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Arkansas Vocational and Technical Schools

Agriculture and agribusiness have long been the foundational pillars of the Arkansas and the state continues to be a leading provider of agriculture products. In 2013, reports from the United States Department of Agriculture revealed the state was the nation's leading supplier of rice, number three for poultry, number five for cotton and number 10 for soybeans.

The state's economy continues to trend upwards as reflected by the state's 6.3 percent unemployment rate and other economic indicators (such as personal income and GDP) continue to improve, according to data from Walton College's Center for Business and Economic Research.

As the state's economy slowly recovers from the recession, more emphasis continues to be placed on workforce development and career training.

Industries and Employers in Arkansas

Arkansas Employment Data

However, the state has slowly diversified its economy, becoming a major player in areas such as manufacturing, transportation and trade, tourism and hospitality, business services and more.


% of Employee Distribution

Trade, Transportation, Utilities




Education & Health Services




Professional and Business Services


Leisure and Hospitality


Source: Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, 2012

Top industries and employers in Arkansas

Arkansas' business climate has attracted 11 Fortune 500 companies to the state and several of them, including Wal-Mart Stores, Tyson Foods and Dillard's, Inc. have headquarters in Arkansas. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the state, employing nearly 50,000 individuals in 2013.

Other major employers span a spectrum of business sectors:

  • Baptist Health of Little-Rock (Health Care)
  • Arvest Bank Group (Finance)
  • O.K. Industries Inc. (Food Production)
  • Lowe's Company (Retail and Construction)
  • Arkansas State Government (Government)

According to data from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, the biggest industries in the state (by total employees) include trade and transportation, government, education & health services, and manufacturing.


# Employed - 2013

Trade and Transportation




Education & Health Services




Business and Professional Services


Leisure and Hospitality


Financial Services






Source: Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

Individuals pursuing vocationally focused careers should benefit from strong manufacturing industry in Arkansas. Manufacturing, particularly industrial manufacturing, has a major foothold in the state. According to the Arkansas Covered Employment & Earnings, there are nearly 3,000 industrial manufacturing establishments in the state, representing 18 various specialty areas, such as fabricated and metal product manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, food manufacturing and more.

Vocational education is available across the spectrum of employment opportunities in the state, from manufacturing to financial services, hospitality to education. Career, certificate, diploma and degree programs are available from vocational schools throughout Arkansas in areas such as information technology, machinery, automotive, travel, health care, communications, business and more.

Vocational employment in Arkansas

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the state should continue to experience employment growth in several areas (e.g. health care and manufacturing) between 2012 and 2022. Many of the occupations projected to experience the biggest employment gains are vocational-related career fields, including the following:

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Median WageProjected Employment Change
Insulation Workers, Mechanical1402982013,500
Transportation Security Screeners180355903,000
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters3702189010,500
Skincare Specialists1003601017,700
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic230355006,700
Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders100045310-4,700
Occupational Therapy Assistants2806366012,900
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders13703483010,600
Physical Therapist Aides4202206020,100
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers4105445027,000
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic16304028020,400
Physician Assistants3108126033,300
Home Health Aides682018000424,200
Personal Care Aides1508017940580,800
Medical Secretaries297028260189,200
Cooks, Restaurant921018860150,100
*This data is sourced from the 2013 BLS employment report (BLS.gov)

Prospective students considering enrollment in a vocational or career training program should learn more about how a certificate, diploma or degree could help pave the way for new career opportunities in one of Arkansas growing industry areas.


Walton College's Center for Business and Economic Research, Arkansas Economy Data,

Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas USA 2014,

Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Largest Employers, 2012


ArkansasBusiness.com, Top Employers in Arkansas Keep Steady Payroll of Workers,

Arkansas Economic Development Commission,

Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Major Employers by County,

Vocational Schools in Arkansas
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