Vocational High Schools Translate into Lucrative Jobs

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Vocational High Schools Translate into Lucrative Jobs
Today’s vocational high schools challenge the stereotypes of years past, providing students with invaluable job training and a stepping stone to higher education. Learn more about the modern vocational high school and if it is a right choice for you.

Historically, vocational training was often viewed as a "fallback" plan for high school students who struggled in a traditional academic setting. However, today's students are beginning to tune into the benefits of vocational high school, from jumpstarting a career in various industries to becoming the first step toward a degree in a specific sector. Consider the latest information about vocational high schools to determine whether this might be a savvy step in your academic career.

This video describes how vocational training gives students real experiences.

Opportunities In Vocational Training

According to a report at StateUniversity.com, vocational training prepares high school students to move into a high-paying, skilled job much more quickly. Many vocational programs also include the necessary certification for different jobs, giving students graduating from these schools an advantage when they enter the job market.

Much vocational training is hands-on, which means that in addition to appealing to different types of learners, these programs offer the specific experience needed to land a job and begin working almost immediately after graduation.

In the last several decades, the popularity of vocational high schools has declined. Many of these schools offer training in production and manufacturing, which no longer offers as many job opportunities for students.

However, vocational schools are currently in the process of transforming from programs of the past to programs of the future. Some of the new offerings at vocational high schools include:

  • Auto repair
  • Food Handling
  • Cosmetology
  • Computer Repair
  • Health care
  • Construction
  • Business

Students who enroll in these programs begin the fast track to a career that may or may not include college after graduating high school. Some students find they can start working in their chosen field right after high school and take college courses simultaneously. At the end of the process, a few lucky individuals might find their employer willing to pay for their higher education to get an even more skilled employee.

In this TED talk, Matthew Zeman asks if we can structure high school better.

Enrollment Declines

Despite the many advantages of vocational high school, enrollment in many programs continues to decline. Some of the possible reasons for the decline, according to the same report at StateUniversity.com, include:

  • The decline of the manufacturing industry
  • A greater focus on academics in vocational training has resulted in stricter program requirements.
  • The perception that lower-achieving students were "dumped" into these programs as an alternative to the traditional academic setting
  • The idea that students in vocational schools would not go on and earn a four-year college degree

Most of these factors have been altered to make vocational high schools more inviting to students. However, changing the general perception that has shadowed these schools for decades isn't easy. Fortunately, some vocational high schools hope to change the stereotypes.

Western Area Career and Technology Center

This vocational school in Chartiers, Pennsylvania, offers a variety of programs to high school students looking for an alternative to the traditional high school setting, according to a report in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. While this school has seen enrollment declines in recent years, the success of many students who have attended the programs may be breathing new life into the school, particularly those who move on to prestigious four-year universities after graduation.

Educators are committed to getting the word out about the potential benefits of Western Area Career and Technology Center and other vocational schools in Pennsylvania, like A.W. Beattie in McCandless and Steel Center Area Vocational Technical School in Jefferson Hills. Representatives are now touring primary and middle schools to talk to students about their options when it is time to choose a high school. Career exploration days have also been offered to bring students into the vocational schools and find out what programs are available.

This video briefly provides information about the Western Area Career and Technology Center.

Visalia Technical Education Center

In California, students in the Visalia area can attend the Visalia Technical Education Center (VTEC) to prepare to be veterinary or food science technicians. According to a report in the Visalia Times-Delta, these programs include classroom instruction Monday through Thursday, with hands-on training every Friday. Currently, VTEC boasts 53 students but hopes to have a total enrollment of 210 students by 2013, when the original class is slated to graduate.

Vocational training has evolved from an alternative to traditional high school to a full-fledged training program that prepares students for a lucrative career. Students who want to jumpstart their professional training before college can now do so with many excellent vocational training programs available nationwide.

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