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What Are the Differences between Technical and Vocational Training?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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While the major difference between technical and vocational training may seem somewhat semantic in nature, it is mostly related to the subjects that each focuses on. Vocational training often refers to education and training that focuses more on practical skills and being able to perform tasks related to working in a particular industry. Technical training is similar in nature, but the focus is on technology and developments made in computers and digital information. While both types of training are less academic and more practical, vocational training often focuses on manufacturing and construction while technical training is more computer-oriented.

The difference between these types of training is somewhat subtle, but it is important. Vocational training is more practical than academic and often focuses on skills and abilities a person needs to perform a job. Much of this training has often been aimed at preparing students for work in construction, manufacturing, and similar jobs that require skilled labor. This type of training can often be found in secondary education, such as the high school level in the US, and post-secondary education as an alternative to college.

As opposed to the manufacturing-oriented vocational training, technical training usually involves computers and advanced technology. This is the primary difference between technical and vocational training, since they both tend to focus on skills and practical ability over academic research or knowledge for its own sake. As a great deal of tasks have been automated and increasingly computerized, technical training has become more important than ever before.

The other major difference is the outlook for each type of training in different countries. In countries like the US, for example, a great deal of effort has been expended to reduce the focus on vocational training in schools as manufacturing jobs have largely been outsourced to other countries. Technical training, on the other hand, has become increasingly important as more and more jobs involve using computers for many tasks and training for such positions has become more specialized. In other countries, however, both forms have expanded as greater opportunities for construction and manufacturing work have developed alongside computer-based work.

Practical Adult Insights 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.

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