As hundreds of thousands of high school students just graduated this summer, they are likely contemplating which path they should take to embark on a rewarding and challenging career. Most high school graduates are expected to enroll at a 4-year institution, as college graduates traditionally earn more than their non-college attending peers. However, a college education is not the only way to land a high-paying job.

Over the last decades, the American educational system has pushed college degrees as a one-size-fits-all solution to a successful career. In comparison, trade schools and vocational careers have been rather regarded as consolation prizes for the “less gifted”.

This line of thinking has contributed to an oversupply of highly educated college graduates and a shortage of trained young skilled-trades workers in this country. Furthermore, it has pushed high school graduates down the college path even if that route doesn’t suit their skills set well, resulting in high drop-out numbers.

As these issues have become more apparent, vocational training schools have been gaining popularity among those who look for a fast track to a lucrative career. Vocational training is not only a great option for high school students, it’s also a promising opportunity for adult students who seek to advance in their current career or change careers completely.

Here are 4 reasons why vocational training schools are getting more popular:

Quick Education

Tulsa Welding School emphasizes how rapidly you can complete vocational program, as you only need a diploma or certificate.

You can learn the specific skills–including computer programming from bootcamps like HackReactor– for your occupation within a short period of time and can quickly enter the workforce where you can make up to $60,000 in some areas. As matter of fact, some programs take as little as six month, while others take only one or two years to complete.

Flexibility

Vocational training programs are often more flexible than traditional 4-year college programs. There’s a plethora of campuses across the country, and many offer multiple program start times.

They also provide you with the opportunity to attend part-time or in the evenings. Some even offer programs entirely online if your lifestyle or personal commitments demand you to stay at home.

Hands-On Training

Typically, vocational training programs combine classroom lectures with practical training. You can usually also gain work experience via externships and/or apprenticeships at off-campus facilities or prospective employers.

This allows you to apply your classroom and textbook acquired knowledge to a real-world work environment. In addition, you’re instructed by experienced and knowledgeable professionals who help you hone your skills.

High Demand

As mentioned above, there’s a very high demand for skilled-trades workers right now in this country. More than half of American skilled-trades workers are past age 45, according to the EMSI, and retiring soon.

This gap between the skills that employers look for and available workers have is expected to only increase more over the next years. This is especially true for skilled-trades careers in emerging industries like solar energy production, for example.

For many industries in fact, vocational training schools are helping to educate an entire new generation of workers to perform jobs that might otherwise be outsourced due to a lack of employable candidates.