What Are Vocational Courses and Classes?

Vocational courses and classes are available in many career fields, including health care, computer technology, office management and skilled trades. Vocational education programs are offered through both private and public institutions and can vary in length. When taken as part of a larger educational program, vocational classes might lead to a certificate or an associate's degree.

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Vocational Courses and Classes Overview

Vocational courses and classes are offered by career colleges, vocational schools, trade schools and community colleges. These courses provide job-focused training for specific roles or careers.

Course Topics

Vocational instruction is offered in many areas, including health care, creative fields, computer networking, food preparation and cosmetology. Vocational education is also available in skilled trades, such as heating and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, electrical systems and automotive repair. Examples of specific vocational classes might include the following:

  • Introduction to health care for nursing
  • Medical assisting
  • Computer network management
  • Word processing applications
  • Office management skills
  • Introduction to cosmetology
  • Food and beverage management

Types of Programs

Vocational programs mainly lead to industry skills certificates (either for-credit or non-credit) and associate's degrees. Examples of associate's degrees awarded at the end of vocational programs include the Associate of Arts and the Associate of Science, but the most common vocational degree is typically the Associate of Applied Science. The types of credentials offered may vary by the field of study and the institution offering the program.

Available Vocational Schools

Vocational courses and classes are offered by a number of institutions. Many high schools offer basic vocational education, such as home economics, woodshop and auto repair. Vocational educational institutions vary by state, but most postsecondary vocational instruction is offered by private career schools. Other institutions offering vocational courses include 2-year community colleges, state-owned institutes of technology and government-operated adult education centers. These public options may offer vocational training to qualified students at no cost.

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