Can I Go to College if I Take Vo-Tech Classes in High School?

Although high school vocational training programs often help to prepare students for careers immediately after graduation, some graduates plan to attend college after vocational training. The concept of vocational training programs where students learn valuable trade skills is not a new one. However, improved teaching methods and the variety of available programs at many of the schools have increased the popularity of vocational training for many high school students and their parents. Besides learning a particular trade, these students gain experiential learning opportunities that can help them to do well in certain college disciplines. Here are examples of three common vocational training programs that can give high school students a head start on understanding academic concepts taught in college and university programs.

Vocational Computer Repair Classes and College Computer Engineering Programs

University level computer engineering programs instruct students on the intricacies of designing and developing computing systems that include its hardware and software. Hardware engineering is often the main focus of many of these programs as future software engineers normally major in computer science. A large percentage of these university students’ time is spent in laboratory environments building computers from the ground up and participating in troubleshooting and repair exercises. These are some of the same activities that are performed by high school students who take vocational classes in computer repair. These students learn troubleshooting techniques for both personal computers and Apple machines. They learn about the technology that drives Apple iPhone and other smart computing and communication devices. Students are also exposed to artificial intelligence concepts and have opportunities to design robots.

Vocational Computer Aided Design Classes and University Architecture Programs

University level architecture courses introduce students to design concepts that fulfill functional and aesthetic requirements for today’s structures. These students are taught to communicate their designs via drawings done by hand and computer aided drafting (CAD) software. High school students who already know how to design using computerized design tools have a distinctive advantage when they enroll in intensive, five year undergraduate architecture degree programs. Some of the courses taken by university architecture majors are green building design, construction methods and CAD for architecture.

Vocational Culinary Arts Classes and College Hospitality Management Programs

The hospitality industry is on the fast track when it comes to the number and types of careers available globally. College and university students who want to take advantage of these career opportunities often major in hospitality management with a specialization in culinary arts. While the hospitality management courses introduce them to the industry specific management concepts that they will need to hold leadership positions, the specialization courses in culinary arts teach them tangible skills that they can use to work for others or for themselves. High school students who take culinary arts in vocational programs can either continue to expand their knowledge of the subject or take other specializations within the hospitality management major while earning their college degree.


Vocational training programs can provide ideal stepping stones for both trade related jobs and college level course work. The effectiveness of this career strategy depends on the type of degree programs that one chooses to pursue at the college and university levels. In fact, some high school vocational programs have technical preparation agreements in place with local community colleges that allow college bound students to gain degree credits for college after vocational training once the student is accepted into college.