Making the Most of High Schools with Vocational Education Programs

Education is vital for the continued growth and development of every person. The process starts in school and continues on to higher education opportunities or a career. Over the last decade or so, the focus has shifted from long multi-year degrees and expensive programs towards the more affordable option of vocational training and careers. There are many benefits to be had from starting early with a vo tech program. In fact, it can begin with high schools with vocational education programs.

Benefits of Vocational Career Paths

Vocational education is unique among common career paths because it allows people career experience in and immediately following high school, and can often bridge directly into paid work.

Vocational educational training programs can take a couple of months or a year or two to complete, which is much faster than the average Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree, which can take 3-6 years or more. It’s an option often chosen by those who like to work with their hands, who need to work while attending school, or who prefer the kind of work a vocational education offers. Some of the benefits students can gain from their high schools with vocational education programs include:

  • An earlier start to training makes for an easier transition into the workforce
  • Morning, afternoon, and evening class options become available after graduation.
  • Students can take college classes online while still in high school at times.
  • Lower tuition costs than advanced education at a college or university.
  • Faster and easier placement when looking for a job in the chosen career field.

Finding the Right Start

People can embark on a vocational career path in three main ways- high school, community college, and trade school.

High Schools

Many high schools with vocational education programs have enrollment options available to juniors and seniors who are getting ready to graduate and choose either future career. These specialized training options can usually be done either on-site or as a dual enrollment student at a career training center or school. This allows students to enter the job market immediately once they graduate with the instilled skills and experiences they need to find a rewarding career.

Community College

Many community colleges partner with the local high schools that offer vocational education options to their students. These college centers offer vocational career training programs and specialized vocational two-year program options designed for students and those looking to expand technical training achieved in high school. This can include certificate programs and associate degrees and allows recent graduates a quick and easy way to enter the workforce with a current skill set.

Trade school

For students who graduate from high schools with vocational education programs, an option o continue their vocational training is sometimes offered through specialized educational programs. These trade school training or technical institutes often specialize in a single area and provide focused training for students looking to enter a particular niche market or industry. The trad programs can include careers in healthcare, construction, automotive, horticulture, manufacturing, or culinary arts.

Ground-Level Labor

Many job opportunities are available for individuals who can use their brains and brawn to get in-demand jobs done. Basic labor includes working with moving companies, warehouses, retail shops, and many other niche markets. For students attending high schools with vocational education programs, a basic skilled labor degree can provide the foundation for many career opportunities. The time can vary depending on the area of focus, but a successful career could be in sight in less than a year after graduation!

Culinary Arts

You do not have to spend years in culinary school to work in a kitchen or bakery doing what you love. A simple culinary arts degree program can give you everything you need to start a baker, work in a restaurant, and serve people’s food-related needs. You could make wedding cakes or find some other niche market to capitalize on within a short period with a simple culinary training background that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It is a rewarding career that can make a difference in people’s lives.

Horticulture Science

Working with plants is a very in-demand skill set. People always need help keeping their lawns green, their landscapes beautiful, and their trees healthy. With a program like this, you could offer tree services, lawn care, landscaping services, general yard cleanup, and much more. Many high schools with vocational education programs provide some sort of lawn and garden-related program, and it is something to look into if you love the outdoors and working with plants.


While it might not seem like a big career field, there is a high demand for skilled painters and masonry business professionals in most areas. Knowing how to use paints to make a home even more beautiful is something every homeowner wants to know. You can help business owners and homeowners keep their property looking great. This sort of training program is relatively short, and you can get started in no time after you finish at one of the local high schools with vocational education programs.


Another popular choice for vocational training and program degrees is construction. You can get into a nearly endless array of careers with a construction certificate or vocational training. Everything from working for local fencing companies to getting work with local construction companies is easier with this sort of training and background. And starting early in high school will make for a faster transition into the workforce once you are done and graduate.

Web Tech/Design

It is a digital day and age we live in, and skills that focus on web technology design, computers, data, and the like are going to be in more demand as time goes on. Many high schools with vocational education programs have varying levels of vocational training that you can opt into and you can diversify your career path with just a few classes added to your schedule. Computers are not going to go away, and technology will only get more complicated and technical, so there will always be a need for web experts!

