What Is the Difference Between Technical School and College?

Are you considering attending college but aren’t sure you want to spend two to four years completing a degree program? If you have other responsibilities or want to train to enter the workforce quicker, then attending a technical school instead of a traditional college may be the right choice for you.

What Is a Technical School?

A technical school, also called a trade or vocational school, focuses on training that prepares students for industry-specific roles. This can include industries like health care, computers and construction. MIAT College of Technology offers programs in Aviation Maintenance, Energy Technology, HVAC/R, Wind Power, Welding, Non-Destructive Testing, and Robotics and Automation.1

What Is the Difference Between Technical School and College?

There are many differences between technical school and traditional college. They include:

Length of Programs

Most traditional college programs last two to four years, offering both electives and core fundamentals. Technical schools, on the other hand, can often be completed in about two years, with some programs taking about a year or less. If you want to start training for a career quicker or aren’t able to spend a lot of time out of the workforce to get a degree, then technical school may be the right answer.

Academics vs. Technical Training

Most traditional colleges focus on classroom theory, while technical training includes both classroom and hands-on learning. Technical training at MIAT takes the curriculum one step further by putting classroom theory to the test, giving you the ability to learn with tools and equipment used in the field.

Job Readiness

Most technical training programs are the first step to job readiness. During technical training, students spend hundreds of hours performing the actual tasks and using the equipment that’s found in the industry. Conversely, many traditional colleges teach a subject that may or may not relate to a specific job.

Admissions Requirements

Traditional college admissions are rigorous and sometimes require students to take SAT or ACT tests, attend AP classes, write application essays, or get teacher references. Technical schools, on the other hand, often only ask that students meet an age requirement and supply secondary education documents, like a high school diploma or GED diploma.

What Are the Benefits of Attending a Technical School?

There are many benefits to attending a technical school. They include:

A Quick Start

You can train to enter the workforce quicker after attending a technical school. How? Technical schools only focus on what you need to start pursuing a future in the skilled trades.

Focused Curriculum

Technical schools focus on a well-rounded curriculum with hands-on training that helps prepare students for careers in the skilled trades. There’s no time spent on electives that may or may not apply to your field of choice.

Hands-On Training

In addition to classroom theory, technical school allows students to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios during training. Whether you’re learning to fix aircraft or training to maintain and repair HVACR systems, you’ll have the chance to practice before working with real clients. Technical schools allow students to take the time to test their skills and build their  confidence before pursuing roles in the industry.

Industry-Experienced Instructors

At MIAT, we hire only industry-experienced instructors who have been in your shoes and know what students need to succeed. Our small class sizes allow students to get personal attention, so no one is left behind.

Certification Preparation

Many of the technical programs at MIAT prepare students for certifications. Whether you want to prepare for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification as an aviation mechanic or are seeking to become licensed by a state organization, MIAT offers the classroom theory and training needed to help you prepare for your certification and licensure exams.2

Career Services

At MIAT, we take pride in striving to place our graduates with employers that are a good fit. We help graduates build résumés and prepare for interviews, and we introduce them to employers that are looking to fill trade positions.3 We have strong ties to the community, and employers know that MIAT graduates are prepared with the training needed in the industry. Our Career Services staff can help you find a role you’re passionate about.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between a technical school and a traditional college, it’s time to learn more about MIAT. Contact us today to learn about our trade programs!

Want to Learn More?

If you’re mechanically inclined, enjoy working with your hands and are looking to pursue a career in the skilled trades, MIAT can help. Engaging, hands-on technical training at MIAT can help prepare you for a career you’re excited about.

At MIAT, our students get real-world, career-focused education. MIAT students learn on current equipment in state-of-the-industry labs to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running after graduation.

To learn more about our skilled trade programs and to explore whether MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us today if you’re interested in attending MIAT College of Technology.

1Programs vary by campus. MIAT is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. 2MIAT’s aviation program prepares graduates to apply and test for FAA mechanic certification. Graduates who do not obtain certification may have fewer career opportunities. Some graduates get jobs other than aviation maintenance technician such as turbine or field technicians. MIAT is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment, salary, or FAA certification. 3MIAT is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.miat.edu/disclosures.