High school vocational training today offers a wider array of programs than it did in the days when boys had their choice between auto shop and woodworking, and the girls could choose between cosmetology and home economics. Those courses are still offered, but some of the courses many high school students can take today weren’t available until the latter part of the 20th century. These courses include computer-aided design, diesel technology, and information technology.
More than three-quarters of the high schools in the United States offer high school vocational training courses. One of the main objectives of this training is to prepare the students with the skills necessary to practice a trade. For example, a student who takes a course in nursing will learn the skills necessary to become a nursing assistant after graduation, while a student who takes auto mechanics will be able to get a job repairing automobiles. High school vocational training also gives the student an opportunity to explore an area of study to decide if it is one that he or she would like to pursue as a career.
Some subjects are commonly offered in high school vocational training classes, while others are taught in a limited number of schools. For example, culinary arts, construction, auto mechanics, cosmetology, and agriculture are among the most commonly offered high school vocational courses, while training in architecture, zoology, and aviation is not available to as many high school students. Some other vocational courses offered by many high schools are early childhood education, air conditioning and refrigeration, office management, photography, electrical training, and medical training.
High school vocational training can prepare a student for a variety of jobs in a chosen field. After graduation, the student who has had vocational training in an electrical program might obtain employment as an apprentice electrician or a cable television installer. A graduate of a vocational course in information technology might work at a help desk or become a computer repair technician.
At one time, the graduates of a high school vocational training course could expect to earn wages much lower than those of a college graduate. As more new technologies have evolved and schools have started offering a larger variety of vocational courses than ever before, that is beginning to change. It is possible for a graduate of a high school vocational course to get a well-paying job and earn more than someone who has a college degree.