Specialty schools, including trade and proprietary schools,
include private, for-profit institutions where students enroll to
learn a practical skill required for entry into the workforce. Some
of these schools even offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
As institutions that focus on teaching a specific workforce-related
skill, specialty schools seem similar to community and technical
colleges. They don’t offer much, if anything, in the way of student
activities, residence halls, or athletics. Class sizes are usually
quite small, even smaller than liberal arts colleges. As private,
for-profit schools, however, tuition usually runs much higher than
community and technical colleges, and most of these institutions
do not offer federal financial aid such as Pell Grants or Stafford
Loans. You will also find it more difficult to transfer your credits
to another school if you decide you want to earn a bachelor’s degree
elsewhere. However, if you have decided that you want to go directly
into the workforce, these schools might be right for you.
As for-profit institutions, specialty schools rarely turn
students away. Essentially, if you have the money to pay for tuition,
you can attend the specialty school of your choosing.
Proprietary schools tend to follow workforce trends and
quickly put together educational programs to match, with current
hot topics including biotechnology and e-commerce. The larger schools
have over 100 campuses in cities across the country.
Trade schools tend to focus on one specific field and
offer training that’s usually hands-on. Good examples of trade schools
include schools of culinary arts, flight schools, and cosmetology schools.
These schools usually offer certificates or licenses as opposed
to degrees. Each state has very specific licensor requirements for
members of certain trades, such as plumbers or electricians. If
you feel a trade school is right for you, you will want to talk
with the appropriate state licensing agency to make sure the school
you choose offers a legitimate education.