Vocational Degrees: Tools for a Variety of Careers

A liberal arts education from a four-year college isn't for everyone. If you know what you want to do and want to go to a program that trains you specifically in that field, a vocational degree might be for you. You can learn job-specific skills that provide the experience you need to position yourself very well for employment after completion of your degree.

Vocational Degree Options and Career Opportunities

Most vocational degrees are two-year programs, and these years can be completed either after high school or, in some cases, concurrently with the last two years at some public high schools. Many vocational school students graduate with a trade school degree in their specific job or field of interest. Some vocational degrees are offered online, while others require on-campus attendance due to the hands-on nature of the training.

There is a wide variety of careers that can begin with a vocational degree, including chef, massage therapist, machinist, fashion merchandiser, corrections officer, cable installer, welder, heavy equipment operator, or paralegal--to name a few. Employment opportunities with a vocational degree vary from job to job. In 2009, welders earned a mean annual salary of $36,630, massage therapists earned $39,780, and plumbers earned $49,870.

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