What Are Vocational Courses?

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Vocational education courses are those specific to a career or professional trade. These courses are often viewed as the opposite of liberal arts courses, which provide more basic or general knowledge. While four-year schools offer vocational courses and programs, this term is often used with community colleges and trade schools.

Vocational schools are those that offer one- or two-year diploma and degree programs for career-minded students. Aspiring electricians, welders, carpenters and plumbers often take vocational courses at a trade school before beginning an apprenticeship. Courses in interior design, nursing and marketing are also vocational. Application and hands-on experience are common elements.