Why Choose a Career & Technical Education Center
Traditional university education not the right fit? Career and technical education centers prepare individuals for jobs that don’t necessarily require an advanced degree.

A university education is not for everyone—and it’s not necessary for everyone. Some students don’t want to spend another four years in school, others only want to concentrate on one subject, and still others don’t want to incur the expense that comes along with a bachelor’s degree.

The good news is, there are alternatives that can help students get a good education and prepare for the workforce without devoting four more years to school or potentially incurring massive debt.


Career and Technical Education Centers (CTEs)

CTEs are a great alternative to traditional universities. Places like Carver Career and Technical Education Center and Garnet Career Center are just two of over 30 schools and centers in West Virginia. These centers, sometimes called vocational schools, are for secondary and adult learners.

CTEs prepare individuals for jobs that have requirements other than a baccalaureate or an advanced degree. These centers train recent high school graduates as well as adult learners for careers in automotive technology, cosmetology, cybersecurity, nursing, surgery technology and veterinary technology. CTEs have open enrollment, so anyone who applies is eligible as long as he or she has a high school diploma or a GED.

As Carver says on its website, its purpose is to “provide certificate and short term education programs” that are designed to prepare students for employment, career advancement, or continued education as well as assisting employers in meeting their employment and training needs.

Each center offers different programs, so students who are interested in this kind of education should do their research. Some CTEs, like BridgeValley Community & Technical College, combine the best of both worlds by offering subject specific certificate degrees and two-year associate degrees.

I had a schoolteacher who worked part time for me at my tutoring business to make ends meet. After her significant other was injured in an accident and she nursed him back to health, I suggested that she consider going back to school to become a registered nurse. She did end up attending and graduating from BridgeValley and now she’s working at a local medical center making three times what she earned before.

I lost a great tutor, but West Virginia gained an A-plus nurse. That’s the power of school.

Jamie Dickenson portrait

Independent Educational Consultant specializing in college admissions and financial aid, motivational speaker, business coach and owner of Jamie Dickenson, LLC., IEC Advisors, and Yoga Power, LLC

Jamie Dickenson is not affiliated with Hartford Funds. Hartford Funds has separately contracted with Ms. Dickenson to provide additional insight about college savings issues.