Technical colleges and trade schools provide the type of specialized training that can help reduce the current skills gap.
According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, there is a significant skills gap in the United States labor market. US employers have difficulties recruiting skilled tradespeople, and it is estimated that there are more than 1 million open jobs that require practical and high-level technical skills. Technical colleges and trade schools provide the type of specialized training that can help reduce the current skills gap. Below you will find an overview of the type of institutions that offer technical training across the US territory.
Technical colleges (sometimes called technical institutes, polytechnics, or technical schools) focus on delivering technical education in areas like engineering, science, technology, and mathematics. Technical degrees often involve completing a 2-3 year study program (or 60 credit hours) and are considered equivalent to an Associate degree. These are career-focused courses whose main objective is to prepare students so they can quickly integrate into the workforce.
Some of the most in-demand courses delivered at technical colleges cover majors like:
These courses are delivered across the United States at various educational institutions, such as technology colleges, university institutes, junior colleges, and in some cases in community colleges too. Courses are available on a part time, full time, and fast-track basis, and some courses can also be delivered online. Once completed, students have the option of transferring to a bachelor's degree course or to enter the labor market.
Recent data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that individuals who have a technical qualification can access high-paying roles (averaging $51,000/year) in industries that have plenty of scope for growth. Some of the best paying roles available to those with an Associate degree include:
Also known as vocational or two-year schools, trade schools deliver post-secondary education with a focus on gaining hands-on skills, and are an alternative to university or college programs as they generally offer a faster entry route into the labor market. Some trade schools receive government funding, whereas others operate privately. On average, the cost of a 2-year trade school program at a private school is $33,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, starting salaries for those with a trade school qualification average $35,000 / year, and there is room for growth for those with sufficient experience and / or in managerial roles.
It is also important to distinguish between nationally and regionally accredited trade schools, as the latter may not recognize study credits from students who transfer from other institutions.
Trade school training courses typically last between 12 and 24 months and the curriculum is designed to provide students with a specialized skill set and hands-on training opportunities. Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular roles available after completing a trade schools program: