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A vocational curriculum provides training in a specific field or industry. Rather than focusing on academic education, a vocational curriculum tends to place emphasis on trade skills and preparing to enter the job field. For people absolutely certain of their career goals, a vocational curriculum may be the start to a long term, fulfilling career.
Vocational schools can be found for many different fields that require technical skills rather than academic or intellectual knowledge. Often, schools with a vocational emphasis, also known as trade schools, offer certificates of completion upon fulfilling class requirements, rather than an academic degree. Some major industries that rely on vocational training include mechanics, information technology, beauty and fashion, tourism, and secretarial or office work.
A vocational curriculum allows students to focus solely on training for a career in their chosen field. Rather than confuse students with general education requirements or requisite classes outside their major, trade schools and programs are geared toward turning out competent professionals quickly. For this reason, schools with a vocational curriculum are popular for adults looking to change careers as they often promise quick and directed training meant to result in job qualifications.
Another major advantage to a vocational curriculum is that the programs are often flexible and available from a variety of sources. Many community colleges offer certificate programs designed to function as a trade school, which can be far less expensive than a university education or private vocational school. Community colleges are usually very open and welcoming environments with students of all ages, allowing adults taking career training to feel more comfortable in a school atmosphere despite having been away from school for many years.
Private vocational schools often feature flexible class schedules that benefit people with jobs or families to care for. While at a community college, classes may not be available every semester, private schools are more likely to offer a consistent program to students. In addition, many private schools offer vocational curriculum primarily through online classes, allowing students to complete work at their leisure and on their own schedules.
In the United States, private schools make up the bulk of vocational training programs, but this is not universal. Many other countries offer trade school as a viable alternative to university and may even offer intense vocational training at the secondary or high school level. Government funding is frequently available for students attending vocational schools, as it is often in the interest of the state to have a base of skilled professionals. Check with state and federal agencies to see if any funds are available to assist with financial aid.