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What Are Technical Schools?

By Cathy Rogers
Updated May 20, 2024
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Technical schools provide training for specific job-related skills, often those related to machinery or equipment. Most offer programs that are two years or less. Some programs are designed so that a student can transfer, or articulate, earned credits to a 4-year college if he or she chooses.

The courses offered at technical schools vary, but many provide training in electronics, information technology, drafting design, and healthcare and medical fields. A tech school teaches its students an actual skill, in addition to theory. Most programs maintain a workplace environment, as opposed to a traditional classroom environment, where attendance and professional behavior are mandatory.

Many technical school programs offer certificates upon completion. Tuition costs are usually less than those at most two or four year colleges, although a student will most likely need to purchase class materials and tools. An advantage of this type of training is the outlook for such skilled jobs, as fewer and fewer employees are trained in these fields. Additional areas of job training offered by technical schools include private investigation, culinary training, cosmetology, welding, auto mechanics, and other industrial fields. Arts, bartending, fashion design, travel, and video gaming are also taught at some tech schools.

Some technical schools also offer bachelor degree programs in a limited number of fields. Online technical education programs are also available. If a student feels he or she might want to pursue additional education beyond a technical school program, it is important to ascertain early on whether the school has an articulation or transfer agreement with a college or colleges.

Instructors at technical schools may or may not have a college degree; however, all instructors have training in the particular field in which they teach. Many programs prepare students to take licensing or certification exams upon completion of the required courses. Students who lean toward technical training in high school might be able to accelerate their studies at a post-secondary tech school.

Depending on the job skill to be studied, traits that are important for students pursing technical school training include good manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical stamina, and strength. In other programs, students might need strong mechanical or analytical problem solving abilities or good measurement skills. For those who pursue health-related technical training, it is imperative that students have good communication skills and the ability to follow precise orders.

PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By sherlock87 — On Nov 08, 2010

@stolaf23, like you, I never wanted to go to a vocational technical school. However, I really appreciate that many of these schools are increasing in size and quality; while it's hard in today's job market to get hired with only a basic high school diploma, college is definitely not for everyone and not every kind of career requires a college degree. I'm glad there are several sorts of education opportunities available.

By stolaf23 — On Nov 08, 2010

The tri-county area where I went to school shared a vocational school and career center between all the school districts, and I knew several students who went there for their final two years of high school to gain accreditation towards trades. The school also catered to adult students as well. While I never would have considered attending a technical trade school, I can see why it would be a good idea. I had friends who, because they made the decision to go to technical schools in certain fields, were prepared right out of school to get jobs.

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