What New Hampshire lacks in size and population, it more than makes up for it with a nationally competitive business climate. Although the state ranks 42nd in total population, it is home to 22 companies that placed on Inc.'s 5000 list -- a list comprising the fastest growing private companies in the country.
Vocational education trends in New Hampshire
This competitive landscape is powered by two central components: higher education and location. There are 26 colleges and universities in New Hampshire, including Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. The state's central location in New England -- close to New York and Boston -- make it a crucial access point for business throughout the Northeast.
Recent data from the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau reveals that several of the top employing industries in the state are vocationally focused, meaning there are numerous career tracks available for individuals with a vocational education. Popular sectors include:
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a supersector that falls under the general service-providing industry. It includes jobs related to some of the following sub-sectors: wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation/warehousing, and utilities. Potential jobs include sales reps, warehouse workers, truck drivers, and wholesale buyers. Many of these opportunities may require on-the-job training, but it's always a good idea to get certified or earn some type of postsecondary award to get an edge on the competition.
- Education and Health Services: The BLS groups the two categories of health care and education together in one supersector, but in most states health care tends to be one of the popular vocational choices. Trade schools in New Hampshire may offer nursing degree programs and/or certification programs, which is typically the base requirement to enter the health care industry at an entry level. If you are thinking about working in education or becoming a teacher, usually a bachelor's degree is required. Vocational school may be appropriate for preschool teachers or teacher assistants.
- Government: There are a number of government jobs that require an associate degree or less at an entry level. New Hampshire trade schools can offer programs for paralegals, legal assistants, clerks, administrative assistants, and more. Those who are interested in working for the government may consider starting an entry-level administrative role while working towards a higher degree. Similar to skilled trades and other specialized jobs, work experience may be just as important as earning your degree.
Regionally speaking, the economy is diverse, mixed across several industries. For example, here are some of the top employing business sectors in three major population centers in New Hampshire:
- Manchester: education and health services ; trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services
- Portsmouth: trade, transportation, and utilities; government; leisure and hospitality
- Nashua: trade, transportation, and utilities; goods producing; manufacturing
Careers for graduates of New Hampshire trade schools
Three industries poised to experience employment growth in the future are professional, scientific and technical occupations, health care and education. In fact, several of the state's top employers are in health care:
- Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH
- University System of New Hampshire in Lee, NH
- Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH
- Trustees of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NW
- UA Local 788 Marine Pipefitter in Portsmouth, NH
Vocational education is available across a spectrum of majors and specializations, including health care, which can position students for future career success in one of New Hampshire's growing industries. For example, students considering entering the health care industry can pursue training in medical billing and coding, nursing, resident and personal care, medical transcription and more. Here's what to expect from various health care jobs in New Hampshire:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||200||76760|
|Home Health Aides||1570||26220|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||150||50870|
|Personal Care Aides||5720||22910|
|Physical Therapist Aides||190||30070|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||600||55670|
Outside of health care, other vocational-related occupations expected to see significant career growth in New Hampshire include the following:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Bill and Account Collectors||1350||31460|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||230||48700|
|Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers||160||44760|
|Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic||110||57410|
|Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners||130||34240|
|Veterinary Technologists and Technicians||800||33490|
|Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders||260||30340|
Vocational training can prepare students for a range of career opportunities, from medical records technician to computer support specialist, radiologic technician to electro-mechanical technician. For individuals ready to join one of New Hampshire's growing career fields should investigate the benefits a certificate, post-secondary training or diploma program could provide.
Expert Q&A on trade schools in New Hampshire
Stephen Berry is president of Scientific-Management Techniques, a global leader in industrial skills assessments and industrial skills training, that is based out of Merrimack, New Hampshire. SMT's manufacturing skill solutions are currently deployed in 37 countries. The skills training curriculum focuses on the critical skills required to operate, maintain and troubleshoot an industrial facility. SMT's hands-on manufacturing skills assessment machines and assessment protocols are used in the hiring process to identify and measure industrial skills: Mechanical, Electrical, PLC, CNC and Process Control Skills. Many organizations assess their incumbent workforce and deliver targeted training based on the assessment data.
