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Introduction

With high number of unemployment, parents and students are looking for ways to improve their chances of securing professional jobs within the diminishing job market. Efforts to increase visibility in the job markets lie on the ability to obtain quality post secondary education. While some students join Universities and community colleges, some opt for career colleges while others join career colleges as a start before proceeding to universities. Recent research reveals that students who enroll in Career College have better chances of obtaining employment opportunities than those who go through the four-year university education, especially in the United States.

During the economic recession, most employers laid off employees with no special expertise, while experts were retained. (Peterson 3) provide statistics to show that 65% of the American workforce is skilled and out of this, only 20% are professionals. He also says that students who enroll in career schools have higher chance of graduating compared to those who go to Universities.

Career Colleges offers specific students required to do a specific job, unlike community colleges, which generalize their study programs to cover a variety of skills. Because they are career specific, carrier colleges are gaining more popularity in the U.S. other than that, there are other reasons why parents prefer to enroll their children into career colleges compared to the enrolment in Universities or community colleges. Similarly, unemployed but University educated individuals are rapidly enrolling in career colleges than taking other jobs or going back to community colleges. The popularity of these colleges in the U.S has raised concerns, as highlighted in the media.

Amongst the newspapers that have covered this issue include The New York Times and Philadelphia Daily News. The President of the Private Sector Universities and Colleges Association, in a letter to the New York Times, Peterson's Guides, conceded that the graduation rates at career colleges were much higher compared to that at Universities and community colleges. This is because career colleges admit more students as compared to university. It is also easy to complete technical training than a university degree. Getting a career trainer or adviser helps one make an informed choice on which career to pursue.

Traditional colleges and universities equip students with a wide knowledge base. With the four year skills training, these Universities and colleges do into go deep into the skills. Rather they offer touch-on training on a variety of skills. Upon graduation, students have a wide variety of skills that are not specialized to do a particular type of job. When such student go into the job market, it is always mandatory for their employers to offer specialized on-job training for a couple of weeks before they are trusted into their positions.

Because this kind of training is theory based, most students find themselves unemployed after completing their studies. Most companies prefer those who already have special skills that fit their kind of organization.  A major benefit to students who attend career colleges over those who go to community colleges is that they provide a good education and job experiences. This kind of education is focused on the students attaining job opportunities. Therefore, most of the graduates join the workforce much quicker than the four year trained students.

Career College graduates are usually established as experts in particular fields, with specialized professional skills. This also has a disadvantage. Sometimes, it is better to have a wide knowledge as such an individual can fit almost anywhere, with just a little training. Having skills in many areas may increase the chances of getting employment as one easily understands new concepts.  Career choices are also massively available for University graduates. University education offers flexibility of changing careers or going into new careers at certain levels of the education process.

The life goals and ambitions of a student are reflected on the kind of choices they make regarding college education. Despite this, the four year trained students usually earn much higher than the career college trained individuals, especially at the start of employment. With the quantity of time spent in a university and the prestige associated with it, their graduates tend to have a high starting salary, though not in all fields. In other industries such as the technical industries, career trained students have a higher starting salary as their expertise is more valued (Memei 39).

Career colleges also offer special services available at traditional schools such as flexibility of schedules such as weekends, evening or during the day. Similarly, online classes are also available career school graduates. This flexibility allows students  to attend to other commitments. Qualified student who attend career colleges are also eligible for financial aid like scholarships from the U.S government. Most of these colleges also offer career placement. Some universities also offer career placement (Birritteri 56).

Career colleges, unlike quality universities are easily available, and are in most localities. To get a good University education, some students may need to travel and live far from their localities. This fact helps student save on costs associated with boarding, meals and transport costs. Additionally, these colleges offer cheaper tuition fees. Though this may not be for all career colleges, most of them are cheaper than universities. Student and parents sometimes view the time spent in Universities as a waste because of their long vacations. Though these vacations are meant for industrial attachment, most students do not get the opportunity work in their specialized fields (Prescott 45).

Career colleges tend to have shorter vacations and focused curriculum, allowing students to go for shorter periods, of two to three years. Because of this, students graduate when they are much younger, allowing them time to advance their studies or engage in other community work before seeking professional work. This may not be the case for university graduates. Once they are through with their four-year education, most of them seek employment before advancing their education.

