College Education vs Vocational Schools

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Education ・MLA ・8 Sources

Vocational schools are schools that offer short time courses, allowing for fast entry into the workforce. They are not always the first option, but they are being considered more and more by high school graduates. Vocational schools give an opportunity to those who want to start their careers early to start work immediately after they complete their short term courses. Vocational schools also give a chance to those who feel like they are not satisfied with their career choice and consider going into a different field of their interest. Vocational schools are also the best options for individuals who wish to re-enter the workforce. They are efficient for them as they take a short time to complete. Vocational schools differ from college in that universities take a longer time to complete, and vocational schools are more hands on. College education covers a wide variety of fields for one course, while vocational schools focus only on one field of study.
Vocational schools are a better alternative than college education as they take a shorter time to complete, giving students to begin working and earning at a young age. The little time taken in vocational schools facilitates saving of money. College students are usually forced to take loans and end up in debts because of the expenditures that come with staying in school for a long time. These expenses include entertainment, parking, and food among others. Vocational students do not spend much time after completing their courses trying to find jobs as they are immediately hired afterward, as a result of a shortage of workforce in technical areas.


Vocational schools are alternatives to college offered to students who are interested in joining the workforce early. It is a practical postsecondary educational and job training. Vocational schools are also referred to as career/trade schools. They are relevant to a variety of people including adults who are interested in re-entering the workforce and individuals who would like to switch their career field to something else. Vocational schools offer a variety of programs which include cosmetology, plumbing, blacksmithing, floral design and welding among others. Vocational schools give its students a chance to have a particular industry that they can put their focus on. Vocational schools differ from college in that it takes a shorter time to complete, i.e. a period of two years at most. College education usually lasts up to four years. Vocational schools focus on one field, unlike college where students have to deal with a variety of areas to attain college degrees. Some people prefer college education to vocational schools while others prefer vocational schools to college schools. High school graduates should consider joining vocational schools and overlook their setbacks (untrained teachers and competition from college graduates among others), as these setbacks do not take away the advantages that it has over colleges, (high and early employment rates, good pay, economic advantage and decent social lives compared to that of college students).

Economic Advantages

Vocational schools take a shorter time to complete than College (Jenner). Vocational schools usually last up to a period of between six months to two years. This brief period gives students a chance to start working earlier and consecutively earlier. Vocational schools allow for students to experience the real world and kick start their careers earlier, compared to students in college, who have to wait for four years before they can start looking for jobs to do (Hamm). A college education means that one has lost four years of potential work experience (Value Colleges). A college education does not even guarantee graduation. Reports show that it is only 59% of college students that graduate (Value Colleges). This data indicates that the rest (the 41%) have spent their four years in college and had nothing to show for it. Staying in school for a shorter period has several advantages other than just getting into the workforce earlier. A student in the vocational school will use less money in paying for his education (The School Directory). The money paid for a two-year education cannot be compared with that paid by a student who has stayed in college for four years. College students tend to spend more on accommodation, parking, meals and expenditure. These costs are what force university students into taking loans. Reports show that more than 70% of college students take school loans and over 20% are in deep debts of up to $50,000 (Value Colleges). Students in vocational schools rarely find themselves in debts as their expenditure is less.
Completing school earlier gives one chance to develop skills in other areas. Vocational schools allow students to be able to learn other skills as they are brief. Students can even acquire other skills while still in school because vocational schools focus on a single area, therefore allowing one more free time. College students on the other hand, hardly have free time to acquire any other skill. College education focuses on different and a variety of areas, which are mostly irrelevant as some of them are not applicable to the courses taken. It is much easier for vocational students to work while they study than College students (The School Directory). Vocational educational is, therefore, more efficient than the college education.


Employers nowadays are going for graduates from vocational schools (Barrington). They feel like they would save more by hiring people who already have the skills other than hiring those who will have to be taught the skills. The need for high-precision workers in the United States keeps growing (Barrington). Most of the employees of the skilled trade are growing older, and the need to replace them assures vocational students of jobs immediately after completing their studies. Reports show that the employment of students from vocational schools has increased by 578,000 over the last six months, compared to that of the employment of college graduates which has only increased by 314,000 (Value Colleges). Vocational students' salaries are not as little as they are claimed to be. They earn a median of $35,720 annually. This figure differs only by $11,180 from the annual median salary paid to those holding a bachelor's degree ($ 46,000 per year).
Vocational students also have the guarantee of working only from their home country. Their physical presence is of the essence to their country of origin, and they are hardly required to move to other nations. College students, on the other hand, handle mostly theories, and more often than not, they find themselves being poached by other countries which need their expertise. Underemployment and unemployment rate for college graduates under the age of 25 stands at 16.8% and 8.5% respectively (Hamm). College graduates sometimes take longer to graduate. There extensive time in school is as a result of lack of fees, the need to take up jobs to support themselves or even pregnancy. These students lose close to $70,000 annually. It is the same students who are deep in debts that have arisen over their stay in school. Vocational schools are advantageous because they offer individuals with a chance to be self-employed. They do not have to rely on someone to employ them. They can set up their own business and be self-employed. These individuals can also expand the job market by offering employment to other vocational students. College students rely on jobs to enable them to gain experience to be able to employ people later on.

