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What is a Technical Vocational School?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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A technical vocational school is an educational institution which provides students with technical skills they can use to build careers. Training at a technical vocational school usually starts after high school, in lieu of attending college or university, and upon graduation, the student has employable skills which allow her or him to enter the job market immediately. Salaries available to graduates vary, depending on what they study and where they intend to work.

Vocational schools are sometimes given a bad name because of the narrow focus of their education. The goal of a technical vocational education is to provide the students with a specific trade or set of skills which can be applied in the workforce, with less of a focus on turning out well-rounded students with a rich educational background. However, this limited education can also be very empowering for students, as it allows them to learn a trade and to contribute to society, when they might not otherwise be able to do so.

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The offerings at a technical vocational school are varied. Course catalogs usually include a discussion of the types of degrees the school offers, and which courses need to be taken to obtain technical certifications. The school also has counselors who familiarize students with the requirements to enter particular trades, such as licensure with the government, and successful passage of an examination. People can learn a specific trade, such as plumbing, or they can choose to study a more generalized family of technical skills, such as information technology, which allows a graduate to work in a number of settings.

Some technical vocational schools receive government funding, providing classes at low cost to students and offering students a chance to access financial aid opportunities such as grants and loans which can be used to finance education. Others may require students to pay in cash for their training, although installment plans and other alternative modes of payment may be considered if a student is needy.

When evaluating a technical vocational school, students should confirm that the school offers classes in their area of interest, and they should also look into the school's reputation. A good school will offer job placement options to students, and maintain records on the career successes of their graduates. Potential students may want to ask about how well graduates are doing in the job market, how many graduates are still working in their chosen field, and what kinds of salaries graduates of the technical vocational school are making.

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