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College 101

What's a Vocation and How Do I Train?
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

Coming from the Latin word for “voice,” vocation has come to mean something that you are “called” to do. Yes, it used to refer to a calling from God, but now it’s more like an inner calling. Very Zen.

While vocations technically refer to activities that bring you satisfaction, most people use this term as a synonym for “technical career.” As you can tell, vocation is kind of a loose term. You can choose whether you want it to mean “that which makes you happy” or “blacksmith.”

 We at Shmoop are assuming that you are here to figure out where you want to end up in the near future in terms of schooling and a job. We are going to ignore the Zen-like definition for now and stick with the commonly-held meaning. When we talk vocations, we are talking careers that usually involve more hands-on, technical skills and require education other than a four-year degree.

So, if it’s the blacksmith route you want to take (or baker, or pilot, or welder), you are probably asking yourself how you might get there. Answer: it depends. What does it depend on? Where you want to go. Enough with the Yoda answers, you say? Fine, young Skywalker. Let’s start with some more examples of vocations:

"Meant to be a Massage Therapist, you are. "


Got an idea now of the range of careers we are talking about when we say “vocational training”? You could become anything from a Marine Mechanic to a Midwife to a Probation Officer. How do you narrow it down? Simply ask yourself what speaks to you. Idealistic question: What topics are you passionate about? Realistic question: What activities could you see yourself doing every day without feeling like you’d rather be somewhere, anywhere else?

Because these jobs are so different, your area of interest will decide how your vocational training will look. Take a look at Quick & Dirty: Types of Vocational Training for the different ways you can train for the various vocational careers.

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