High school degree called

Vocational school

Vocational schools were called "technical colleges" in Australia, and there were more than 20 schools specializing in vocational educational training (VET). Only four technical colleges remain, and these are now referred to as "trade colleges". At these colleges, students complete a modified year 12 certificate and commence a school-based apprenticeship in a trade of their choice. There are two trade colleges in Queensland; Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Australian Industry Trade College and one in Adelaide, St Patrick's Technical College, and another in Perth, Australian Trades College.

In Queensland, students can also undertake VET at private and public high schools instead of studying for their overall position (OP), which is a tertiary entrance score. However these students usually undertake more limited vocational education of one day per week whereas in the trade colleges the training is longer.

Vocational schools are sometimes called "colleges" in Canada. However, a college may also refer to an institution that offers part of a university degree, or credits that may be transferred to a university.

In Ontario, secondary schools were separated into three streams: technical schools, commercial or business schools, and collegiates (the academic schools). Those schools still exist; however, the curriculum has changed that no matter which type of school one attends, they can still attend any post-secondary institution and still study a variety of subjects and others (either academic or practical).

In Ontario, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities have divided postsecondary education into universities, community colleges and private career colleges.

In the Province of Quebec, there are some vocational programs offered at institutions called CEGEPs (collège d'enseignement général et professionnel), but these too may function as an introduction to university. Generally, students complete two years at a CEGEP directly out of high school, and then complete three years at a university (rather than the usual four), to earn an undergraduate degree. Alternatively, some CEGEPs offer vocational training, but it is more likely that vocational training will be found at institutions separate from the academic institutions, though they may still be called colleges.

Central and Eastern Europe[edit]

In Central and Eastern Europe, a vocational education is represented in forms of (professional) vocational technical schools often abbreviated as PTU and technical colleges (technikum).

Vocational school (college)

Vocational school or Vocational college ([vyshche] uchylyshche - study school) is considered a post-secondary education type school, but combines coursework of a high school and junior college stretching for six years. In Ukraine, the term is used mostly for sports schools sometimes interchangeably with the term college. Such college could be a separate entity or a branch of bigger university. Successful graduates receive a specialist degree.


PTUs are usually a preparatory vocational education and are equivalent to the general education of the third degree in the former Soviet education, providing a lower level of vocational education (apprenticeship). It could be compared to a trade high school. In the 1920-30s, such PTUs were called schools of factory and plant apprenticeship, and later 1940s - vocational schools. Sometime after 1959, the name PTU was established, however, with the reorganization of the Soviet educational system these vocational schools renamed into lyceums. There were several types of PTUs such as middle city PTU and rural PTU.


Technical college (technicum) is becoming an obsolete term for a college in different parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Technicums provided a middle level of vocational education. Aside of technicums and PTU there also were vocational schools (Russian: Профессиональные училища) that also provided a middle level of vocational education. In 1920-30s Ukraine, technicums were a (technical) vocational institutes, however, during the 1930-32s Soviet educational reform they were degraded in their accreditation.


Institutes were considered a higher level of education; however, unlike universities, they were more oriented to a particular trade. With the reorganization of the Soviet education system, most institutes have been renamed as technical universities.


The Finnish system is divided between vocational and academic paths. Currently about 47 percent of Finnish students at age 16 go to vocational school. The vocational school is a secondary school for ages 16–21, and prepares the students for entering the workforce. The curriculum includes little academic general education, while the practical skills of each trade are stressed. The education is divided into eight main categories with a total of about 50 trades. The basic categories of education are

  • Humanist and educational branch (typical trade: youth- and free-time director)
  • Cultural branch (typical trade: artisan, media-assistant)
  • The branch of social sciences, business and merchandise (typical trade: vocational qualification in business and administration (Finnish: merkonomi))
  • Natural science (typical trade: IT worker (Finnish: datanomi))
  • Technology and traffic (typical trades: machinist, electrician, process worker)
  • The branch of natural resources and environment (typical trade: rural entrepreneur, forest worker)
  • The branch of social work, health care and physical exercise (typical trade: paramedic (Finnish: lähihoitaja))
  • The branch of travel, catering and domestic economics (typical trade: institutional catering worker)

In addition to these categories administered by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior provides vocational education in the security and rescue branch for policemen, prison guards and firefighters.

The vocational schools are usually owned by the municipalities, but in special cases, private or state vocational schools exist. The state grants aid to all vocational schools on the same basis, regardless of the owner. On the other hand, the vocational schools are not allowed to operate for profit. The Ministry of Education issues licences to provide vocational education. In the licence, the municipality or a private entity is given permission to train a yearly quota of students for specific trades. The licence also specifies the area where the school must be located and the languages used in the education.

The vocational school students are selected by the schools on the basis of criteria set by the Ministry of Education. The basic qualification for the study is completed nine-year comprehensive school. Anyone may seek admission in any vocational school regardless of their domicile. In certain trades, bad health or invalidity may be acceptable grounds for refusing admission. The students do not pay tuition and they must be provided with health care and a free daily school lunch. However, the students must pay for the books, although the tools and practice material are provided to the students for free.

In tertiary education, there are higher vocational schools ( which is translated to "polytechnic" or "university of applied sciences"), which give three- to four-year degrees in more involved fields, like engineering (see insinööri (amk)) and nursing.

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