Gain a Direct, Flexible, and Cost-Effective Path to A High-Paying Career With a Vocational Degree

A vocational education is one that emphasizes the training and skills necessary for success in a specific trade or job. It’s a proud tradition going back millennia, when artisans and craftspeople would train apprentices. Today, you can still receive vocational training in the classic skills such as carpentry and welding (which would at one time have been a blacksmith’s job), while also learning tourism management, becoming a paralegal, or getting your pilot’s license.

The defining feature of vocational training is its specificity. General education classes are not required for a vo-tech degree; theory and traditional academic skills are not the point. Instead, students focus on practical knowledge that prepares them for real-world working environments. Then, once the programs are finished and students are ready to graduate, independent organizations ensure that people are prepared for their roles through licensing and certification.

There are several types of institutions that provide vo-tech degrees. Career colleges, community colleges, and technical schools all offer VET programs, which means the final document you receive as proof of your successful graduation might be called an associate’s degree, a certificate, or a diploma. There are many states that have vocational high schools that provide career training to high school students as well as adults. There are even online options for more technical subjects like computer programming and networking.

One of the factors to consider when choosing a program should be class size. You’ll want to choose the smallest class sizes possible so you’ll have the most one-on-one instruction time. The practical nature of the vocational degree – especially with hands-on programs like carpentry, welding, piloting, dental hygienist, etc. – means that the more personal time you get with the instructor, the faster you’ll gain mastery in your field. Night classes are often available for vo-tech students too, and these may be just the ticket for getting time with the instructor.

Along with class size, check course catalogs to see how many labs or clinics you’ll be able to take part in. A quality VET school will give you plenty of ways to put your skills to use in a safe, controlled environment. Many vocational programs will include internship agreements with local businesses; make sure to take advantage of these.

Fairly certain that a vocational degree is the path for you, but wondering what the most lucrative options are? Good call! Here are some of the most popular degrees, along with the average salaries. Radiation therapists can earn up to $80,000 a year, while dental hygienists and nuclear technicians can both expect to earn about $70,000 annually. If you’ve ever thought about driving a train for a living, locomotive engineering is the way to go – and the average salary is around $85,000. Another popular choice is personal trainer; not only do you get to stay in shape for a living, but you can earn a respectable $56,000 while doing so.


5 schools found

American Institute


American Institute (AI) is committed to excellence in education. It is our mission to provide quality distance and on-site education, realistic laboratory experiences, and hands-on experiences in...

Bryan University

AR, MO & Online

Bryan goes above and beyond to make each students’ experience exceptional. We want our students to leave with more than an education. We want them to have an unforgettable experience.

Centura College


Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, and South Carolina, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school...

Eastwick College


When you’re deciding on a school or college, you look at what makes it better than all the others. Here are four major advantages of an Eastwick Education that have established us as one of the most...

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)


Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing...