Choosing where to go to college is one of the most impactful decisions you will ever make. Although you can always change course, doing so may incur a loss of time and money.
It’s important to pick an effective education program from the start, one that provides relevant and reliable knowledge that helps you improve your career search after you graduate.
The Types of Colleges You Can Attend
There are several types of postsecondary schools that you can choose to attend at a college level. You can attend a community college, vocational school, four-year college or enroll in one of the many exclusive online schools.
While online classes can be a great alternative for those who are extremely busy, there is no substitute for real world experience. That is why some vocational schools offer hybrid programs, the best of online lectures and hands-on experience in the lab.
Do Community Colleges or Vocational Schools Provide a Better Education?
Considering the length and cost of any education program, it is important to get the most benefit for your time and money. In the case of college, your goal should be to create the best chance of landing a job in your chosen field.
The purpose of pursuing training is to reach a position in your career that is satisfying. With that in mind, vocational schools offer more value to you to prepare for a career. Let’s take a look at both community college and vocational schools to see which one is better for your career.
What Is a Community College?
Community colleges are generalized schools that appeal to as many demographics and areas of study as possible. To attract more students, the classes are often general elective courses that prepare you for a four-year college.
Community colleges provide the most common types of campuses, so they can be found just about anywhere, even in small towns. This makes them a popular choice with anyone who doesn’t want to travel very far from home. These schools do what they can to support the community, hence the name.
As great as community colleges are, there are a few disadvantages that begin to become apparent when these colleges are scrutinized further. Here are a few things to consider before enrolling at a community college.
A Minimum Commitment of Two Years
Community colleges are often where students go to accumulate general studies credits. It is an exceedingly common strategy to attend a community college for a couple of years to complete elective and prerequisite courses. Then students can apply for a specialized college for their final two years.
The idea is that attending a community college helps save money early on in your education. If you don’t have time to spend four years in college, then consider going straight to a vocational program and skipping the two years of community college.
Most Classes Are Electives
In addition to general education, many community colleges require the student body to participate in elective courses. As fun as some of these classes can be, they may not prepare you for a job in the real world.
The college wants you to have a well rounded education. If you have other responsibilities or want to train for a career in less than two years, then vocational school may be the right educational path for you.
A Less Serious Atmosphere
You may find that not all students at a community college will have the same ambition and passion for their field of study as those who attend a vocational school. Students at a vocational school already know what career path they want to take and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What Is a Vocational School?
As the name implies, a vocational school allows you to focus on a specific vocation or career path. These schools often feature more than one vocation, but each curriculum focuses on a specific job. At a vocational school, you learn only what you need to know to prepare for your career.
Vocational schools offer a vastly different experience than traditional community colleges. Vocational schools teach you exactly what you need and get you into the workforce faster. There are fewer elective courses, instructors have industry experience, class sizes are smaller, it’s easier to network with classmates, and career services are part of the curriculum. These are only a few of the reasons to attend a vocational school.
Get Started on Relevant Courses Right Away
Vocational schools pride themselves on preparing students for the careers they intend to pursue. You learn the practical information that will be used in your job, right from the beginning. Though programs vary in length, most vocational schools offer timelines shorter than a community college.
Less General Education Courses
A vocational school focuses on your core education and leaves little room for general electives. You won’t have to worry about taking the classes that don’t prepare you for a career. Take only classes that directly relate to the vocation you are seeking employment in.
Instructors With Industry Experience in Your Desired Field
The bulk of vocational schools have built up their reputation by bringing in experienced instructors to teach vocational school students. Regardless of your field of study, the classes are taught by teachers who have worked at a business in the community and have a passion for the vocation.
Instructors with industry experience are an invaluable resource. You can ask them the questions you are interested in about your desired vocation. Plus, they know exactly what employers in that industry are looking for. They can help you appeal to hiring managers and help you land your first job after graduation.
Smaller Class Sizes
You will find smaller class sizes at a vocational school in comparison to colleges. Although some community colleges don’t pack lecture halls like many four year colleges, the community college still teaches students in groups. In the smaller classes at a vocational school, you will get one-on-one attention from your instructor. If you have any questions or concerns, you have someone to talk with.
It Is Easier to Network With Your Fellow Students
The nice thing about having so many similar fields of study grouped closely together is the shared interest of the student body. In the health care example, you can imagine how medical assisting students would be able to strike up a conversation pretty easily.
In addition to friendship, the contacts you meet could one day help you land that dream job. Knowing people who are aware of open positions can help you get that job. Rather than just meeting all the requirements of the role, you will have an inside track to new opportunities. Your network can put in a good word with the hiring manager. The more relationships you cultivate, the better chance you have of finding your dream job.
Although some community colleges will have job boards, they typically don’t have the same number of resources dedicated to their students for career services. A vocational school has a whole department that focuses on career services.
From résumé writing to mock interviews, the career services department is dedicated to finding opportunities for you. Career advisors work with the community to identify open positions in the different vocations that are taught at the school. Some vocational schools will follow alumni throughout their career, helping them whenever they need help finding a new job.
Considering the long-term ramifications of attending college, it can’t be understated how important your school selection is. Although it can be tempting to take the easy route with a community college, taking the time to do some research on your options can help you in your career path.
An accredited vocational school gives you a better chance of starting a career when you graduate. Once you have arrived on campus, the benefits of specialized training over community college are abundantly clear. Do your future self a favor and enroll at a vocational school today.
Still considering between a community college and vocational school? It may be time to learn more about Hunter Business School.
Our professional, career focused vocational school programs, developed with industry input and adapted to the 21st century workplace, will provide you with the vocational skills and abilities you need in the health care, business, and technical professions. See the Top 10 Reasons to Choose Hunter.
Contact us today to find out more about how to become a vocational school graduate on Long Island.