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What Is Vocational Training?

Vocational training is used to prepare for a certain trade or craft. Decades ago, it used to refer solely to such fields are welding and automotive service, but today it can range from hand trades to retail to tourism management. Vocational training is education only in the type of trade a person wants to pursue, forgoing traditional academics.

Vocational Training Overview

Vocational training, also known as Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Career and Technical Education (CTE), provides job-specific technical training for trades, such as auto repair, plumbing and retail. These programs generally focus on providing students with hands-on instruction, and can lead to certification, a diploma or certificate.

Vocational training can also give applicants an edge in job searches, since they already have the certifiable knowledge they need to enter the field. A student can receive vocational training either in high school, a community college or at trade schools for adults.

In High School

Some vocational training is found in the form of high school CTE programs that include academic study as well as a variety of courses and work experiences designed to introduce students to trades ranging from construction, business and health services to art and design, agriculture and information technology.

This form of education can be offered at high school campuses or separate vocational training centers. The ultimate goal of these programs is to prepare students for the job field and help them complete their high school education.

After High School

Community colleges and technical schools also offer a variety of vocational courses and programs. This form of instruction includes hands-on training without the added emphasis on standard subjects like math and English. Instead, students take specific classes related to the job they're training for.

Vocational schools typically utilize cooperative training techniques, where students are able to work in the job they're studying for and attend classes. Most vocational training programs can be completed within six months to two years.

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