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Florida Technical Schools: Launch Yourself into a Trade

Students interested in attending trade schools in Florida find plenty of opportunities. The Sunshine State is a blend of metropolitan areas, industry-centered cities, and small coastal towns where graduates of Florida trade schools find willing employers and career opportunities.

Leading Industries and the Statewide Economy

Florida is facing challenges as it recovers from the effects of a nationwide recession. According to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, the November 2010 unemployment rate was 12 percent. There were 1,110,000 workers out of a job from the state's overall workforce of 9,237,000.

The positive side is that the overall job growth in November 2010 grew half a percent, and that represented an increase of 36,200 jobs. With the growing economy are ground-floor opportunities in recovering industries for those who graduate from Florida technical schools with an associate's degree, diploma, or certificate.

Trade schools in Florida are keenly interested in graduating students who have the technical skills Florida's industries are in need of. The state's leading industries, and the greatest potential of employment growth for those who attend technical schools in Florida, are:

  • Manufacturing facilities of cement, plastics, electronics, medical devices, insecticides, and aviation-related products
  • Aerospace technologies, NASA, and aviation
  • Health care careers in nursing, home health care, and support services
  • Information technology and computer programming
  • Agricultural production of fruit, meat, and farm crops

These industries will be major employers of Florida technical school graduates in the coming decade. Students desiring to enter a new and challenging career or who need to become qualified for advancement within existing careers should consider a trade school education.

Encouraging News for Graduates of Florida Technical Schools

Florida is home to 17,000 manufacturers that employ nearly 324,000 employees, or about 5 percent of the state's workforce. Many of these positions are occupied by graduates of Florida vocational schools.

Notable growth on the state's economic horizon is being seen as PGT Industries hires hundreds of employees in 2011 in Sarasota County to launch its door and window production facilities. BRS Aerospace has begun the production of parachutes in Pompano Beach. Sarasota Medical Products is beefing up its production workforce to manufacture medical devices designed to facilitate advanced wound care, infection control, and ostomy.

Other industry gains are being seen in the professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation, and utilities industries. Many positions within these industries hire trade school graduates.

Florida Technical Schools and Earning Potential

The growth of private and public sector jobs requires a trained workforce in the age of cutting-edge technologies. Representative employment opportunities for Florida trade school graduates include the following careers along with the mean annual wage according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in each career category received in May 2009.

  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, $29,180
  • Aircraft structure, surface, rigging and systems assemblers, $41,680
  • Registered nurses, $62,270
  • Computer programmers, $65,290
  • Farmworkers, laborers, nursery, crop, and greenhouse workers, $20,020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage in May 2009 for all occupations and educational levels was $39,440.

How Vocational Schools in Florida Launch New Careers

Trade schools graduate students with an associate's degree, diploma, or certificate, or a combination of these qualifications, depending on the industry and legal requirements. The associate's degree typically requires two years to complete though some students attend part-time or study via distance learning and take additional time to finish. The length of time needed to complete a diploma or certificate varies considerably, depending on the industry.

Studies are typically campus-based and require classroom attendance, academic testing, and in some cases the successful completion of industry or state-mandated testing. Trade schools emphasize hands-on learning and practical skills as well as theory and knowledge-based accomplishments.

Many trade schools offer career counseling and job placement services to current and graduated students. These services assist students in practical career decision-making and provide job opportunities in local and statewide industries.

Practical Considerations

Financial assistance for earning a trade school education is found in various federal and state financial aid programs based on need and prior educational attainment. Potential and current students should contact the school of their choice to ascertain how to apply and take advantage of financial aid programs. Active duty and reserve military personnel and veterans have several excellent financial aid programs offered directly through the military.

Technical training focuses on practical applications of science, technology, and applicable information systems, rather than on a liberal arts education. Trade schools are the foundation of training that is later continued in the work place as on-the-job training and continued education classes.

Graduates of a technical school in Florida find campus-based schools and employment throughout the state's urban areas in Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami. Students enrolled in online trade schools can study from any location. Trade school graduates with training in aerospace and aviation technologies work primarily for NASA and supporting industries in and around the Kennedy Space Center.