About Career Colleges and Schools
Career schools are postsecondary, occupationally oriented, education institutions. Schools offer entry-level skills training focused on specific careers.
Courses stress training in specialized job requirements along with technical writing and math skills. . Programs vary in length from three months to three years. Students spend approximately 23 hours in class each week.
Career schools offer over three thousand separate programs throughout Pennsylvania. They include information and computer technologies, paralegal, secretarial, biomedical; technology, diesel mechanics, electronics, accounting, aviation maintenance, avionics, hair design, computer aided drafting (CAD), graphic design, commercial/fine art, engineering, business and allied health.
About Career College and School Students
Most students want specific training to improve their employment opportunities. Most look for quick job market entry.
The student body profile at private career schools consists of:
- Recent high school graduates
- Older students who are making life and career changes
- People supported by government programs (Unemployment, disability, welfare, workmen's compensation, etc.)
Twenty-nine percent (29%) of private career school students previously attended a community college or four-year college or university.
Facts About Career Education
Fact: The number of high-paying jobs not requiring a four-year degree is actually increasing.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require education beyond high school, but only 20% of these jobs will require a four-year degree.
Fact: The U.S. Census Report finds 25% of four-year college graduates work in jobs that do not require a four-year degree.
As a result, one and two-year career colleges and schools are widely recognized as the most direct . . . quickest . . . most efficient route to success in many fields.
Fact: Education alone just isn't enough anymore. In today's workforce, you also need a marketable skill. (U.S. Department of Labor)
Fact: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2006 median income for persons working full-time and holding an Associates Degree is higher than that of ahigh school graduate and a high school dropout.
Associate Degree $ 40,588
Some College, No Degree $ 37,135
High School Diploma $ 31,539
Less Than HS Diploma $ 25,039
Fact: Students attending career colleges and schools are eligible for financial aid - the same sources of government loans and grants as students attending four-year colleges and universities.
Fact: Pennsylvania has a strong network of 300 career colleges and schools which annually prepare more than 70,000 graduates for employment in a wide variety of business, medical, technical and creative career fields. Go to www.papsa.org
The Need For Technical and Technologically Trained Workers
Career Opportunities Abound with High-Skill Education
In a changing workplace, where three out of four jobs now require a technical or technological skill, postsecondary high-skill education is giving students the hands-on experience they need to get good jobs.
High-skill education, as opposed to traditional academic education, provides training in specialized career fields in two years or less so students can enter the job market sooner.
Education After High School is Essential for Success
"With no postsecondary education or training, people often end up with unskilled jobs - generally doing dull, dead-end, or dangerous work." (Wall Street Journal)
"For those who remain unskilled and uneducated, the future is grim. Even those with a high school education are at risk." (Economist)
Experts Agree on a Skills Gap
There are not enough qualified candidates to fill the increased number of skilled jobs created in the next 8 years. (Congressional Research Service)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing occupations are projected to be in computer technology and health care fields. In addition, one of the highest growth rates is expected to occur among jobs for technicians and technological support occupations.
Occupations with the Highest Growth Rates in Pennsylvania 2004-projected 2014 (Requiring some postsecondary education or associates degree but less than a bachelors degree.)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
EMTs and Paramedics
Network System and Data Communication Technicians
Manicurists and Pedicurists
Chefs and Cooks
Paralegal and Legal Assistants
Executive Secretaries, Administrative Assistants, Medical Secretaries
Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses
Hairstylists and Cosmetologists
Computer Support Specialists
Medical Records and Information Techs
Fitness Trainers and Instructors
Truck Drivers (Heavy and Tractor Trailer)
Physical Therapist Assistants
Occupational Therapist Assistants
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
Medical and Clinical Lab Technicians
Source: PA Department of Labor and Industry 2007 and acinet.org
Selecting a Career College or School
If you plan to train for a career, it is essential that you thoroughly research the quality of training before you enroll. Take steps to ensure that the training that you select is high quality. The following are some tips on how to choose a school that's right for you whether it's a private career school, public vo-tech, community college or four year technical college.
Visit the school and ask yourself these questions:
- Did you receive a tour of the school?
- Did you receive a school catalogue?
- Was information about the school's completion rate available?
- Was the option of talking with graduates or employees available?
- Did the school permit you to observe classes, meet instructors and talk with students before enrolling?
- Did the school admissions representative clearly explain admission procedures, paperwork, agreements and refund policies?
- Did you receive copies of everything you signed?
- Did the school explain the various financial assistance programs?
- Did the school explain your repayment responsibilities when using a student loan?
- Did the school clearly explain: What skills you will learn? How many classes are lectures? How many hands-on classes?
- Are there courses required that are outside your specific career area?
- Does the school have modern and adequate equipment?
- Was a list of companies which hire the school's graduates available?
- If the school offers externships, internships, or apprenticeships, were guidelines and hours clearly explained? 15. Does the school help you prepare for your job search? Did the school specifically explain how the placement department will assist you?