Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Technical Schools

December 6th, 2011 by rebeccac

technical-schools-and-colleges-ss997931If you just can’t see how taking a gym class or spending your time learning to paint is relevant to your future career, you may be happiest attending a technical school or college. They are career-focused, which means that every course you take is associated with the career that you want to train for. With programs that are generally shorter and more flexible than four-year degrees, technical schools are usually geared toward trades like welding, culinary arts, plumbing, veterinary technician, etc.

Advantages of a Technical School Education
As compared to typical bachelor degrees, a certificate or diploma from a technical college can be earned in far less time. Typically, technical college programs are nine months to two years in length. Since you only take courses that are relevant to your chosen career, the cost of your education can sometimes than it would be attending a four-year liberal arts college. The career training that you receive in a technical college tends to be very hands-on, often taking place in a setting very similar to what you would see in the workplace. That means that if you are training to be an auto mechanic, you can get under the hood of a real car to see what makes its engine run.

The class sizes of technical schools tend to be smaller than typical liberal arts colleges, meaning the instructor has greater availability if you need personalized attention. The days and times that technical colleges offer courses tends to be more flexible than a traditional college, mainly because more non-traditional students attend trade schools. These students are typically already working and may also have children to raise. They need greater flexibility in order to make attending school even possible.

Disadvantages of a Technical School Education
If you graduate and find there isn’t a lot of demand in your chosen field, you don’t have as many other skills to fall back on as you would with a broader education. Another possible drawback is that you may not be able to receive as large of a financial aid package as traditional college students. However, as someone who is most likely already working, you may be able to take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program from your employer. With the possibility of having your continuing education paid for, it’s certainly worth a trip to your human resources department to find out more information.

What do employers want?
Employers, like the rest of human nature, can be fickle people. Some think that a four-year degree shows a sense of commitment, while others prefer to hire someone with strong training in the field and aren’t as concerned about what else they know. Even before you decide on a school, you have a homework assignment. You need to research your chosen field to find out the minimum level of education required as well as the type and duration of education preferred by a majority of employers. You should also look at a long-range job forecast before committing to a specific field.

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