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Classes Start January 14, 2020
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What is the Difference Between Technical Schools, Trade Schools, and Vocational Schools?

Let’s face it: college isn’t for everyone. Nor should it be. Many people don’t have the time or financial means to dedicate the next four years (at least) to attend a “regular” college or university. Luckily, there are lots of educational options available for those who wish to find a rewarding career without attending a four-year college or university. 

A career in a skilled trade, like heating and cooling repair and installation, can be achieved faster and with a lower tuition through a non-four-year school and will give you the opportunity to learn a valued and valuable skill. But where do you turn for an education in a skilled trade? The answer has caused some amount of confusion.

When seeking an education in the trades, there are several different names for schools that get used: technical school, trade school, and vocational school. If you are one of the many people considering continuing your education and pursuing a career in a skilled trade, you have probably run into all of these terms and may be confused as to what the difference is between technical school, trade school, and vocational school.

In many ways, all of these names mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. However, there are a few subtle differences that are worth noting, especially if an education at one of these schools is in your future. Here are the important things you should know about each of these options for education. 

What is a technical school?

A technical school, also called a technical college, is a one to two-year educational institution that offers degrees and certifications for a specific career or trade. Technical schools run the gamut from culinary arts, computer technology, cosmetology, automotive technology, HVAC, and many other fields. 

Unlike a traditional four-year college, no prerequisite or general education classes are required and all your classes are focused on the specific field. Technical schools also tend to provide a blend of classroom education and hands-on learning. 

What is a trade school?

By and large, trade schools and technical schools are very similar. Like a technical school, a trade school is a program that can be completed in a year or less, focusing on a specific career path or trade. The primary difference you’ll find between trade schools and technical schools is the exact career education they provide.

By definition trade schools typically focus on more hands-on careers and fields such as HVAC, automotive, plumbing, electricians training, carpentry, and the like whereas technical schools can offer education for more technical fields. As a result, trade schools spend more time doing hands-on education than classroom work. Trade schools will provide the appropriate certification necessary to immediately work in the chosen field after graduation. 

What is a vocational school?

A vocational school can be thought of as somewhat of an umbrella term for both technical schools and trade schools. A vocation is simply a trade or profession, so this term is often used interchangeably when referring to both of these kinds of schools. Completing your education at a “vocational school” will provide you with the certification or degree you need to enter your chosen field.

The Training Center for Air Conditioning and Heating

So in the end, while each of these different names refers to slightly different institutions, each of them has the same goal: help you get the education and training you need to start the next chapter of your career. 

That is what we strive for here at The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning. Call us a trade school, call us a technical school, call us a vocational school, we don’t care. We only care about one thing: helping prepare you for your future in heating and air conditioning. 

Our 10-week program will provide you with the classroom education and hands-on training you’ll need to prepare for the necessary certifications, begin your new rewarding career, and ultimately find success in the industry. Not to mention, you’ll complete all of this in a fraction of the time and cost you would attending a four-year university. 

If you are ready to begin your career in HVAC, learn more about our upcoming schedule of classes or ask us how you can sit in on a class for free to see if The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning and a career in HVAC is right for you.