Vocational school

Vocational school

A vocational school, providing vocational education and also as referred to as a trade school or career college, and school is operated to teach its students the skills needed to perform a certain job or career. 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. [cite news | title=Information Literacy in Vocational Education: A Course Model | date=2 Sept 2006 | publisher=White-Clouds.com | url=http://www.white-clouds.com/iclc/cliej/cl23XLH.htm]


The Finnish system is divided between vocational and academic paths. Currently about 47 percent of Finnish kids at age 15 go to vocational school. The vocational school is a secondary school for ages 16-21, and prepares the students for entering the workforce. The curriculum includes little academic general education, while the practical skills of each trade are stressed. The education is divided into eight main categories with a total of about 50 trades. The basic categories of education are
* Humanist and educational branch:*typical trade: youth- and free-time director
*Cultural branch:*typical trade: artesan
*The branch of social sciences, business and merchandise:*typical trade: Vocational Qualification in Business and Administration ( _fi. merkonomi)
*Scientific branch:*typical trade: IT worker ( _fi. datanomi)
*Technology and traffic:*typical trades: machinist, electrician, process worker
*The branch of natural resources and environment:*typical trade: rural entrepreneur, forest worker
*The branch of social work, health care and physical exercise:*typical trade: practical nurse ( _fi. perushoitaja)
*The branch of travel, catering and domestic economics:*typical trade: institutional catering workerIn addition to these categories administered by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior provides vocational education in the security and rescue branch for policemen, prison guards and firefighters.

The vocational schools are usually owned by the municipalities, but in special cases, private or state vocational schools exist. The state grants aid to all vocational schools on the same basis, regardless of the owner. On the other hand, the vocational schools are not allowed to operate for profit. The Ministry of Education issues licences to provide vocational education. In the licence, the municipality or a private entity is given permission to train a yearly quota of students for specific trades. The licence also specifies the area where the school must be located and the languages used in the education.

The vocational school students are selected by the schools on the basis of criteria set by the Ministry of Education. The basic qualification for the study is completed nine-year comprehensive school. Anyone may seek admission in any vocational school regardless of their domicile. In certain trades, bad health or invalidity may be acceptable grounds for refusing admission. The students do not pay tuition and they must be provided with health care and a free daily school lunch. However, the students must pay for the books, although the tools and practice material are provided to the students for free.

In tertiary education, there are higher vocational schools (ammattikorkeakoulu which is translated to "polytechnic" or "university of applied sciences"), which give about 3-4 -year degrees in more involved fields, like engineering (see insinööri (amk)) or nursing.

In contrast to the vocational school, an academically orientated upper secondary school, or senior high school ( _fi. lukio) teaches no vocational skills. It prepares for entering the university or a higher vocational school.


In Germany, vocational schools — "Berufsschulen" — have a history stretching back to the 19th century. A German "Berufsschule" is generally a secondary public school and does not charge tuition fees. Today they are part of the dual education system which combines apprenticeships in a company and vocational training in a school, both taking place over the same period of time on different days of the week or in blocks of several weeks.

As part of the dual education system, the "Berufsschule" is a part-time school, with students attending 8—12 45-minute lessons a week. Sometimes schooling is arranged in blocks of several weeks, in particular for trades which are only learnt by a small number of people. The rest of the students' time is spent learning at the company where they take their apprenticeship. The whole course lasts 2—3.5 years depending on the subject taken, with the vast majority of courses lasting 3 years.

Additionally, there are two other types of vocational schools in Germany. The first one is the "Berufsfachschule", a full-time secondary vocational school. The majority of these schools are private and therefore do charge tuition fees. The course at this type of school lasts 2-3 years. However, this type of vocational education is generally considered inferior to the vocational education at a Berufsschule. The second additional type of German vocational schools is the "Fachschule", a full-time or part-time post-secondary vocational school, and also most often a private school (but not in Hesse). Only graduates of a Berufsschule, with a minimum of 1 year work experience after graduation, are permitted to attend this type of school. The course at a Fachschule lasts 2 years for full-time students and 4 years for part-time students, and is comparable in level to the Higher National Diploma in the UK.

Republic of Ireland

A vocational school in the Republic of Ireland is a type of secondary education school which places a large emphasis on vocational and technical education; this led to some conflict in the 1960s when the Regional Technical College system was in development. Typically the schools are managed by "Vocational Education Committees" which are largely based on city or county boundaries. Establishment of the schools is largely provided by the state; funding is through block grant system providing about 90% of necessary funding requirements.

