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What is Vocational Education?

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Vocational Education — also known as Career and Technical Education (CTE), Vocational Education and Training (VET), or Voc Ed — prepares people for careers that are based in manual or practical activities. Vocational Education is traditionally non-academic and directly related to a trade, occupation, or vocation in which the learner participates.

Vocational Education, Technical Education, Career Education

Vocational Education is sometimes referred to as Technical Education, since the student directly develops expertise in a particular technology or group of techniques. Vocational Education and Career Education are also terms used interchangeably.

How to Acquire Vocational Education

Vocational education can be acquired at the secondary (high school) level or postsecondary (after high school) level and can interact with the apprenticeship system. At the postsecondary level, vocational education is typically provided by an institute of technology, a local community college, a career training college, or a trade school.

Increasingly, vocational education is recognized in terms of prior learning and partial academic credit towards an associate's degree; however, Voc Ed alone does not generally require a bachelor's degree and is not usually considered to fall under the traditional definition of an academic higher education.

Vocational Education in the 21st Century

Until the end of the 20th century, vocational education focused on specific trades such as automobile mechanics, a plumbing, welding, or carpentry. However, as the 21st-century labor market becomes more specialized and economies demand higher levels of skill, governments and businesses are investing in the future of vocational education through publicly funded training organizations and subsidized apprenticeship or trainee programs.

Vocational education has diversified and now exists in industries such as retail, tourism, information technology, funeral services, and cosmetics, as well as in the traditional crafts and cottage industries.

Many trades are highly paid and always in demand.

Vocational Education and Career Training Programs

Learn more about these trades and browse accredited vocational education schools and programs related to them:

Auto Mechanics Basic Accounting
Construction and utilities Animal Care
Beauty and Fitness Commerical Driving and Automotive Technology
Fashion Design Film or Music Production
Hotel & Restaurant Programs Graphic Design
Interior Design Massage Therapist