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New Jersey Vocational and Technical Schools

Although higher education is popular across the nation, residents of New Jersey boast higher levels of education than the national average. In fact, 46.5 percent of adults ages 25-64 holding at least a two-year degree, and the national average of 40 percent. New Jersey's Department of Labor and Workforce Development also notes the demand for educated workers in the state. In fact, out of the 320,300 jobs New Jersey is expected to add through 2020, the vast majority will require some type of higher education, including vocational degrees.

According to the state of New Jersey, key industries in the state currently include bio/pharmaceuticals and life sciences, transportation, logistics and distribution, advanced manufacturing, health care, leisure and hospitality, and green technology. Further, the New Jersey's Department of Labor lists the following vocational and technical industries as having the highest levels of anticipated job growth through 2020:

  • Health care support: 19.2%
  • Construction: 17.8%
  • Computers and math: 12.7%

Educational trends and opportunities in New Jersey

Students exploring their educational options, including vocational schools in New Jersey, will find a wealth of different schools and training centers that could prepare them for a technical career. The National Center for Education Statistics lists a total of 168 institutions of higher education in the state, a number of which offer postsecondary training and non-degree options.

When it comes to the future of employment in the state, many industries that require skilled technical workers are expected to see a larger number of job openings than average. Projected increase in employment through 2020, by education level:

  • High school diploma or equivalent: 5.9%
  • Postsecondary non-degree award: 10.9%
  • Some college, no degree: 7.9%
  • Associate's degree: 8.9%
  • Bachelor's degree: 8.3%
  • Master's degree: 6.4%
  • Doctoral or professional degree: 10%

As you can see, educated workers -- particularly those with postsecondary non-degree awards -- are expected to see a high demand for their skills during the coming decade. Many of these workers have vocational or technical certifications that demand high pay and benefits.

When it comes to actually earning a vocational or technical degree, you'll find plenty of benefits. For example, vocational schools in New Jersey are designed to prepare you for quick entry into the workforce. With small class sizes and programs that can be completed in as little as 1-2 years, you may be able to finish your program and begin gaining valuable work experience long before your peers are finished with their four-year degree programs. Other benefits of vocational degree programs include:

  • Lower than average costs
  • The possibility for hybrid and online education
  • Hands-on training in a trade that might be difficult to outsource.

Employment outlook for graduates of vocational schools in New Jersey

Since vocational employment is expected to surge in New Jersey, an investment in a degree program at any one of the technical schools in New Jersey could be a great way to jumpstart your career. According to every indication and government source out there, industries like health care, construction, computer science, and the skilled trades are expected to surge in the coming years. The following charts illustrate some of the technical jobs in New Jersey with the biggest potential and highest level of pay based on educational attainment:

Careers that require an associate degree:


Projected Growth from 2012 to 2022

Mean Annual Wage in New Jersey (2014)

Medical Equipment Repairer



Dental Hygienists



Nuclear Technicians



Veterinary Technologists and Technicians



Diagnostic Medical Sonographers



Careers that require a postsecondary non-degree award:


Projected Growth from 2012 to 2022

Mean Annual Wage in New Jersey (2014)

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses



Brickmasons and Blockmasons



Elevator Installers and Repairers






Emergency Medical Technicians



Expert advice on vocational education in New Jersey

With vocational education options in the state of New Jersey, we wanted to reach out to an expert in the field to get their take on short-term, vocational degrees. As a result, we contacted Rodrigo Levy from CodePlatoon.org, a coding boot camp aimed at preparing veterans for technical careers in computer coding. His insight regarding vocational education, particularly in regard to computer coding, is shared below:

How do employers view vocational education, as opposed to a four-year degree?

It depends on the employer, of course. We find that younger companies (10 years old or less) are very receptive to hiring software developers who have come out of four-month training programs or coding boot camps. Older and larger organizations are sometimes still focused on hiring developers who have a four-year degree in computer science. That said, many older and larger organizations are creating software teams within their organization that actually resemble newer technology teams, and are open to hiring coding boot camp graduates.

What are the benefits or drawbacks to technical training or trade school?

  • Benefits: much less expensive (Code Platoon is $1,500 for veterans, most others range from $8,000 to $18,000), much quicker (three to six months typically) and competitive placement rates, compared with four-year programs. And you learn the 'how-to' of programming.
  • Drawbacks: still some resistance from some employers to hire developers who lack a four-year degree. You learn less of the deeper 'why' of programming, and don't get a deep foundation on some computer science principles

What should students look for when considering a program?

Any good coding boot camp that is looking to prepare you to get hired should probably meet the following criteria: lots of instruction and coding time, 1000 hours is a good benchmark; fairly robust student/teacher interaction (teacher availability for at least 50% of the time you are working); teach some relevant fundamental computer science principles, a robust technology stack (Java, .NET, Ruby, Javascript, Python, etc.) The same benefits will be in any other type of vocational education program as well - plenty of hands-on training and high quality classroom instruction.

How can quick entry into the workforce benefit technical or vocational students and workers?

Computer programming really requires continual learning, no matter what your initial training, so the sooner you start working, the sooner you are getting paid to learn, instead of paying to learn. The same can be said about any vocational or technical career.

What kind of student is your specific program geared to? Who is the perfect candidate?

Code Platoon is looking for candidates who are smart, deeply interested in software, and willing to work hard. All three characteristics are required. No math or science background is required, contrary to popular belief.

About the Expert

Rodrigo Levy is an Executive Director at CodePlatoon.org, a coding boot camp aimed at preparing veterans for technical careers in computer coding.



  • A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, Lumina Foundation, New Jersey, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/#new-jersey
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  • Interview with Rodrigo Levy, July 7, 2015,
  • Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
  • New Jersey Key Industry Clusters, State of New Jersey, http://www.state.nj.us/state/planning/docs/dfplan_industrysectors.pdf
  • State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, https://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/lpa/employ/indoccpj/st_index.html
Vocational Schools in New Jersey
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