What Is Trade School? Definition, Requirements and Types

What Is Trade School? Definition, Requirements and Types

As you prepare for your future, you’re likely considering education options. If a traditional college program isn’t the right fit for you, a trade school is an option that can provide important job skills to build a stable career. Depending on your school choice, you can prepare for positions in industry, manufacturing, construction, information technology, business, health care and more. In this article, we discuss the different types of trade schools, benefits of attending trade school and application requirements.

What is a trade school?

Trade schools are post-secondary institutions designed to teach technical skills and prepare students for specific occupations. Also known as vocational schools or technical schools, trade schools focus on job-specific training and have few academic course requirements. Trade schools have the shortest programs compared to other post-secondary institutions like community colleges or four-year schools. Trade schools can be public or private, like other academic organizations, but many are for-profit businesses.

Trade schools are open to people with varying job histories and future career goals. Qualified candidates for trade school may include:

Completing a program through a trade school can earn you a diploma or trade certificate. Depending on the program, you may also earn a two-year associate degree in your field.

Types of trade schools

The term “trade school” can be a broad term for institutions that provide training known as career and technical education (CTE). While all these schools offer technical, career-focused programs in high demand fields, their structures or specific courses of study may vary. Types of trade schools include:

Vocational high school career programs

Some high schools or vocational high schools work with local trade schools to provide combined career programs for their students. This allows high school students to complete general education and job training requirements during their s, students can learn practical skills, earn transferable college credits and graduate with a high school diploma and certification in their field of study.

Technical schools

Slightly different from vocational schools, technical schools have a different curriculum that offers a broader academic foundation. Rather than solely emphasizing hands-on skill development, they focus on principles of a students’ field of study and include classes like specialized math and science. Despite offering a wider academic course payday loans WA range, technical schools are still different from community colleges or four-year institutions. They provide courses tailored to background knowledge needed in specific fields rather than to meet a certain number of overall credit hours.

Technical institutes

Technical institutes offer programs that teach students about technology-based trades through hands-on training. People who attended these schools may work towards careers in technology-related fields like information technology, computer science, business or health science. Technical institutes may have the phrases “institute of technology” or “polytechnic institute” in their names.

Career colleges

Career colleges provide the same hands-on training as other trade schools, but rather than focusing on one field or area of study, they s in multiple trade industries on the same campus, making them similar to a traditional college or university setting.

Career training centers

Career training centers provide individual classes and learning experience through year-round instruction to help people try out career paths or practice skills before making a commitment to a post-secondary institution. Some career training centers may partner with local trade schools to provide credit transfer programs.

Military vocational programs

Military vocational programs exist through a collaboration between the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor. Military members who plan to transition to civilian life s to gain transferable skills. Each branch of the military has its own vocational program.

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