In California, students who may need to make a career change or those looking to start a career can gain the job skills they need at any of the vocational programs around the state. Check out this article to find three programs that may offer noncredit, certificate, or degree plans to meet those goals.
Schools and Programs
California residents seeking to develop occupational skills relevant to a wide variety of trade and other careers can consider programs offered at institutions throughout the state. In addition to training programs that can prepare students for entry-level positions in automotive repair, construction, HVAC technology or hair design, non-credit courses, degree and certificate programs are designed to help students develop professional skills needed for such diverse positions as medical assistant, police officer, early childhood educator, radiologic technologist and fashion designer.
Training typically involves classroom instruction and hands-on experiences at on-campus facilities as well as in local professional settings. Some studies prepare students to pursue certification in their chosen fields. Many programs take between 1-2 years to complete. More details about these programs and three of the schools providing them are found below.
Schools At a Glance
Riverside Community College District
- Riverside, CA is home to RCCD and is a 2-year, public college.
- The school offers certificates and associate's through courses online and on-campus.
City College of San Francisco
- City College of San Francisco in CA is a public 2-year institution.
- All programs at CCSF are on-campus only.
- UEI in California is a private for-profit school located on 12 campuses around California.
- 14 diploma/certificate programs offered at most campuses.
Riverside Community College District's Vocational Training Programs
The Riverside Community College District is actually three separate community colleges -- Riverside Community College, Norco College and Moreno Valley College. All are 2-year, public schools located in the Riverside area of Southern California. Together, the schools offer vocational programs in more than 100 areas that can lead to associate's degrees and career certificates.
Associate in Science in Administration of Justice and Law Enforcement
The law enforcement vocational program prepares students for careers as law enforcement officers and other careers within the justice system. Students participate in the basic peace officer training academy, and topics of study include crime prevention, report writing, patrol techniques, traffic enforcement, firearms and evidence collection.
Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Assisting
Students can earn a degree in administrative and clinical medical assisting or in medical transcription. Both programs prepare students for careers assisting medical staff in specific administrative duties in a medical setting. The administration and clinical medical assisting option also provides training in clinical procedures and basic patient care.
Undergraduate Certificate in Science in Early Childhood Studies
The early childhood program is designed for students seeking careers working with children from infancy through the third grade. Students study educational and developmental theory, as well as learn practical skills and applications, through classroom study and on-site training working with children.
Emergency Medical Services Program
The Emergency Medical Services Academy offers training programs for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and EMT-Paramedics. The programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Certificate of Completion in Cosmetology
Completion of the cosmetology program qualifies students for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology examination. This 24-month program offers four different options to students based on their career interests. Students can participate in a cosmetology program, an esthetician program, a cosmetology business administration program with an entrepreneurial emphasis or a cosmetology business administration program with a management and supervision emphasis.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Communications and Journalism
- Computer Sciences
- Culinary Arts and Personal Services
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Medical and Health Professions
- Physical Sciences
- Transportation and Distribution
- Visual and Performing Arts
City College of San Francisco's Vocational Training Programs
The City College of San Francisco is comprised of eleven campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The school offers certificate programs, associate's degree programs and non-credit courses, including a selection of career and technical training courses. Most of these programs lead to a certificate of completion. Students may earn an associate's degree by completing general education requirements in addition to the program coursework.
Automotive Technology Program
Courses are offered in brakes and suspension, engine repair, general automotive technology, transmissions and diagnostics. After students complete a specialized series of courses, they are eligible to apply for a State of California recognized certificate.
Health Information Technology Program
Students in this vocational program receive the necessary training in processing, analyzing, organizing and managing health care records. Those who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to become Accredited Records Technicians.
Diagnostic Medical Imaging Program
This program prepares students to become radiologic technologists or radiographers. Students participate in clinical rotations at area hospitals while learning the necessary skills and theories. After completing the program, students may take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists' national board examination.
Vocational students can earn certificates in fashion merchandising, fashion design and image consulting. Certificates are aimed at students preparing for initial employment in the fashion industry or for industry professional who wish to expand their knowledge and skill set.
Skilled Trades Programs
Skilled trade programs are offered in areas including drafting and AutoCAD, basic and intermediate electronics, refrigeration and air conditioning, business machine repair and construction. Each of these programs provides the basic training required for careers within these vocations.
UEI boasts twelve campuses in California and has been offering occupational programs for over 45 years. UEI's stress on vocational occupations helps students get into the workforce quickly. Some of the programs at UEI include dental or medical assistant, computer systems technician, pharmacy technician, criminal justice, vocational nursing, information technology and more.
Business Office Administration
BOA is a 10 month program with nine modules. The classes are comprehensive covering what students need in joining the business market. The modules include marketing, human resources, communication, business basics, and accounting principles.
Medical Billing and Coding
Another ten month program, medical billing and insurance coding has students ready for employment with training experience. Topics that students focus on are medical and law ethics, documentation and records, medical office procedures and insurance billing.
Computer Systems Technician
In less than a year, the CST program can have students employed in a computer field. Classes stress the latest technology in the field and working with Linux and Windows Operating Systems, Comptia A+ Essentials, server operating systems and Microsoft Office support.
Brakes, hybrid drive systems, engine theory, heating, and modern automotive technology are just some of the training areas in this hands of the automotive technician program. The UEI technician opportunity is eleven months long and provides the latest in equipment and instruction for this entry level career.
This program allows graduates to start work immediately in such fields as store detectives, retail security, emergency dispatch or loss prevention. The criminal justice program focuses on investigations and surveillance, justice and security, corrections, and gangs and drugs. The criminal justice classes take eleven months to complete.
California has many options for its citizens who want or need vocational or occupational training to start or change a career. Programs can be found at many community colleges and private trade schools where students can receive certificates and even degrees for their completion of training.