An Introduction to Career Training Programs
Did you know that many of the fastest growing careers, such as solar panel installers and health care aides, don’t require a four-year college degree? Although many people are pushed into a traditional bachelor program after high school or are made to feel that they won’t get a good job if they don’t go to a four-year college, the reality is that many viable career training programs are available.
Career training programs can help you find a high-paying, in-demand job and can help you put your skills and knowledge to good use. As an added benefit, many career training programs are low-cost or cost-free (with financial aid), meaning you don’t have to go into student debt as you pave the path to a brighter tomorrow.
Here’s a quick introduction to the various career training programs available to students in Florida, including who each program is designed for and the benefits of each.
Ability to Benefit Programs
Often, career training programs are designed for post-secondary students who have already completed high school or earned a GED. In many cases, a GED or high school diploma is a requirement for a student who wishes to or needs to receive federal financial aid, such as a Pell Grant.
Ability to benefit programs help to open the door to career training to students who have not already earned a GED or diploma. As part of an ability to benefit program, a student can work towards earning GED and a career certificate simultaneously. The programs also make students eligible for Pell grants.
Nearly half a million apprentices have been hired by companies since the beginning of 2017. Apprenticeship career training programs combine the best of both worlds. Students who become apprentices have the chance to earn income from working on the job. While they work, they also receive hands-on training and career education.
Apprenticeships are available in a variety of industries and for a range of careers, including electrician, plumber, and masonry worker. There can be some competition to land an apprenticeship, as the employer or company picks participants based on guidelines and standards created by the US Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Education.
Once you complete an apprenticeship program, you earn a certificate in the industry. You are then accepted into the industry as a “journeyman” and have the opportunity to launch your career and move up the ladder.
A career certificate program can prepare you for a career in a wide range of industries. Some students use a career certification program as a jumping off point towards a two-year or four-year post-secondary degree, or some go straight to the working world. During the 2011-2012 school year, nearly 40 percent of students seeking a post-secondary credential were pursuing a career certification or associate’s degree.
Usually, career certificate programs take less than a year to complete and combine classroom learning with hands-on training. The specific requirements of a certificate program vary based on the industry and the demands of the training. Usually, after completing a certificate program, a student can earn a license or professional registration in their chosen industry.
Continuing Education Programs
For many people, training and education doesn’t stop once they’ve completed an apprenticeship or earned a career certificate. Continuing education is often a key component of maintaining your licensure in a specific industry.
Even if your industry doesn’t require you to complete continuing education courses, you can still benefit from taking a class or two, to keep your skills sharp or to learn about new advancements in your industry.
If you’re interested in changing careers or want to enter a new field, a continuing education program gives you the chance to get your feet wet and to see if a particular industry or occupation genuinely interests you.
Which Career Training Program is Right for You?
With five campuses in Avalon Park, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, South Orlando, and Winter Garden, Orange Technical College is equipping students in Central Florida with the career skills and training they need for more than eight decades.
We offer ability-to-benefit programs, apprenticeships, career certificates, and continuing education programs, as well as general education and personal interest courses. If you’re ready to get a fresh start on your career, request more information about our career training programs today.
- “Fastest Growing Occupations,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, last modified April 13, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm.
- “Apprenticeship,” US Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/.
- “Participants in Subbaccalaureate Occupational Education, 2012,” National Center for Education Statistics, June 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018149.pdf