Vocational courses are job focused educational courses that are meant to prepare the student for work in a specific field. They may be offered independently or as part of a larger degree program. Some vocational courses end with a certification or, in some cases, an Associate's degree if other courses are also included through an institution of higher learning. There are many types of vocational courses offered through trade schools, career colleges and community colleges. There are some that are very common and available in or near most communities throughout the country.
Medical assistants are part of the high-demand health care job market, but they are one of the few health care jobs that do not require advanced degrees. Vocational courses in medical assisting are designed to prepare students to work in the health care field in one of many capacities. Students learn physiology, pharmacology, clinical and lab procedures and protocols needed to work effectively in a hospital, clinic, doctor's office or laboratory. Some programs also include studies in medical coding and billing, which can open students up to another high-demand field.
Office management is a diverse field with lots of job opportunities for those who finish the course. Office managers are needed in nearly every business setting. Many people work in entry-level office jobs with no hope of climbing to a higher post, those who gain a vocational education in office management, however, are more qualified for the management level. Students learn the basics of spreadsheets, accounting, data processing, analysis of data, software programs, business management and more to help them become leaders in the office instead of followers.
Cosmetology is another in-demand profession in which those who work in the field typically acquire training from a vocational school. Cosmetologists are specialists in beauty, including hairstyle, makeup, pedicure, manicure and skin treatment. Many schools teach students how to properly apply these beauty treatments or perform the functions of the job. This is a practical occupation, but is still an outlet for creativity and expression. Students study subjects such as salon management and marketing in some school, in addition to the instruction in techniques.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, commonly referred to as HVAC, is a field of work that is in constant demand since almost everyone has a heating unit, air conditioner or both. There are many vocational courses around to teach students about the inner workings of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration and their installation and maintenance. These courses generally involve hands on training and may offer degree or certification that is university accredited.