College degrees have long been thought of as an academic’s ticket to a steady job and predictable income. Held in high regard, diplomas have often been referenced as entry-level materials for new employees in many professional fields. As time passes, however, and the consequences of student loans become clear, the value of the college diploma is beginning to look overvalued.
Along with rocketing fees for tuition and textbooks, college degrees demand many hours in the classroom, but often fall short of the quality education that they advertise. Imagine unmotivated students and uncordial teachers making it difficult for inspired students to learn, a long commute that stresses the mind before class, and several two-hour lectures to sit through five days out of the week. These are only a few of the numerous reasons technical certifications are taking the role of the college degree as the best entry-level materials for new employees.
What is a technical certification? To put it simply, a technical certification is awarded to individuals who attend a career and technical education institution to learn the fundamentals of a professional trade. The Glossary of Education Reform attests that technical programs, “frequently offer both academic and career-oriented courses, and many provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience through internships, job shadowing, on-the-job training, and industry-certification opportunities.” Their article on Career and Technical Education also attests that these opportunities are “underutilized” and “often stigmatized” by the United States.
The reality is, however, that the stigma cannot prevent the better option from coming to the surface. An associate’s degree, the first readily available diploma from a community college, costs in the range of $25,000. That means a student is expected to pay around $400 for each credit hour. The cost of technical education and certification is a fraction of the cost of college tuition. In fact, the Academy for Dental Assistants 12-week Dental Assistant Training Program is available for $2,295, which is less than the accumulated cost of college textbooks!
Time is another important factor coming into play as those seeking higher education struggle to fit the overwhelming demands of college into a busy schedule. Many people find the idea of juggling a full-time job, family, and college impossible. Though some college degrees are available online, many are not, and online courses often come with hefty fees. Again, technical certifications have become a compromise for professionals looking to quickly enter a new career path or switch fields.
Compare twelve weeks to the two years it takes to earn the 60-90 credit hours required for an associate’s degree. Credit hours for college classes equate to three hours in class, while the Dental Assistant Training Program through one of our technical institutes requires only one hour per week in the classroom. Trainees are allowed to learn terminology and theory at home, then come to the classroom once a week to solidify those concepts in hands-on experiences. They enjoy their time at home, study when they can, then learn from qualified professionals in a real work environment.
Which leads to the next issue with the traditional college education: the quality of education. Many fine colleges exist, but the average classroom is overfilled. Too many students per classroom has long been an issue for the education system. Teachers struggle to meet with one or two students while thirty students do not get attention. This is not the fault of the teachers or schools, but the system itself. General studies cause classrooms to be crowded with disinterested students who need the credits to earn their diplomas. Technical schools solve this problem with an expertise focus on the skills necessary for the trade.
Instead of several dozen students with varying degrees learning under the same roof, technical institutes offer the specific training students need for their chosen career. Technical institutes focus on job-related skills, employ experts in the field to teach trainees, and enjoy a fewer number of students per class because they do not attempt to umbrella the entire student community. It is no coincidence that technical schools perfectly counter the problems of traditional college – these problems created the need for a less expensive, more manageable, and more focused alternative. It is unlikely that technical schools will replace colleges, at least not in the near future, but a new perspective is being reached in the quest for better education.
Cost, time, quality of education – technical certifications address the modern issues of education in an ever-faster pace world. Society has changed, and innovative, efficient, and expedited solutions to higher education and new career options are on the rise. Technical schools designed for a trade are becoming the preferred option to community college and the overvalued diploma. As they enter the workforce, new generations of technically certified professionals will spread the popularity of technical institutions, as well as break the stigma that the college diploma is the first step towards a new career.
Posted by Admin.