Courses at vocational schools, on the other hand, typically last no more than two years and some span for just 6 weeks or less.
Programs at vocational schools in Waco range between $4,000 to $25,000 for tuition and other fees, with an average cost of around $13,000. Colleges cost on an average of $28,683 per year for Texas residents, according to College for All Texans. Multiply this by the 4-6 years to get a degree, and considering loans and grants, the average college student graduates with $28,400 of debt which is typically more than the cost of an entire program at a vocational school. Most vocational schools also offer grants and financial aid, so be sure to check out all of the financial offerings at your school of choice.
Vocational and trade schools focus your education around classes that deal directly with the career you are training for to prepare you for the job and any certification exams required. Colleges present a more well-rounded assortment of courses including a number that are unrelated to your major or career goals. This accounts for the difference in time because there are more classes to take to earn an associate or bachelor degree.
In Texas, around 65% of students going through vocational schools finish their programs. In contrast, only around 41% of students finish degree programs in colleges and universities according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The longer length of time required to complete the degree programs leads to the higher dropout rate.
Vocational and career training programs train for specific jobs and often these schools help place their students with jobs in demand in their area. They cater their program offerings to jobs that are in demand. Colleges and Universities offer degrees that in some cases are harder to find work after graduation. Also, graduates of vocational schools typically graduate with less debt than 4 year degree students.
Vocational schools in Waco also offer the following benefits over 4-year degrees:
- Smaller class sizes: On average, vocational schools in Texas have a student to faculty ratio of 18:1.
- Networking Capabilities: You’ll be training with other people who are pursuing the same career so it is a great way to network with other professionals in the early stages of your career.
- Hands-On Training: Classrooms and labs have learning areas that resemble the workplace to give you the hands-on training so you’ll be prepared and confident with your new skillset.
- Job Help: Vocational schools know what employers are looking for and can provide support with resume writing, job seeking, and interview skills.
- Flexibility: More flexible study options. Students may be able to study online, at weekends, or during the evenings.
There are several vocational and trade schools in Waco if that is the route for you. Click Here to read about some of the options available. If this is the type of higher ed you prefer, these schools offer various training programs in health care, IT, business, cosmetology and skilled trades. The choice is yours!