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College 101

Types of Vocational Training
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

Vocational Training does not refer to one set path to a career, but instead can be one of a number (or a combination of) potential ways to get the skills and knowledge needed. Here are some of the more common paths to vocational enlightenment.

High School Vocational or Technical Courses

Lots of things fall out of style, including leg warmers, the mullet, jean jackets, and boy bands. High School Vocational Programs were on that list for a while, but now they’re staging a comeback. Many public schools offer more traditional vocational courses like metal shop and mechanics, and more and more schools are dedicating entire programs to teaching technical skills.

State Technical Schools

These are the revered grandfathers of Technology training. They’re research-intensive colleges and universities that specialize in Mathematics, the Sciences, and Technology. If you want to be the next Sheldon Cooper of Mechatronics, consider this option.

Private Technical Schools

These schools are sometimes also called Technical Colleges or Technical Institutes and offer training in technology at the community-college level, offering Associate’s Degrees to graduates in a career-specific field such as Engineering or Computer Programming. Quality varies here, so be careful to do your research. Anything that sounds sketchy probably is.


Internships are opportunities for folks wanting real-world, hands-on training straight from the source. While internships can be arranged in loads of different career fields, they are generally viewed as exclusively white-collar opportunities. They’re the “professional” version of apprenticeships, which tend to focus on technical or vocational training. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that an internship should provide you with a valuable learning experience that will ultimately help you gain a position in your desired industry.


Apprenticeships hold a bit of medieval romance to them. Picture a stonemason learning the craft next to his master, working side-by-side building a soaring cathedral or impenetrable castle. New living abodes are constructed in a different style these days. Fewer turrets and moats. Think apprenticeships have changed too? Oddly enough, the answer is “not really.”

"We bet you’ll be building your own fortress in no time."


There are loads of opportunities to earn your keep as an apprentice in certain industries. Building and construction apprenticeships abound, with opportunities in specialties such as carpentry, electricians, sheet metal working, plumbing, and even elevator construction and maintenance. Further, many of these professions actually require that you have experience as an apprentice before you can gain the certification necessary to practice on your own.

Apprentice opportunities don’t stop with construction, either. The important point to remember is that this career path requires a large amount of legwork if you want to gain a foothold and be successful. You have to find the opportunities, make contact, and work out the terms. Trust us, nobody is going to send you a nice glossy brochure outlining your apprentice opportunities.

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