The Value of Vocational Schools



Moor Graphics by Xiaoye Wang

While many students choose to attend a four year college some will attend a vocational or trade school, which gears students toward one field of study instead of giving them a balanced education. Teaching students to be specialized instead of well-rounded may be detrimental because they will lose some essential skills they may need. This may result in students having difficulty finding jobs later on in life as future employers will be looking for a more diverse skillset from their employees.

Vocational and trade schools are being taken as an option by those who wish to jump into the workforce sooner rather than later. Going to vocational schools can get someone a blue-collar job, jobs requiring manual labor, quickly. However, white-collar jobs, or office jobs, would not often be possible when attending vocational schools. This is because vocational and trade schools are very specific in their teachings and usually do not teach general education. They like to teach students about the current work ethic and tactics. The general education that vocational schools fail to teach is much needed for workers with white-collar jobs to be able to adapt to the changing work environment, which often include critical skills, especially thinking skills, that may prove beneficial to the future employees.

With workers being unable to adapt to a new work environment, employers might replace the workers with someone who has the skills required, rather than teach the old worker the new skills necessary to save time and money.

The career education that students receive in the vocational schools is similar to a job training, which the future employees would be given later on when they get hired anyway. All students are getting is the one to two years in the simulated work environment, which may or may not accurately represent the job in the real world. Also, as technology keeps on improving, the workers would need more advanced skills, which these schools should teach but usually do not.

Although vocational schools and trade schools can allow a student to quickly get a blue-collar job, it may not always help the student in the long run. Vocational schools are shorter and cheaper, but what they teach is very specific. Vocational schools do not teach general education to students even though it is needed for the workers to stay productive at work. Employers could replace the old workers with workers that have more advanced skills that fit with the current work environment to stay productive. This may leave vocational students without a job and they would have to try to find another job or go back to school.