Vocational schools typically are postsecondary institutions, but can be incorporated into the final years of high school as well. It takes about two years to complete a vocational program, which focuses on job specific training. There are private and public vocational institutions. As with anything, there are pros and cons to enrolling in a vocational school.
Lack of Diversity
While the job-specific courses are great if you're sure you want to be a hairstylist or mechanic, should you change your mind, you won't have any other training to fall back on. The coursework for whatever program you choose typically is set and you will learn about that career only. Unlike a community college or university, where students typically take a variety of courses on varied subjects, vocational schools are highly focused. The lack of course and subject diversity constricts a vocational student's knowledge to his career.
Teachers are primarily hired for their technical knowledge and not on their teaching skills. While these professionals often are very good at what they do, it can be hard to convey that information in a way that other people can use and learn. This can be a major drawback.
Since it takes two years or less to complete many vocational programs, the schools can graduate a lot of students in a short span. This can saturate the job market with people who all have the same skills and training. If the school does not provide or require internships or hands-on experience, this can be another obstacle for graduates.
Private institutions typically are for-profit, charging higher tuition and fees than some community colleges and universities. This can lead students with a lot of debt, which is compounded by the fact that many vocational jobs are on the lower end of the pay scale. There also is a stigma that for-profit schools are not as good as other institutions, which also can pose a problem for graduates.
Steve Johnson is an avid and passionate writer with more than five years of experience. He's written for several industries, including health, dating and Internet marketing, as well as for various websites. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas.