- Interview with Sean Lynch, ACTE
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
- Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, http://business.maryland.gov/about/workforce
- Subbaccalaureate certificates awarded 2010, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ctes/tables/S113.asp
- Trends in Lower Division Certificates Awarded by Major Program, http://www.mhec.state.md.us/highered/statinfo/PDFT8/T8Tab1.pdf
- Maryland Ready 2013-2017, http://www.mhec.state.md.us/highered/2004plan/2013%20Maryland%20State%20Plan/MHECStatePlan_2014.pdf
- Federal Student Aid, https://fafsa.ed.gov/
For Maryland technical schools, the turn of the century has been a time of growth. More and more people are earning certificates, and of the six certificate areas tracked, health tech saw the biggest increase in certificates granted during the past decade. Students in Maryland have a large number of colleges and distance learning options to complete their education.
Maryland Vocational Education Trends
The MHEC data complements findings from the National Center for Education Statistics which also notes interest in health care is particularly strong in Maryland. According to the NCES, the following were the most popular areas of study for certificate programs in the state recently:
- Health services: Health care is growing right now, and so many students are opting for nursing school in Maryland, or other health care related programs. There are a number of vocational programs that can get you entry-level jobs in the health care industry without having to get an expensive degree -- some examples are medical assistant, medical lab technician, EMT, and medical equipment repairers. These jobs have decent pay and can allow you to continue schooling as you work.
- Consumer services: There are a number of different consumer services certifications available for retail and customer service workers. This is a great way to start moving up to managerial positions.
- Manufacturing, construction, repair and transportation: Construction, manufacturing and other specialized trades are popular in Maryland. You can find Maryland vocational schools that specialize in almost any of these specific trades -- welding, construction, soldering, boilermaking, electricity, and more. In many of these trades there is an element of continuing education to help you keep mastering your craft throughout your career.
- Business management: Business certificates in Maryland can be hugely helpful if you're interested in climbing the corporate ladder. There are a number of certifications to choose from.
Career Info for Grads of Maryland Trade Schools
In terms of specific career options, Maryland technical schools offer programs preparing students for a wide range of job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found some popular vocational positions to include secretarial professionals, registered nurses, nursing assistants, accounting clerks, and maintenance/repair professionals.
In addition, many jobs in this state are available to those with career and technical education. The following chart highlights some notable occupations Maryland trade schools are currently preparing students to fill, including salary and employment data for this state specifically.
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||13,320||45,240|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||2,040||43,000|
|Construction and Building Inspectors||2,560||56,120|
|Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers||5,750||54,050|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||10,530||54,410|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers||2,270||45,310|
Expert Advice on Vocational Education in Maryland
For more information on Maryland technical schools, we talked with Sean Lynch, the legislative and public affairs manager for the Association for Career and Technical Education. Here's what he had to say about getting a vocational degree in the state.
Sean Lynch is the Legislative and Public Affairs Manager for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German from St. John's University.
RWM: Why should students consider a vocational degree rather than a four-year degree?
Lynch: We here at ACTE like to look at technical education as a great way to open doors to students. Career and technical education prepares students to go on to a variety of different paths. That might be going on to a four-year degree, but it might also be going on to a two-year degree or gaining an industry-recognized credential.
One of the reasons students are excited about career and technical education is that it gives them a chance to explore their interests earlier and then get an applied learning opportunity. It's a really fantastic way for students to explore what they might be interested in and then gain that hands-on learning so they can hit the ground running when they start their career.
Career and technical education has evolved over the years. It's no longer the vocational education of yesterday. It's providing students with a meaningful learning education that I'm not sure everyone realizes is available to them.
RWM: What are the top industries in Maryland?
Lynch: According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, they have some key industries they've identified including:
- Aerospace and defense
- Energy and sustainability
- IT and cyber-security
- Life sciences
All of those are CTE related fields. CTE prepares students for a variety of careers within those fields, whether that's health care where they is enormous growth projected nationwide to energy and sustainability where people can get involved in things they're passionate about, particularly as students are getting interested in going green.
RWM: How will vocational education evolve in Maryland?
I think one thing we're seeing, not only in Maryland but nationwide, is getting business and industry really excited and providing them a meaningful place at the table in developing these programs and being partners to educational institutions. By having that employer input, they can not only best describe what's going on in their workplace but also make these meaningful connections with the schools so students are getting a really fantastic experience.
Financial Aid in Maryland
Many students apply for government student aid as a first step when seeking grants, loans and scholarships. The FAFSA -- Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- is one of the most common and standard programs for financial aid. Students will find a huge number of state-specific scholarships and grants too. Visit the website for Maryland's Department of Higher Education to find out more information on financial aid in Maryland. Here are a few examples:
- Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant: This award is for full-time students in either an associate or bachelor's degree program, specifically for students with large financial needs.
- The Maryland Delegate Scholarship: This is a also need-based program for Maryland residents. Get in touch with the State of Maryland to find out more.
- The Maryland Senatorial Scholarship: Offered to high school grads, interested students should get in touch with their senator and petition for the scholarship. Financial need is also a factor.
- Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program If you choose to go on to get a master's degree, this graduate-level program is for students interested in law, medicine, social work or veterinary medicine.