Vocational schools typically have further education courses in addition to the traditional courses at secondary level. For instance, "Post Leaving Certificate Courses" which are intended for school leavers and pre-third level education students.

Until the 1970s the vocational schools were seen as inferior to the other schools then available in Ireland. This was mainly because traditional courses such as the Leaving Certificate were not available at the schools, however this changed with the "Investment in Education" (1962) report which resulted in an upgrade in their status. Currently about 25% of secondary education students attend these schools.

United States

In the USA, vocational schools are usually considered "post-secondary" schools, but in some instances may take the place of the final years of high school. 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.Fact|date=October 2007

However, vocations schools now offer college degrees (associate, bachelor, master, doctorate), the requirements of which may include liberal arts education.Fact|date=September 2008 While some career schools may earn accreditation from national or specialized accrediting bodies recognized by the US Department of Education, a growing number of career colleges have the same regional accreditation as traditional postsecondary institutions.Fact|date=September 2008

There is however an issue with vocational or "career" schools who have national accreditation instead of regional accreditation. Regionally accredited schools are predominantly academically oriented, non-profit institutions. Nationally accredited schools are predominantly for-profit and offer vocational, career or technical programs. Every college has the right to set standards and refuse to accept transfer credits. However, if a student has gone to a nationally accredited school it may be particularly difficult to transfer credits (or even credit for a degree earned) if he or she then applies to a regionally accredited college. Some regionally accredited colleges have general policies against accepting any credits from nationally accredited schools, others are reluctant to because regional schools feel that national schools academic standards are lower than their own or they are unfamiliar with the particular school. The student who is planning to transfer to a regionally accredited school after studying at a nationally accredited one should ensure that they will be able to transfer the credits before attending the nationally accredited school. [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/19/transfer "Demanding Credit", Inside Higher Education website, dated Oct. 19, 2005 by Scott Jaschik] ] [http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/02/26/transfer "Tussling Over Transfer of Credit", Inside Higher Education website, February 26, 2007 by Doug Lederman] ] [http://www.useducation.com.pk/stpages/typesofaccreditation.html "Types of Accreditation", Education USA website] ] [http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/education/courses/distancelearn-09.html "What is the Difference Between Regional and National Accreditation", Yahoo! Education website] ] There have been lawsuits regarding nationally accredited schools who led prospective students to believe that they would have no problem transferring their credits to regionally accredited schools, most notably Florida Metropolitan University and Crown College, Tacoma, Washington. [http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=crown24m&date=20060224&query=%22University+of+Washington%22 "Student Takes on College and Wins", Seattle Times, February 24, 2006 by Emily Heffter and Nick Perry] ] [ [http://www.orlandoweekly.com/features/story.asp?id=526 "Bad Education" Orlando Weekly, April 14, 2005, by Jeffrey C. Billman] ] [http://www.collegejournal.com/aidadmissions/newstrends/20051003-hechinger.html "A Battle Over Standards At For-Profit Colleges", Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2005 by John Hechinger] ] The U.S. Department of Education has stated, however, that its criteria for recognition of accreditors "do not differentiate between types of accreditingagencies, so the recognition granted to all types of accrediting agencies — regional,institutional, specialized, and programmatic — is identical." However the same letter states that "the specific scope of recognition varies according to the type of agency recognized." [ [http://www.detc.org/downloads/GriffithsLetter.pdf Carol Griffiths, US Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education, letter dated August 30, 2007] ]

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.

See also

*Green school
*Vocational education
*Vocational university


External links

* [http://www.career.org/ Career College Association website]
*Barry Yeoman, [http://www.barryyeoman.com/articles/scamschools.html Scam Schools,] "Good Housekeeping"
* [http://www.acteonline.org Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE)]
* [http://www.careercollegecentral.com/ Career College Industry Site]
* [http://www.ed.gov/students/prep/college/consumerinfo/paying.html Paying for Vocational School]
* [http://www.VocSchools.com/ VocSchools Search Engine]
* [http://education-portal.com/articles/What_to_Look_for_When_Choosing_a_Vocational_School.html Choosing a Vocational School]
* [http://www.ed.gov/students/prep/college/consumerinfo/questions.html Questions to Ask a Vocational School]

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