Is Career and Technical Education the Answer to Covid-19 Job Loss?

Career and technical education can help you get back to work despite the Covid-19 crisis. Technical education can provide you with the professional skills that employers need now and in the future.

Career-oriented courses such as technology (IT), applied sciences, healthcare, business leadership and management, and accountancy will still be in demand in a post-pandemic world.

Covid-19: Job Loss and Career Prospects

The Covid-19 pandemic hit jobs like a wrecking ball. Mass layoffs and business closures meant a record number of Americans becoming jobless. According to news reports, at least 30 million people have been out of work every month of the pandemic.

A survey by Pew Research Center found that the groups hardest hit by the pandemic are those aged 18 to 49. And it’s a sad fact that one-quarter of young adults under 30 have filed unemployment claims. Sixty percent of people back at work say they earn less than before the pandemic.

If you’ve lost your job because of Covid-19, what can you do to kickstart your career? The answer may be career and technical education.

Read on to find out how CTE careers can help you find work. But, not just to find a new job fast — to keep a job despite any new virus outbreaks or economic recessions.

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?

Career and technical education involves teaching specific career skills that are in high demand. CTE allows post-secondary students to get hands-on experience. This type of education focuses on practical skills rather than theory. Career and technical education gives students the necessary experience before starting a career.

CTE colleges used to be called vocational schools. However, the term “career and technical education” better describes the range and level of programs on offer. Many educators recognize that CTE is an excellent learning pathway to getting the skills for in-demand careers.

If you are thinking of taking a new career path in a post-Covid-19 world, career and technical education can open up incredible opportunities.

The Benefits of Career and Technical Education

What are the benefits of attending a vocational school to get a career and technical education? Let’s look at several benefits you can get from CTE.

1. CTE programs provide focused learning

The emphasis on learning career-specific skills means that vocational schools offer focused learning. You can get vocational certificates and diplomas in two years or less — depending on the training program. Because CTE programs don’t include general courses, you can get the necessary career qualifications faster.

2. Vocational school programs are flexible

Flexible learning is a significant benefit for adults in career and technical education. Most likely, you already have many responsibilities in life — even if you’re currently unemployed. Many CTE classes are available online. And it’s usually possible to attend classes in the evenings or at weekends.

With vocational school (trade school) education, you can attain an associate degree or post-secondary diplomas without “traditional” college learning.

3. CTE education leads to high-paying careers

Online vocational certificates can lead to lucrative careers in professional industries. Vocational careers are often in high-paying positions where you can take home a similar wage as someone with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Here are some of the top-paying careers that you can enjoy thanks to career and technical education:

  • Web development
  • Pharmacy technology
  • Automotive service technology
  • Applied marine technology
  • Healthcare
  • Energy management
  • Electrician

4. Getting a vocational certificate is cheaper

Enrolling in a vocational program cost less without compromising on education quality. Because courses are shorter, you can complete your post-secondary or associate degree quicker. This means you’ll save a lot of money. What’s more, you can avoid amassing a pile of debt in student loans.

There’s also another advantage of saving money on your education. You don’t have the burden of paying off enormous debts for many years. So, not having to repay student loans means your net income will be similar, or sometimes higher than many college graduates.

5. Vocational careers maximize employment opportunities post-Covid-19

Even though coronavirus caused mass unemployment, some industries flourished. Career technology training can make you a highly-skilled, in-demand worker in a post-pandemic world. The vocational certificate shows any potential employer that you have the knowledge, experience, and skills to be an asset in the workforce.

Also, you are more likely to find employment in the field you trained for, rather than having to retrain in a new job.

There are three more reasons why vocational education programs increase your chances of finding a job. These are:

  • Trade schools have professionals who prepare you for interviews.
  • Trade schools actively connect with employers and industry leaders in the field you studied.
  • Vocational schools focus on education in fields that are currently in demand.

Career and Technical Education Post-Covid-19

The impact of Covid-19 on the job market showed how volatile the job market is. Within two months, unemployment skyrocketed from 3.5 percent in February to nearly 15 percent in April. Although many workers are returning to their jobs, others see the need to change careers and look for “recession-proof” employment.

Of course, it’s impossible to predict what happens in the future job market. But getting the right career and technical education can help you “future-proof” your career.

So, what are the top professions to consider? Here are three industries where jobs will likely be in demand in the future:

  • Nursing — Healthcare workers will always be in demand, and never more so than during a pandemic. Vocational schools offer programs in many health-related careers. Some examples are nursing assistants, medical billing, physical therapy, and pharmacy assistants.
  • Information technology (IT) — More people are working from home. Due to this, there will be tremendous growth in the IT sector. Vocational programs in IT include programming, database specialists, web design, and IT security.
  • Education — During the pandemic, many unemployed professional workers found they could retrain as educators. If you have experience in a specific field, you could explore opportunities to get a vocational certificate as a qualified teacher.

Career and Technical Education: A Takeaway

If you got laid off due to Covid-19, career and technical education could be your answer to finding a new job. Vocational careers offer many opportunities for high-paying jobs during and beyond the pandemic. Now is the time to plan your future career and get an education that secures employment despite uncertain times.