A guide for your career plans in Technical Studies
Do you have the skills for a trade? Consider a technical education!
A Guide to Technical Studies
Academics is the study of the theoretical; technical studies are concerned with the practical. A technical education will prepare you for a specific career. The courses often lead to professional credentials, licenses such as those for home inspectors and electricians.
Advantages to a Technical Education
Most technical studies programs include hands-on training such as an internship. In fact, internships are one of the most attractive parts of a technical course. They'll not only enhance your skills, they'll acquaint you with your chosen industry.
Another advantage to a technical education is that it may take less time than a bachelor's. An associate's degree usually takes two years of study; a certificate course might take less--and then you could continue on to get a bachelor's degree in a related field at the same school.
And don't forget: shorter programs mean that a technical school may be less expensive than an academic institution.
Fields of a Technical Education
Technical studies cover many fields--in general, hands-on, nut-and-bolts fields like heating and air conditioning repair, computer technology, or the many fields in engineering. They can prepare students for careers from architecture to veterinary medicine, from embalming to landscape design, from cosmetology to surveying.
Technical studies also include the practical applications of many fields, such as piano tuning within the field of music, and dental assisting within the field of dentistry.
Technical Careers in Health Sciences
One of the largest fields is the allied health sciences. The American Medical Association includes in this category medical illustrator, athletic trainer, respiratory therapist, and many other attractive occupations. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs expands the list with occupations such as surgical assistant and cytotechnologist.
Because administrators consider the anticipated demand for an occupation when preparing a technical curriculum, technical school graduates are generally in high demand. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in health fields to grow substantially.
The BLS Web site lists the ten fastest-growing jobs between 2000 and 2010, and the Online Technical and Vocational School Guide considers all of them to be technical vocations.
Choosing a Technical Studies Program
With so many programs to choose from, you might find it difficult to decide on one. The first step is to decide on the occupation you want. There are two factors in this: your interests and your skills. These two things generally suggest the same choices. If not, a vocational counselor at a technical school can advise you.
And then consider the length of the program. Balance that with the length of time you want to spend in training. Most technical schools will let you study part-time so you can begin you're career while you're there.
Remember that you may have an aptitude for skills that you don't know about - maybe you haven't developed them yet. What's more, some fields that you've never considered may capture your imagination once you learn about them. That's why talking with a vocational counselor is always a good idea.
Steve Greechie (MBA, MSLIS, MA) is a freelance business writer in New York City. He's published extensively in a range of publications, including The Boston Business Journal, Information Outlook, Online, Architectural Record and The Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship. He contributed to The Core Business Web, which The American Library Association named The Best Business Reference Book of 2003. His internet copy appears widely.
Fastest growing jobs, 2000-2010 • Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accredited Program Search • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Health Care Careers Directory • American Medical Association
Technical and Vocational School Guide • Technical and Vocational School Guide