Education, News

Can You Earn A Good Wage With a Vocational Degree?

When you finish high school in the United States, you have three basic choices for furthering your education. These are: Community College, Four-year College and Technical or Vocational School.

While the focus has always been on four-year colleges, currently, the move is towards community and vocational schools. This has largely been in response for America’s need for a skilled workforce. In today’s world, it seems that those who attend vocational school, may actually have the better chance at earning a good wage.


What are vocational schools?

Vocational schools, also known as technical schools are schools where students learn trades and skills that will land them a job in the real world. They are schools that offer formal classes in practical subjects. Students learn skills they’ll use on the job through hands-on experiences.

Classrooms are often actual work sites, since many vocational schools are aligned with various trade organizations and companies. This can lead to an apprenticeship, and maybe even a job waiting in the wings, for successful candidates.

Students accomplish this in a limited amount of time, as vocational schools can be as short as two months. When your schooling ends, you will have a certificate – not an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree, which you would earn at a community college or four-year university.

Does it pay off?

Research indicates that those who attend vocational schools are able to make more money overall than those who opt for a degree course. The findings indicate that this is valid in many, but not all cases. The information indicates that those who are successful are:

  • More likely to be men than women
  • Likely to be employed in jobs that require the personal touch,  such as in the health care field

However, these trends change over time. For example, in 2012 ITT jobs were in higher demand and obtained salaries that were significantly higher than their University counterparts. This is not the case today. While ITT jobs still maintain a slight percentage increase, workers in the health care field now earn better wages.

Jobs with the best wages tend to be in fields that require personal and technical skills, such as dental hygienist, electrician, machinist, mechanic, nuclear technician and pharmacy technician. While those in the field are usually not eligible to advance their studies automatically, they can move ahead through hard work into managerial and other positions within their field.

Why does it pay off?

There are many reasons why vocational students can make a good wage in today’s economically struggling world. Among them are:

  • Practical skills are in demand
  • The health care field is booming as the baby boomer generation ages
  • Less schooling means less tuition and other costs associated with attending higher education classes
  • High demand for skilled labor, particularly in areas that require precision and personal care

These are some of the reasons why attending a vocational school is a good idea. It is also an option for those who do not want to attend college or university. It offers students who have practical and not theoretical skills a chance to shine. Vocational school provides many more with the ability to earn a living in something they are not only good at, but also enjoy. While trends change, this type of education also provides some job security.

Previous post

School Gardens: Sowing and Reaping the Benefits

Next post

How to Pick the Best Study Abroad Program for You

The Author

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Mary Brown has enjoyed writing about education and finance related topics, such as scholarships, student loans, college, vocational degree choices, and adult education since the early 2000's. She also writes about school budgets, accreditation and fundraising.