Because of this, they may not have time to do voluntary or community work, unless forced by circumstances. However, University graduates also attend internships and attachment while still in college. The difference is the quality of the internship. While they get limited time to do these internships, other career college students get a progressive job training during and their graduation? An example of a career college is the University of Phoenix. The university has other schools around it, allowing students admission into technical training. These schools offer a variety of careers including the medical field (Philadelphia Daily News).

Consequently, career schools usually have open admissions to student, unlike Universities. Traditional schools have strict entry requirements regarding High School performance, while career schools absorb students depending on their abilities and interest. (Field 147) propose that career schools use skills assessment tests to enroll students. Further, (Field 147) argues that this kind of assessment realizes emotional intelligence, which is fundamental for career choices. The intelligence affects career choices by analyzing an individual’s self regard. Self-regard determines personality types and the type of work one can do well.

This gives opportunities to many students who may not have attained the entry mark for University education, or those who cannot afford it. However, not all career schools easily admit students. Some of these colleges such as nursing and dental colleges are much in demand and have shorter or no wait times, unlike the universities, where one can wait to be admitted for up to a year or more. The shorter waiting years allows students utilize their time and graduate while still young (Bishop & Howard 21).

The major weakness of career colleges is their low recognition and low prestige. Though a governing body accredits some, some are not professionally recognized. Students may spend money on such colleges and attain poor certificates that are not nationally recognized. To avoid this, parents and student are advised to be carefully while choosing a career college and do background checks on their choices. Students in Universities do not have this fear as most of the Universities are widely recognized and publicly managed. The privately owned Universities are also well recognized because of their performance (Janet 87). This recognition is also important in tracing the performance of graduates in the work environment.

Another disadvantage of career colleges on the students is the restricted social life. Most High schools students want to graduate and go to college in order to have independence and freedom. Career schools do not offer this kind of freedom. Instead, they provide their student with other social activities such as professional associations. Therefore, if a student wants some freedom, they can either go to career schools in different states. Freedom is important for students as they get to develop their own identities and identify their strengths and weakness. Though career colleges do not offer this freedom, they help students achieve this through numerous associations (Dervarics 11).

Career choices depend on one’s ability, interest, demand for the skills in the market, high School qualifications, and financial abilities. It is unwise to say that attending Career College is better that attending universities. With the advantages and weakness presented by both training programs, the decision remains a personal choice. However, career advisers argue that it may be advantageous to have both qualifications. Students can choose to attend career training after or before obtaining a degree from a university. In the U.S, employers assess one’s ability to work by analyzing their workforce expertise, experience and academic qualifications. Therefore, a student with technical and university training stands better chances of attaining (Holmes 43). 

Students are further advised to be innovative, resourceful and enterprising. Education should provide the necessary skills for an individual to be enterprising.  Students should provide employment opportunities for themselves.   They should not wait to have white-collar employment. With technologies, there are numerous opportunities for students to be innovative.  Additionally, students should work hard at positioning themselves to get job opportunities. Networking is one of the ways of positioning themselves.  With a college or university training, students should increase their chances of getting employment by going for industrial attachment, networking, and offering voluntary skills to organizations. This increases visibility in the workforce industry. Apart from the skills, one gains on job experience that will become relevant once one is employed.

Both the four year and career colleges offer different advantages and disadvantages, unique to each mode of professional training. While career schools are skill specific, the four-year university education is spread over many skills and knowledge. The main difference between the two is the time and money spent in the schools. Career Colleges take shorter time while the traditional universities take longer. In addition, career schools train on specific skills such as nursing or dental. University education offers career flexibility while Career colleges offer schedule flexibility. With a university education, one can choose to change his/her career at any time, unless they are specified fields such as medicine.

Though the government mainly offers financial assistance to university students, some qualified career school students usually receive aids in terms of scholarships. Economic recession and lack of finances forces students to choose wrong careers. Parents can help their children choose their careers by employing the help of a career trainer. Career trainers offer advice on career choices, the type of colleges and the efforts they should put towards achieving their goals. Students should make individual choices regarding career choices. If one is capable of attending a career college together with a four-year university, it is better than to have a single one. Career colleges offer better opportunities for getting jobs.

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