Programs

Vocational Training Programs

Written By RWM Editors
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You’ve decided to explore a trade or vocational career—that’s great! Now you’re ready to find the right vocational program that fits your goals, needs and lifestyle.

Programs listed on this page are generally available to complete in two years or less, though each student’s career training path can vary. In addition to browsing through the list of programs below, be sure to read about choosing a vocational program and what to keep in mind before enrolling in a trade school.

How to Choose a Trade, Technical, or Vocational Program

1

Find an accredited school or program offering, starting by browsing our list of accredited programs for your field of interest. If you are planning on working while in school or training, consider the length of your program and how it may impact your availability for your current job.

2

Be sure to thoroughly research the expected costs for tuition and fees for your vocational program — and find out what you can about costs that might be separate from tuition and fees, such as for equipment, supplies, or exams.

3

Explore available financial aid options. Remember that there are often certain requirements to be eligible for grants, scholarships, and other types of financial aid, like work-study programs. You can learn more about using our guide to financial aid.

4

Talk to a career guidance counselor or adviser to establish your career-focused plan. Ask about potential career paths related to your hands-on experience, financial goals, or current education. See if you can apply any of your current work experience to required hours for a training program.

Complete List of Vocational Training Programs

Art and Design

Art and design schools typically have programs geared toward a specific occupation, medium or skill. Programs ranging from short-term training to associate degrees might include photograph, computer aided design, illustration, interior design and more.

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Business

Though general business administration degrees might help prepare for a number of jobs, some business programs allow you to specialize. You can earn certificates and associate degrees through vocational programs in marketing, administrative assistance, finance and more.

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Law and Criminal Justice

Law or criminal justice programs can lead to many career paths. Some criminal justice schools offer specialized programs focused on a specific aspect of the discipline, and training can lead to jobs working as a paralegal or EMT, among others.

Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Hospitality programs might include travel and tourism management, but you can also find programs in restaurant management and bartending, among others. Culinary arts programs might offer general training but could also lead to work as a baking and pastry chef.

Computer and IT

With a field as broad as computer and information technology, career training programs often specialize in areas like computer science, computer programming, web development or even electronics. Program outcomes can vary from certificates to associate degrees.

Cosmetology

Since most states require workers in the beauty industry to meet state licensing requirements, it can be helpful to choose a cosmetology specialization. Career training can be done through barbering or hairstyling programs or you can train to work as an esthetician or manicurist.

Automotive

Automotive trade programs might include training to become a diesel mechanic, collision repair specialist, or motorcycle mechanic, among other careers. Some programs might offer general engine repair programs, but you can find specialized programs, too.

Skilled Trade

Skilled trade workers are in-demand and can earn above average incomes: Nearly a quarter of all jobs with starting salaries of at least $35,000 require only some postsecondary education but no four-year degree. That's according to a 2018 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

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Before You Enroll in a CTE or Vocational Program

Keep the following tips in mind before you enroll in a vocational, trade or technical training program:

1

Even for trade careers, it’s helpful to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent educational background. Be aware of what education background might be required. You may need to provide old transcripts or take entrance exams.

2

You can make sure your trade or vocational school is accredited by your state or an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education by checking their Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and the Council for Higher Accreditation database.

3

It can help to research your potential instructors and faculty to review their qualifications.

4

Consider checking out the Federal Trade Commission or Better Business Bureau, or your state’s education office or attorney general, to look for an unusual amount of complaints or cases opened with schools you are considering.

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