Vocational School

A vocational school (or trade school or career school), providing vocational education, is a school in which students are taught the skills needed to perform a particular job. Traditionally, vocational schools have not existed to further education in the sense of liberal arts, but rather to teach only job-specific skills, and as such have been better considered to be institutions devoted to training, not education. That purely vocational focus began changing in the 1990s "toward a broader preparation that develops the academic" and technical skills of students, as well as the vocational.

In the United States, vocational schools are usually considered post-secondary schools, but in some instances may take the place of the final years of high school. Nevertheless vocational schools are only two years of schooling. They may be public schools and as such are operated by a government, school district or other officially-sanctioned group, in which case they may or may not charge tuition. Most purely vocational schools are private schools; within this group they may be further subdivided into non-profit schools and proprietary schools, operated for the economic benefit of their owners. For a long time many proprietary vocational schools had a poor reputation for quality in many instances, and for over promising what the job prospects for their graduates would actually be; this has been largely corrected by more stringent regulation. The term career college is reserved for post-secondary for-profit institutions. Vocational schools have decreased severely in the United States by the replacement of offering alternative trade classes at specific schools.

Community colleges, in addition to offering associate degrees and core courses for transfer to four-year institutions, also offer vocational classes depending on the needs of the local community.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the largest American national education association dedicated to the advancement of career and technical education or vocational education that prepares youth and adults for careers.

Many vocational schools have gone on to become some of the most prestigious universities in the world. The California Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University are examples.

A vocational school – sometimes referred to as a trade, career or for-profit school – is a private postsecondary institution that provides professional and technical, career-specific educational programs. The schools’ education delivery focuses on providing job-specific training, not a broad, liberal arts education. Most private sector colleges or universities pay taxes yet receive no direct financial support from state governments. This differs from public, not-for-profit institutions that receive state tax support or not-for-profit private colleges that pay no taxes. Typically, the completion of a career college program ranges from doctoral and master’s degrees, to bachelor’s degrees, to associate degrees, to short-term certificates and diplomas. Career colleges are owned and operated by private individuals, private investors and public corporations.