HVAC Servicing

People want to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so they need reliable heating and cooling systems in their homes and businesses. HVAC certifications allow you to work in the heating and air conditioning repair industry and can secure you more work than you could ever hope to get done. People want to be comfortable, and there is always a need for experts who can diagnose and fix issues with commercial and residential heating and cooling systems.


Among the high schools with vocational education programs, the welding program is also one of the most popular. This is partly due to the short turnaround time most technical programs have as well as the high demand for experienced and well-trained welders. There are many niche markets and industries you can work in when you are certified and trained as a welder. It can open the doors to many career opportunities that you otherwise would not have the skills required to perform.

Roof Service

Another great example of a vocational career path you can take after high school with minimal college classes or training needed is roofing services. Some high schools with vocational education programs offer programs focused on roofing careers. People need to protect their homes and businesses, and with the increasing serenity and frequency of storms, people will need roofing companies to come to fix their roofs, and these companies will need skilled and experienced workers.

Med Tech

It may take years and years of hard work and education to become a doctor or surgeon. But you can still make a difference in people’s lives in the medical field with a simple one or two-year vocational program certification. Many high schools with vocational education programs offer a variety of med tech career options that include radiology, nursing, medical assistant, dental assistant, therapist, health aid, and more. You can make a positive impact in people’s lives shortly after graduating high school.

Water and Plumbing

People need access to fresh and clean water at all times in their homes and businesses. Reliable and safe plumbing repair services will always be in high demand, and for those who can work on pipes, wells, and plumbing systems, this means a nearly endless source of work. With a vocational degree in plumbing and water management, you can make those calls to fix pipes, drill wells, repair plumbing, lay drain fields, and much more. You can ensure people have access to safe water!

Autobody Work

A classic stable of classes offered by high schools with vocational education programs, autobody certifications, and degrees have always been popular choices. People always need their cars fixed, and those who spend time and money on maintaining their vehicles will want the best mechanics in the area working on their cars or trucks. You can specialize in specific makes and models or become familiar with all basic mechanic and autobody services and find the work you love to do.

Electrical Services

Becoming an electrician is more accessible than most people realize, and you can get started in a program to learn electrical services in many high school technical setups. You have the option to specialize in residential or commercial applications, and you can also work with both to ensure your skills are always in high demand and you have work lined up. After your basic certification, you also have the option to get further training if that is what you want to do to further your career as an electrician.

Emergency Services

Common vocational courses available at high schools with vocational education programs include emergency services. These include EMTs, firefighting ambulance drivers, CPR experts, first responders, police, and similar emergency service providers. Training time can vary, and there are plenty of opportunities to expand your skills and significantly impact the day-to-day lives of others. These programs are quick and easy, and very rewarding.


Many of the local contract manufacturing companies staff their teams with graduates from local vocational schools and centers. By using your time at local high schools with vocational education programs to focus on manufacturing careers, you can ensure you never run out of work. There is a nearly endless array of manufacturing jobs that you can choose from and numerous ways to apply your skills within your chosen career. It all starts with vocational education degrees while still in school.

Truck Driving

While there is a certain level of post-graduate training needed due to age restrictions in place, you can start your career as a trucker earlier and get a head start. There are high schools with vocational education programs that can help prepare you for a career on the road driving semi trucks, delivery vans, mail trucks, parcel delivery loads, supply chain cargo, and much more. Learning skills early on allows you to focus on driving specifics once you are of legal age for the driving job you are considering.

The benefits of vocational training and schools are numerous and provide students with a wonderful opportunity to find a career they love and reduce the work involved with finding a career after graduation. It is worth noting that some employers may pay for vocational training and send their employees to trade schools to help them learn or hone skills that will help them with their jobs. This is all part of the chain reaction that starts with students choosing where their focus will be when they attend any high schools with vocational education programs. From there, the sky is the limit for where they can go and what they can do!