Technical College

If you’d rather be in a workshop or lab working with tools than reading and writing, than a technical college is the place for you! There will still be plenty of academics and studying, but most of the learning is done hands-on, working on a skilled trade. Tech schools are also a great place to start if you are interested in a health career. In addition to medical associate degrees that are in high demand, many technical colleges partner with universities to transfer credits to bachelor programs in nursing, pre-med, or other science fields.

Employment is very high for students in technical programs and the demand for skilled workers will continue to grow as baby boomer’s retire. By next year, about 2.5 million new skilled jobs will be added to U.S. economy, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth, according to USA TODAY.

Who should choose a technical college?

  • Students who like working with their hands (fixing things, making things, etc.)
  • Students interested in working in a health-related career

Typical Programs

  • Technical and vocational trades, e.g. welding, construction, auto mechanics, television production, music production, web development
  • Health / medicine, e.g. nursing assisting, emergency medicine (EMT/Paramedics)
  • Remedial liberal arts, e.g. math, English, science
Pros Cons
  • Lower cost
  • Federal funding (grants and loans) available
  • Less time required to complete degree (most A.A. or certificates are 2-year programs)
  • Open enrollment (generally only require a diploma or GED)
  • High employment rate in technical trades
  • Usually do not have on-campus housing
  • Credits for technical classes (except medicine) unlikely to transfer
  • Most programs only award certificates or associate degrees
Tip: Get Free Credits in High School
Take career and technical classes offered by your high school to see if you like them. Many high schools even partner with local technical colleges to provide college credit for classes taken in high school (tuition free!). Start to research technical colleges with programs you are interested in.
See our High School Checklists for how to prepare for technical college while in high school.