If you’re just starting to consider the possibility of technical education, you might be asking yourself, just what is a technical school? What is technical education? How is it different from other kinds of colleges? And what kinds of jobs can you get with a technical degree?

To help you decide if a technical college is right for you, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about technical careers and education.

  • What is a technical school?

    Technical schools prepare students for jobs in skilled trades or modern technology. They include high schools that focus on technical education, as well as technical colleges, like Ranken.

  • What is technical education?

    Technical education – also known as career and technical education, or CTE – is any training that prepares students for jobs in the applied sciences, skilled trades or technology.

  • What does vocational school mean?

    Vocational school is an older term for technical school. Today, most educators prefer the term “technical school.”

  • What kinds of jobs do technical college graduates get?

    Technical college graduates can work in a huge variety of jobs. Ranken’s graduates go on to work as web developers, carpenters, electrical designers, machinists, architects, business owners and more!

  • Can I make good money with a technical school career?

    Definitely. Career and technical education is one of the quickest paths to a well-paid job. Three to five years after graduation, Ranken’s graduates can earn yearly salaries up to $80,000!

  • Do employers prefer four-year degrees to two-year degrees?

    Employers want to hire people who are ready to work and have the skills to get the job done.

    Ranken works directly with companies to find out what knowledge and abilities their employees need to have, and then we make sure our programs teach those skills. We’re consistently refining what we teach to stay relevant with industry trends.

  • Are technical careers safe?

    Some technical careers may involve working with machinery or equipment, around electricity, with volatile substances, or at high altitudes. We teach our students to consider safety in everything they do to avoid potential hazards. This includes everything from wearing protective gear in our shops to comprehensive training on current safety best practices.

  • Are technical careers outdated?

    There are many misperceptions about technical jobs. Modern technical facilities are bright, clean and filled with the latest technology – that’s why today’s employers need highly skilled professionals to fill well-paid technical jobs.

    To get a glimpse of what technical careers are like and the types of environments you might be working in, sign-up for one of Ranken’s Shadow-A-Tech days or take a tour of one of our two campuses.

  • What’s the difference between for-profit and nonprofit technical schools?

    Many technical schools are private, for-profit businesses. They sell education to students to make money for their shareholders.

    As a nonprofit institution, Ranken’s goal is to prepare students for success, not to make a profit. Nonprofits invest any money they make back in the school, facilities and students.

  • What’s the difference between four-year schools and technical colleges?

    Many technical colleges, including Ranken, offer four-year degrees in addition to associate degrees and certificate programs. What sets our four-year programs apart from traditional liberal arts colleges and universities is that our programs focus on hands-on training. Instead of spending all of your time in a lecture hall, at Ranken you’ll spend an average of 15 hours a week doing hands-on work that prepares you for the job you want.

    Technical colleges also offer many programs that only take nine months to two years to complete, so you can get into the workforce faster.

  • What’s the difference between community colleges and technical colleges?

    Community colleges usually offer a broader range of programs and academic subjects, offer certifications and two-year degrees, and aim to prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges.

    Technical colleges focus on hands-on training to prepare students for rapid entry into technical careers. Ranken offers certificates, two-year degrees and four-year degrees, giving students a range of options to help them reach their career goals.

  • Do I really need a technical school degree to get the job I want?

    If you want to earn the highest starting salary, and to have the most potential for advancement, it pays to get a technical school degree. Employers tell us that they prefer job candidates with technical degrees – including hands-on experience and professionalism – and who are ready to work on day one.

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