The Difference Between Technical Schools and Community Colleges

by A Guest Author

Technical SchoolsWhether you want to attend a university someday or you have no interest in the traditional route to education, you have a couple of alternate options for earning a degree or learning a trade. Some students are happy with an associate's degree, they want the option to go on to further schooling at a later date, or they're looking into certifications. For these students community college is a great place to get started. Then there are students who are interested in obtaining technical degrees without the cost and additional coursework required by 4-year institutions. Perhaps they want targeted, immersive coursework that simply isn't offered at regular colleges and universities and they don't want to waste their time with core subjects and other disciplines. For these students, technical schools may be the solution. In short, there are a couple of great alternatives to attending a 4-year school. But what are the major differences between technical schools and community colleges?

Technical schools are sometimes referred to as trade schools, and the reason is that they generally provide targeted tracks of coursework that allows students to focus completely on a single subject without muddying the waters with a lot of extraneous material. For example, the average college student will have to spend two years on general education before they can even truly begin to focus on their major study. Some students see this as a waste of time. Additionally, tech schools offer a variety of specific programs that may not be available at the college level, or at least they may not offer the in-depth instruction that a technical school can. So while a student wishing to study computer science in order to become a programmer might go to a 4-year school and beyond in order to receive a well-rounded education, those interested in taking the fast-track to an IT job may hit up a trade school and get into the work force faster. In general, technical schools provide practical training that leads straight to a specific job type.

But what about community colleges? How do they differ from trade schools? After all, many community colleges also offer certification programs in areas like nursing and technology. Isn't that the same as what trade schools offer? Actually, no. When you come out of a trade school you are ready to get to work and you have the skills, knowledge, and often the credentials to do so (although they don't offer licensure testing, they will help students to obtain the proper certifications and licenses to practice). Community college, on the other hand, is mainly designed to prepare students to go on to 4-year universities. Although they do tend to have some courses that prepare students for certification and licensure, it varies from school to school. So they cannot really be viewed as vocational colleges in the same way that technical schools are.

Of course, you may decide to skip both and get an online social work degree, for example. But if you're looking for a trade, a technical school may be the wise choice (unless your local community college has the program you seek). And if what you're looking for is an associate's degree that will provide you with a well-rounded education along with the potential to transfer to a baccalaureate program down the road (or upon completion of general education coursework) then community college is definitely the right choice for you.

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Curran November 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thanks a lot!


Roscoe November 11, 2012 at 9:33 am

I really like what you guys are usually up too.
This type of clever work and coverage! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: