Just because there's no shoreline in Kansas, doesn't mean there isn't fun to be had for students in one of the Kansas vocational schools and community colleges. Indeed, there are more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams to enjoy in this state, as well as 24 reservoirs, and dozens of small lakes. There also are art galleries and art museums galore, in addition to opportunities to horseback ride, cycle and play golf.
Trends at Vocational Schools in Kansas
Students in Kansas, like anywhere else in the country, can work toward a career by pursuing vocational or community college education. Many programs at trade schools in Kansas provide career-specific skills and are geared at quickly getting graduates into the workforce. Diploma, certificates and associate degree programs can quickly be completed with associate degrees taking the longest at two years, typically. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the biggest industries in the state are trade, transportation and utilities; government; and education and health services. Here is a look at some of the vocational programs in Kansas that could enable you to enter these industries.
- Transportation: Everyone knows that transportation is vital in order for products and produce to travel across the U.S. Gaining the skills to drive a tractor trailer or other type of transportation vehicle could mean entry into this career. In Kansas, you can find Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training, including some programs that last less than a month. Alternatively, if you want to keep your driving skills within the state, you might look for opportunities to drive a bus for the city or a school district.
- Government: There may be a reason that your mother always said to get a government job and that's often because of the great benefits, like retirement, that can come with a position. At Kansas vocational schools and community colleges, consider an associate degree in political science, which could later be leveraged into a four-year degree, or another career-training opportunity that might land you a government job. This could include vocational or community college programs in fire science and fire fighting, corrections, or computer systems networking and communications.
- Health Services: There are so many opportunities to train for a heath services career at Kansas vocational schools that you couldn't even count them all on one hand. This includes physical therapy assisting, paramedics, respiratory care therapy, medical assisting, radiologic technology and others, all of which comprise the field known as allied health. For those interested in business and healthcare, look for opportunities in healthcare administration or health information technology.
Careers for Kansas Trade School Grads
There could be many job opportunities available to students graduating from trade schools in Kansas or its vocational institutions and community colleges. In fact, some of the fastest-growing jobs in the Sunflower State will require career-focused training, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check out this chart with a number of vocational-level jobs in Kansas, and recent salary information for each:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Respiratory Therapy Technicians||110||40870|
|Dental Laboratory Technicians||540||40020|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||1340||43000|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||560||66650|
|Real Estate Sales Agents||770||64850|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||1180||35750|
|Advertising Sales Agents||1470||51250|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||1640||44370|
|Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers||6030||45390|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||7090||40040|
Keep in mind that workforce readiness is a priority in the state. The Kansas Board of Regents has created both a Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority and a Kansas Department of Commerce Partnership. Together, these aim to make sure that the needs of employers in the state are being met while building partnerships, networking and connections between businesses and schools. A Workforce AID program has even been established, which offers training to eligible students in as little as eight weeks so that they can apply to immediately-available positions.
Financial Aid in Kansas
Many students (or their parents!) apply for financial aid to help cover tuition and fees at Kansas colleges. It's mostly four-year schools that offer room and board, so that is an expense you will not traditionally need to worry about with trade schools in Kansas or vocational programming. You may still need financial aid, though, and can start by filling out information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This can be done online and submission will determine your eligibility for fixed interest rate student loans, as well as any work-study programs or grants that may be available. If you are in additional need of financial aid in Kansas, you may want to give the following options a closer look:
- Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant: These grants are available to students working on a certificate or associate of applied science degree in a high demand or critical industry area in the state. Programs can be at a technical school, community college or even four-year Kansas institution. Preference does go to applicants with financial need, however.
- Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship: If you want to pursue a career in nursing at the vocational level, including through a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Registered Nurse (RN) program, you may be able to find financial assistance through this scholarship. With this program, a 'sponsor' offers scholarship money to a student and employment to the individual upon their nursing licensure.
- Learning Quest Education 529 Savings Program: Investing in college can start early with this program that offers federal and state tax advantages in Kansas, including tax deductions for contributions up to a specific amount. The program is available through American Century Investments and is administered by the State of Kansas.
- Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance: A percentage of tuition and fees can be paid for students who are members of the Kansas National Guard and enrolled at least part-time in a program. They can be pursuing a certificate, diploma or degree-based program. Interested applicants must have a least a GED or a high school diploma.
The truth is you may need to be diligent to find additional financial aid, but there are opportunities out there, including for single parents, adults returning to work, minorities, veterans and military members. Be sure to ask around about opportunities and to let your interest be known. That way, if something new or different does arise, someone may immediately think of you for an applicant.
- About our CDL Training, APEX CDL Institute, http://apexcdl.com/about/
- Associate of Applied Science, Kansas City Kansas Community College, http://www.kckcc.edu/programs/degrees-certificates
- Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1
- Kansas, Economy at a Glance, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ks.htm
- Make College a Reality with Learning Quest, American Century Investments, https://www.learningquest.com/content/treasurer.html
- SAS Degrees and Certificates, Washburn University, http://washburn.edu/academics/college-schools/applied-studies/degrees-certificates/index.html
- Scholarships and Grants, The Kansas Board of Regents, http://www.kansasregents.org/scholarships_and_grants
- Things to Do, There's No Place Like Kansas, http://www.travelks.com/things-to-do/arts-entertainment/
- Top 50 Fastest Growing Occupations, Kansas, CareerOneStop, http://www.careerinfonet.org/oview1.asp?Level=Overall&from=State&stfips=45
- Workforce Development, Kansas Board of Regents, http://www.kansasregents.org/workforce_development