What is a Career College?

Career Technical CollegeDesigned for adults who are interested in pursuing higher education in order to start on a new career path, a career college offers post-secondary schooling in technical or professional fields. Depending on the area of study, attending a career college can result in earning a diploma, certificate or two- or four-year degree.

Benefits of a Career Technical College

Career technical colleges, also sometimes referred to as trade or vocational schools, administer career-focused programs that provide students with a concentrated curriculum so that they are able to enter the workforce as quickly as possible. Like traditional universities, in order to be eligible to attend a career college, students are required to have earned a high school diploma or to have passed the GED exam. Some advantages of career colleges are that they offer:

  • Flexible scheduling (weekend, evening, and online courses),
  • Emphasis on practical training,
  • Short-term programs (some can be completed in as little as a year), and
  • Job placement opportunities.

Career College vs. Traditional University

A career college differs from a traditional university in that it supplies career-specific, practical training in fields such as automotive repair, cosmetology, and medical billing and coding, whereas a traditional university will often impart a theory-based education beyond the major, encompassing a wider range of areas, which might include courses in history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and the sciences.

Due to the specific nature of the programs at a career technical college, these types of schools are ideal for students who are certain about the career they want to pursue and would like to start working in a relatively short amount of time. Traditional schools provide a more broad academic background and are suitable for students who are interested in being exposed to a breadth of subjects and can afford to attend college full-time for four years.

While some may say that traditional colleges carry more weight with employers due to name recognition, this is debatable and will vary from job to job. The most universal indicator of whether a degree is valid is accreditation.

Importance of Accreditation

The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that institutions of higher learning are providing students with a quality education. In order for a school to earn and maintain their accreditation, they must adhere to standards set by the accrediting body. Accreditation is important when trying to transfer credits from one university to another and also when attempting to obtain an advanced degree.

Schools can either be regionally or nationally accredited. Based on geography, there are six regional accreditation agencies that are recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Nationally accredited schools are not classified by location, but rather through the type of education they provide. For example, a career college may be accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges or if they offer online courses, they might be accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

Although both national and regional accreditation have a strict review process, nationally accredited schools are not federally recognized, and so credits earned at a nationally accredited school may not be as easily transferable as those earned through a regionally accredited college.

Available Areas of Study

From the healthcare industry to business and IT, career technical colleges offer a variety of disciplines to choose from. Below we have listed some of CollegeQuest’s most popularly requested career college programs:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Cosmetology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assisting
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Graphic Design
  • Healthcare Management
  • Information Systems
  • Nursing
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Web Design & Interactive Media

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time, are interested in advancing your current position or would like to switch careers altogether, if you have a particular job in mind, applying to a career technical college might be a sound option for you.