Find Employment/Education and Training
Education can open doors for those looking to start a new career or change specialty within their current occupation. This section outlines some major sources of education and training required to enter many occupations.
For information on the specific training and educational requirements for a particular occupation, and what training is typically provided by an employer, consult the Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement section of the appropriate Handbook statement.
Links to non-BLS Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
Four-Year colleges and universities
These institutions provide detailed information on theory and practice for a wide variety of subjects. Colleges and universities can provide one with the knowledge and background necessary to be successful in many fields. They also can help to place students in cooperative education programs often called "co-ops" or internships. Co-ops and internships are short-term jobs with firms related to one's field of study that lead to college credit. In co-ops and internships, students learn the specifics of a job while making valuable contacts that can lead to a permanent position.
For more information on colleges and universities, go to your local library, consult your high school guidance counselor, or contact individual colleges. Also check with your State's higher education agency. A list of these agencies is available on the Internet: http://www.ed.gov/Programs/EROD.
Junior and community colleges
Junior and community colleges offer a mixture of programs that lead to associate degrees and training certificates. Community colleges tend to be less expensive than 4-year colleges and universities. They typically are more willing to accommodate part-time students, and their programs are more tailored to the needs of local employers. Many have an open admissions policy, and often these institutions offer weekend and night classes.
Many community colleges form partnerships with local businesses that allow students to gain job-specific training. For students who may not be able to enroll in a college or university because of their academic record, limited finances, or distance from such an institution, junior or community colleges are often used as a place to earn credits that can be applied toward a degree at a 4-year college. Junior and community colleges also are noted for their extensive role in continuing an adult education.
For more information on junior and community colleges, go to your local library, consult your high school guidance counselor, or contact individual schools. Also check with your State's higher education agency. A list of these agencies is available on the Internet: http://www.ed.gov/Programs/EROD.
Note that many community colleges hire based on enrollment, and may add course sections based on student demand in the weeks immediately before a semester begins. Adjuncts are often contacted immediately prior to the first week of classes, even if they have submitted applications months earlier.
Vocational and trade schools
These institutions train people in specific trades. They offer courses designed to provide hands-on experience. Vocational and trade schools tend to concentrate on trades, services, and other types of skilled work.
Vocational and trade schools frequently engage students in real-world projects, allowing them to apply field methods while learning theory in classrooms. Graduates of vocational and trade schools have an advantage over informally trained or self-trained job seekers because graduates have an independent organization certifying that they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the duties of a particular occupation. These schools also help students to acquire any license or other credentials needed to enter the job market.
For more information on vocational and trade schools, go to your local library, consult your high school guidance counselor, or contact individual schools. Also check with your State's director of vocational-technical education. A list of State directors of vocational-technical education is available on the Internet: http://www.ed.gov/Programs/EROD.
An apprenticeship provides work experience as well as education and training for those entering certain occupations. Apprenticeships are offered by sponsors, who employ and train the apprentice. The apprentice follows a training course under close supervision and receives some formal education to learn the theory related to the job.
Apprenticeships are a way for inexperienced people to become skilled workers. Apprenticeships are an agreement between the apprentice and the sponsor and generally last between 1 and 4 years. Some apprenticeships allow the apprentice to earn an associate degree. An Apprenticeship Completion Certificate is granted to those completing programs. This certificate is administered by federally approved State agencies.
Information on apprenticeships is available from the Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer, and Labor Services on the Internet: http://www.dir.ca.gov/databases/das/aigstart.asp. For assistance finding an apprenticeship program, go to: http://www.electricianprograms.org/electro/apprenticeships-they-are-alive-and-well-and-right-in-your-backyard.html.
Professional societies, trade associations, and labor unions are other useful sources of information. These groups are made up of people with common interests, usually in related occupations or industries. The groups frequently are able to provide training, access to training through their affiliates, or information on acceptable sources of training for their field. If licensing or certification is required, they also may be able to assist you in meeting those requirements.
For a listing of professional societies, trade associations, and labor unions related to an occupation, check the Sources of Additional Information section at the end of that occupational statement in the Handbook.
Employers. Many employers provide on-the-job training. On-the-job training can range from spending a few minutes watching another employee demonstrate a task to participating in formal training programs that may last for several months. In some jobs, employees may continually undergo training to stay up to date with new developments and technologies, or to add new skills.
The United States Armed Forces trains and employs people in more than 4,100 different occupations. For more information, see the Handbook statement on "Job Opportunities in The Armed Forces." For detailed answers to specific questions, contact your local recruiting office. Valuable resources also are available on the Internet: http://www.todaysmilitary.com.