Particularly in an unstable economy, being laid off can leave you struggling to figure out what your next steps should be. This can be particularly challenging if you haven't gotten a college degree or trade certification. If you've been thinking about going back to school but you're not ready for a full four-year commitment to a college degree program, you might want to consider the benefits of a vocational school instead. After all, vocational programs focus your education on the practical skills you'll need for the career you're pursuing. If you're still not sure, here's a look at a few of the benefits of vocational programs.
Practical Skill Focus
Vocational programs don't get muddied up with the overwhelming general education requirements that you find in many traditional college degree programs. Instead of spending several semesters studying composition, English and art history, you'll be spending all of your time learning the core practical skills you'll need for the career you're going into.
In-Demand Employment Fields
Most vocational schools focus on hands-on career fields that are almost always hiring. For example, many vocational schools have programs for nursing, medical assistants, mechanics, construction work and electrical engineering. If you're interested in working in a field that will keep you active and engaged, a vocational certification may allow you to find a career that's not as vulnerable to economic changes.
One of the biggest reasons that people put off college is due to the cost of the degree programs. With a single year at some colleges costing more than $40,000, any opportunity to save money is beneficial. If the cost of college tuition is out of your reach, vocational school, through a place like Pioneer Career & Technology Center, may be a better option. With no room and board costs or tuition fees for those years of general education courses, your vocational education is likely to cost you a fraction of what you might pay for a traditional college degree program.
Faster Program Completion
Especially as an adult who's been laid off from work, the sooner you can get employment again, the better. If you've thought about furthering your education but balked at the idea of spending four full years in school before you can move forward, a vocational program may be the answer. When you enroll in a vocational program, you'll have your certification quickly, sometimes in less than two years. This makes it an ideal option even when compared to a two-year degree program in a traditional college, because your entire educational period is spent actively studying your field in a vocational program.
Since most vocational schools focus on trade fields, you'll probably find that your annual income increases when you obtain a certification and enter the field. Many trades have starting salaries that are equivalent to degree-requiring positions in the business environment, which allows you to increase your earning potential and your capabilities without the extensive requirements of standard educational programs.
Not only that, but since you can get through these programs faster, you'll be back to work sooner. This allows you to start generating an income and contributing to your family's bills faster than you would otherwise. You might even be able to take advantage of job placement programs, which get you working right after graduation.
Although standard college degree programs are still considered the standard educational option that follows a high school education, that doesn't mean those programs are the only answer. In fact, especially as an adult, attending a vocational program may give you more opportunities for success. In addition, these programs allow you to focus on your education without the distraction of the typical chaotic college environment.