What Are Technical Schools?

Jul 25, 2018

Technical postsecondary schools combine career-specific training with general academic curricula. While some programs take two to four years to complete, most can be completed in two years or less. Technical high schools combine this career training with secondary education.

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Technical Schools

Let's discuss what a technical school is, the specialized training it provides, and what degrees are available. We'll then explain technical high schools and how they help prepare high school students for a career.

Technical schools, also called technical colleges or technical institutes, provide specialized training in a specific career field, trade, or profession, including computer technology, business administration, culinary arts, electronics, medical assisting, legal assisting, automotive technology, and cosmetology. Programs at technical colleges can take anywhere from less than two years up to four years to complete and typically award a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree. Associate's degree options include an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Science, and an Associate of Applied Science.

Unlike many community colleges and four-year universities that require students to complete general education courses prior to delving into their major field of study, students attending technical colleges usually take courses related to their major during their first term. Technical colleges emphasize hands-on training and offer internship experience in a relevant work setting. Job placement services are also available to students.

Technical High Schools

Technical high schools, just like technical colleges, provide specialized training for specific career fields, along with a high school curriculum covering math, science, reading, social studies, and information technology. Because technical high schools in the United States can provide training in many disciplines, students often take a survey of available vocational programs during their freshman year and begin specializing in a trade or vocational track in tenth grade.

Students still graduate with a high school diploma, but are prepared for careers or further education in a particular area. These schools are specially equipped to train students in vocational subjects such as auto repair, welding, masonry, and electronics.

Technical colleges offer diploma, certificate, and associate's degree programs in a variety of fields, including the culinary arts, electronics, medical assisting, and more. Technical schools at the high school and postsecondary levels offer specialized training to prepare students for a particular career.

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