What is a Vocational College?

Learning more about your college options? Ready to stat a new career but don’t know where to begin? Vocational colleges are a great place to learn a vocation that will prepare you for a new career. Most vocational college programs can be completed in months rather than years. They offer flexible schedules, financial aid for those that qualify and career services after graduation. However, are you asking yourself, “What is a vocational college?”

What is a Vocational College?

Vocational colleges, also known as technical or career colleges, train you for careers in specific vocations like business, computers, paralegal studies and healthcare. A vocational college is a post-secondary institution with the primary goal of preparing you for a specific job in the most concise way possible. Unlike a university, there are fewer theoretical courses and more hands-on training. Universities include general education requirements. However, vocational colleges allow you to learn the exact skills needed to start working in a short period of time.

What are the Benefits of Attending a Vocational College?

There are many benefits to attending a vocational college. These benefits include quick graduation, flexible schedules, small class sizes, hands-on learning, career services, and financial aid for those that qualify.

Benefit #1: Graduate Sooner

One of the most important benefits of attending a vocational college is the ability to start working in months, rather than years. Although some programs offer associate degrees that may take up to two years to complete, most vocational college programs can be completed full-time in under a year. The sooner you graduate, the sooner you can start earning in your new career.

Benefit #2: Choose a Flexible Schedule

Many vocational colleges offer day and evening classes. If you have other responsibilities, than you have the ability to take classes at night that prepare you for your new career. Flexibility is important and most vocational colleges understand this. That is why they offer students a flexible schedule because they know that everyone has other responsibilities outside of college.

Benefit #3: Enjoy Smaller Class Sizes

Another benefit of attending a vocational college is the small class learning environments. These small classes offer you the one-on-one interaction with your instructors that is important to learning your new vocation. Smaller classes will also allow you to make life-long relationships with classmates and instructors. This will be important when it is time to network for a new job.

Benefit #4: Hands-On Learning

It is important to learn theory and terminology, but it is critical to put that knowledge to work in real world situations. Most vocational colleges allow students to practice their skills in lab situations and during externships. This hands-on learning will reinforce the book learning from lectures and provide you confidence for your first day of work. Having hands-on experience will give you an advantage on your competition when you are ready to take the journey to your new career.

Benefit #5: Benefit from Career Services

After graduation, vocational colleges will help you get a job. Although a job is not guaranteed after graduation, vocational colleges will help you apply for jobs with resume and thank you letter writing skills. They will also prepare you with mock interviews and questions that you may be asked during your interview. Most vocational colleges will follow alumni throughout their career, assisting them when they can. Vocational colleges also keep in touch with organizations in the community and graduates are typically the first to hear about job opportunities available. Career services allows you to network with community organizations and past alumni to find a job and make a career.

Benefit #6: Qualify for Financial Aid

For those that qualify for financial aid, vocational colleges help you fill out the FAFSA forms, so you are eligible for federal grants, loans and scholarships. They will remind you about the deadlines for filing and help you prepare your application. There are also other opportunities for financial aid if you are active duty or a veteran of the military. Visit the financial aid department of your vocational college and find out what financial aid you qualify for.

Popular Vocational College Programs

Vocational colleges offer a wide range of programs for those looking to start a new career. Some of the programs include business, computers, paralegal studies and healthcare. These programs prepare you for entry-level positions at organizations within your community. However, some vocations require a certification or license. These programs are designed to help you prepare for these certification exams.

Business Programs

Vocational colleges offer different types of business and computer programs. Some of the business programs are in business technology, computer operations and administrative assisting.

Business Technology – this program provides you with the practical skills to assistant in many types of offices. You will learn light bookkeeping, admin, legal, and management tasks. Opportunities for graduates include entry-level management, computer operations, office and executive assistants, assistance in accounting and other supportive roles.

Computer Operations – this program provides you with relevant Microsoft Office expertise including word processing, spreadsheets and presentation creation. You will also learn light bookkeeping and office procedure. Office procedures include handling calls, filing, massage taking, work safety, ordering supplies and customer service. QuickBooks will also be taught in depth during the computer operations diploma program to prepare you for the light bookkeeping tasks you may be responsible for.

Administrative Assisting – this program will prepare you for administrative assistant, secretary, receptionist and executive assistant roles within organizations. You will learn clerical and administrative duties including filing, answering phones, document preparation, scheduling appointments, preparing documents, data entry, managing office supplies and other administrative duties.  The focus of this diploma program is bookkeeping, office administrative skills, Microsoft Office, business math and English and advanced keyboarding.

Legal Studies Programs

Some vocational college offer legal studies for legal assistants, paralegals and other support for law firms.

Paralegal Studies – during this program you will learn how to assist law firms in managing cases, writing briefs, research, interviewing, and investigation. Some of the legal cases will involve personal injury, criminal law, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law and real estate. This program will prepare you for an entry-level position as a paralegal or legal assistant.

Healthcare Programs

With the rise in the baby boomer generation and advances in technology, most vocational colleges offer some form of healthcare program. Some of the healthcare programs offered include medical assisting, medical billing and coding, medical office administration, nursing, massage therapy and personal training.

Medical Assisting – during this program you will learn to manage patients and support a medical office. You will learn how to measure vital signs, prepare patients for exams, manage charts both manually and electronically, prepare exam rooms, sterilize instruments, perform lab tests and phlebotomy procedures.  The focus of this program will be on clerical and clinical tasks.

Medical Billing and Coding – this program prepares you to manage billing and coding within a medical facility. You will learn the different coding protocols including ICD-10, HCPCS and CPT. Heavy emphasis is placed on electronic health records (EHR). After graduation, you will be eligible for entry-level medical billing and coding positions in physician’s offices, clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities.

Medical Office Administration – this program trains you in administrative duties to work in a medical office.  Training will include computer skills, medical terminology, coding, and insurance payment processing and billing. This program will also teach you light bookkeeping, and medical law and ethics.

Nursing – during a nursing program, you will learn the fundamentals of nursing care, infection control, anatomy, physiology, human growth and development, and mental health. Completion of this program will open up opportunities at long-term care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices. After graduation, nurses must pass an exam, for practical nurses it is the NCLEX-PN and for registered nurses it is the NCLEX-RN. Nursing programs at vocational school prepare you for these exams.

Massage Therapy – massage therapy programs teach the fundamentals of each type of massage technique. These techniques include Swedish massage, deep tissue, chair massage, reflexology, and sports massage. Other classes in the program focus on anatomy, physiology and business techniques.

Personal Training – if you are interested in becoming a personal trainer, this program will teach you about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathophysiology. Courses will also offer you business skills to work in the personal fitness industry. This program prepares you to take the NASM-CPT or National Academy of Sports Medicine’s Certified Personal Trainer exam.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what a vocational college is, are you ready to start a career in something you can be passionate about. Whether it is business, legal studies, computers, healthcare or any one f the various vocational programs offered, now is the time to start your journey toward a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Want to Learn More?

Because you are making the commitment to seek career-focused technical training and vocational education, we commit ourselves to providing you with exceptional customer service each step of the way.

Gwinnett Colleges & Institute is committed to providing you with information on the college financial aid for which you may qualify in addition to the other career services we provide to our vocational college students.  All of our vocational school instructors possess education or experience in the fields in which they teach which provides you with a quality learning experience.  While we do not guarantee employment, we provide continuous career services assistance upon graduation from your vocational school program. 


Contact us today to learn more about Gwinnett Colleges & Institute.