Social Life

Socially, vocational schools bring out more focused students compared to college (Kokemuller). Students in vocational schools are usually focused and work hard to complete their program so that they can commence work as soon as possible. College students, on the other hand, feel like they have so much time on their hand and therefore are not as keen about their education. They usually engage themselves in morally degrading activities and participate in drug use to pass the time. College students are typically at more risk of contracting diseases and infections compared to vocational students. The population in colleges is much larger than in vocational schools (The School Directory). The lecturers in universities are unable to attend to every student, giving the students a chance to lag.
The high population in colleges also means that peer pressure is inevitable and dangerous influence is quickly passed on even to the innocent at mind. College attendance nowadays is mostly about the prestige of having attended and holding a degree (411 Talk Radio Show Channel) Productivity in work by students from vocational schools is more efficient and reliable than that received from college graduates who probably had no interest in the field they choose to take. They probably went to college to please their parents or to have a college degree. These kinds of students are the ones that engage in drug use to keep their minds occupied, as they have no passion for what they do. A considerable number of college students eventually drop out of school and end up unemployed (411 Talk Radio Show Channel) As a result of human wants and needs, they end up as thieves and social outcasts dependent on drugs to keep them going. It is crucial for a high school graduate who will opt for College education to find an activity that will keep him occupied over the period they are in college, so as to avoid losing focus along the way. It is, however, easier, for those who will go for vocational schools, as it will be much easier for them to focus on their studies, begin work as soon as possible, and even relieve their parents of their responsibility towards them.

Setbacks of Vocational Schools

The vocational college has its setbacks. Having acquired only a single skill while in school, a vocational student will not have anything else to fall back on in case he loses his job. This is as a result of vocational schools focusing on only one skill/area (Johnson) Teachers hired to teach in vocational schools are taken primarily for their competencies in the area they are teaching (Johnson) They are not professional or trained teachers. As a result, it may be hard sometimes for them to convey information to their students. As much as students from vocational schools get jobs almost immediately, the jobs they land are sometimes low paying and undeserving of the work put in (Johnson) The students usually have a low score when competing against college graduates, whose degrees are considered to be of more value. Old age is also another setback for vocational students. Vocational studies require hands-on skills, meaning that energy and productivity are also part of what sells them. Old age comes with loss of energy and morale, and as a result, employees end up replacing the aged with younger, more energetic staff. This replacement spells trouble for those replaced who do not have other alternatives to fall back on to.


Vocational schools work for those who are not interested in spending four years in college. They work for those who want to get into the workforce early. Vocational schools are more advantageous than having to go to college. Vocational schools allow for one to be able to minimize costs on fees and expenditure while in school. It saves one time as they can be able to start working as soon as possible and it gives them a chance to enhance their skills. Students are excellent at what they do as a result of the focus on one field. In turn, they become productive too. College education takes time and does not guarantee that one will even graduate. Some students even extend their stay in school and end up staying in college for up to six years. Vocational schools have their disadvantages that include unskilled teachers, competition from high school graduates and sometimes, low paying jobs. High school graduates should put into consideration joining vocational schools as they will enable them to kick start their careers as soon as possible and in turn enable them to earn early.

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Works Cited

411 Talk Radio Show Channel. "Vocational trades Versus College Education." 30 July 2016,
Barrington, K. "Community college vs. trade school |" 14 Sept. 2016,
Hamm, T. "Why you should consider trade school instead of college - The simple dollar." 20 July 2016, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Jenner, J. "Vocational schools vs. traditional colleges: Choosing what's right for you." 19 Apr. 2011, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Johnson, S. "Disadvantages of vocational schools." classroom, 2017,
Kokemuller, N. "The advantages & disadvantages of vocational & technical colleges." Classroom, 2017,
The School Directory. "Trade school vs traditional college | School Directory." 2017, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Value Colleges. "University, community College, or trade school: Which makes the most economic sense? | Value Colleges." 2017, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.

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