How do I Choose the Best Vocational College?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 December 2018
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Looking for the best vocational college or school can take a little work. There are many of these schools available, most open for enrollment by people with a high school diploma or equivalent. They’re not just private institutions either, but may be part of larger colleges like community and junior colleges. Programs at these schools are worth comparing to education offered by private vocational college or school programs.

The first thing people wanting to attend a vocational college need to determine is what they want to study. Some schools specialize in certain areas like medicine, electronics, graphic design, or business management and support. The best advice is to decide on career first, and this can be done in a number of ways. People could look at sites like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to investigate possible careers, and then they might do a little research to determine which career types seem to offer the most promising futures.

Once prospective students have chosen a specific career, they can begin looking for vocational college programs in their area. Unless students plan to study online, finding a place to study that is close-by or to which moving would not be problematic is useful. With online and offline searches, students can compile a list of colleges from which to choose.


Each college should first be individually investigated to make sure that it is properly accredited. There are several ways to research accreditation. In the US, people can evaluate schools through links on the US Department of Education website. For online schools many find the Distance Education Training Council to be a good source.

It’s also valuable to understand how training at a vocational college is perceived in the profession for which a person studies. What exactly can a person do when he or she completes a program? Some more research could be necessary to find this out. If possible, talk to a friend or mentor in the industry of interest to see how a particular training program is perceived. These folks may have advice on which schools are the best to attend, and which ones most prepare for employment or for extra steps like getting a license in a particular field.

There are a number of inquiries that should be made to each vocational college so it’s possible to compare them. First, asking about money is always good. It’s important to find out how much money it costs to attend, what kinds of financial aid might be available, and the expected burden of student loans at the end of a program. Since many of these schools are private, sometimes student loans are the only funding source, and total amount owed could be very high.

The issue of finances is usually one area where community college programs are superior. They tend to cost quite a bit less. Moreover, many of the studies at community colleges easily transfer to other colleges as earned units. This cannot be said of all vocational college programs, and attending some schools may mean few universities accept most units. Those wanting to advance their degrees may find they need to start over again, though this is not always the case.

Other things that can help select a good vocational college include personal, public or student opinion of the college, opportunities for extra study, and services the school might offer. For instance, some of these schools have lifetime placement services that can be very attractive. Length of time it may take to earn a certificate or an A.A. degree is another point of comparison. Learning about special hours or evening and weekend classes could be important too.

With all of this information gathered, people can often decide which is the best school. Since everyone has different criteria, the decision isn’t always the same. Fortunately, there is much choice available, and many people will have two more or more colleges to compare before choosing the best one.



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