Finding a great, well-paying career in New York doesn’t mean you need to get a college degree; attending a vocational school can also help you locate that path to success.
While most colleges offer classes geared toward a student’s field of study, vocational schools instead focus on training students for the jobs they want. The concentrated curriculum allows students to gain the knowledge and skill they need to build a successful career that will last them their entire lives.
Vocational schools offer myriad career paths for students outside of college; the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) notes that many of these schools offer more than 70 different career paths in various fields, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), law/public safety, finance, architecture and construction, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, arts, marketing and more.
These fields offer great, good-paying jobs in New York — but generally, businesses across New York have a tough time finding the skilled people they need to do them.
The ACTE reports that, while 50% of New York’s labor market includes middle-skill jobs (positions that don’t require a college education), just 38% of the state’s workforce is trained at that level.
These middle-skill jobs offer tremendous opportunity and advancement for every New Yorker who doesn’t have a college degree. In fact, the ACTE reports, the top 5 industries for jobs that pay a median annual salary of $55,000 or more without a bachelor’s degree are in office and administrative support; management; construction and extraction; sales; and transportation and material moving.
And the next decade figures to provide even greater opportunity for advancement. A report by Opportunity@Work, a nonprofit aimed at advancing a more skilled American labor market, projects that 100 million new jobs will open across 292 occupations over the next 10 years specifically for skilled workers who do not have four-year degrees, but are instead “Skilled Through Alternative Routes” (STARS), including vocational schools.
These opportunities, according to the report, apply to every American of every walk of life. Opportunities@Work believes achieving that skilled workforce will help close the opportunity gaps that exist among Black, Hispanic and women STARs and help them achieve greater success and personal advancement.
Vocational schools engage their students directly in their fields of interest and gives them the tools they need to succeed. Whereas a college education may take up to four years to complete, some trade schools — depending on the field of pursuit — have programs that are completed in less than a year.
Moreover, these schools achieve great success in helping their students find a job almost immediately after graduation. The ACTE reports that 98% of career and technical education students went on to the workforce, the military or attained an apprenticeship.
They also met other parameters of academic success; 92% of CTE students graduated, while 97% of them met performance goals for reading/language arts skills and 94% attained performance goals for math skills.
Plenty of financial aid is also available to students attending vocational schools through federal Perkins grants. During the 2020 fiscal year, New York state received more than $57.6 million in funding for these grants, which, unlike a traditional student loan, do not require repayment.
For anyone who just graduated high school or is between jobs and looking for a new path toward success, there’s never been a better time to attend a vocational school. A world of opportunity and advancement awaits, and these schools will give you the keys to unlock those doors — and your potential.