How do employers view vocational education in New Hampshire?
Large manufacturers are focused on skills, not degrees. They embrace any program that delivers the skills required to optimize performance/profitability.
Scientific Management Techniques (SMT) has 46 years of data regarding the skill level of the industrial workforce. Skills (assessment data) started to decline 15 years ago. The speed of the decline has accelerated in the last 5 years. SMT's training program reverses this trend and delivers the specific skills required in a large manufacturing facility.
The manufacturing skills shortage has been kicked up the corporate food chain in the last three years. Now, C-Suite executives recognize that if they do not address and solve the skills crisis today, performance/profitability will be impacted for years. Many Fortune 500 manufacturers are currently deploying the SMT program globally.
What are the pros and cons of trade school?
The drawback is that many programs train the wrong skill set. SMT's assessment data identifies/confirms that most programs do not train the skills required to optimize performance in a manufacturing facility, which is the largest employment sector for trade program graduates.
What should students look for when considering a program?
Which New Hampshire industries are best suited for vocational education?
SMT operates solely in the manufacturing world, which has the largest and most acute need for skills training. [There are] macro events that have led to the current problem.
Which types of students is a vocational degree right for?
Again, SMT data is specific to manufacturing. As such, the response is: any individual driven to learn and succeed. We have many stories (and data sets) regarding what can happen to individuals (and workforce/employment data) with effective training. SMT is in the front line of the MFG skills shortage globally.
Stephen Berry is president of Scientific Management Techniques.
Financial Aid in New Hampshire
Seeking out financial aid is just as important as filling out applications when you're thinking about attending college in New Hampshire. The first step that most people take is filling out the FAFSA -- Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a base requirement for many other specialized financial aid programs, so visit their website to apply.
Next, it's a good idea to search for all the scholarships, grants and other awards available for New Hampshire residents, or students who are attending New Hampshire schools specifically. Most states have hundreds of specialized scholarships for their state. New Hampshire is a small state, so you may have luck finding scholarships that are covered under New England as a whole. Here are some resources to check out:
- New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) -- This organization offers many different resources for college planning and financial aid. Check out their website to create a profile and read about the potential options for scholarships, grants and loans in New Hampshire.
- New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) -- This foundation offers a number of grants and scholarships to students who qualify and live or attend college in the New Hampshire area. You can fill out a single application through NHCF and be matched to a number of scholarships in their database that you qualify for.
- New England Tuition Break -- Through the New England Board of Higher Education, this program offers discounted tuition rates for students attending New England colleges. You can find more information on their application by visiting their website.
- New Hampshire Current Employment Statistics, New Hampshire Employment Security, September 2014, http://www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/statistics/ces-data.htm#statwide
- New Hampshire Economy, http://www.nheconomy.com/
- New Hampshire Economy, State Impact New Hampshire, http://stateimpact.npr.org/new-hampshire/
- New Hampshire, Long Term Occupational Projections, 2012-2022, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- New Hampshire, State Profile: Largest Employers, Career One Stop, Accessed October 28, 2014, http://www.acinet.org/oview6.asp?soccode=&id=&nodeid=12&stfips=33&from=State
- "New Hampshire's slow recovery focus in gov's race," Washington Times, Kathleen Ronayne, October 19, 2014, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/19/new-hampshires-slow-recovery-focus-in-govs-race/
- NH Industry and Workforce Information, StayWorkPlay New Hampshire, Accessed October 28, 2014, http://www.acinet.org/oview6.asp?soccode=&id=&nodeid=12&stfips=33&from=State
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- "Top Companies in New Hampshire on the 2014 Inc. 5000," Inc., Editors of Inc., Accessed October 28, 2014, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/state/nh