DEFINITION of 'Vocational Degree'

An educational certificate that specifically prepares an individual to work in a chosen field. By contrast, a college undergraduate degree focuses on developing an individual's all-around intelligence and critical-thinking skills, but may not prepare an individual for a specific job, depending on the major that is chosen. Vocational degrees offer training for careers such as medical coding and billing, auto mechanics, cosmetology, electrical work and legal secretary work, among many others.

BREAKING DOWN 'Vocational Degree'

Sometimes it is possible to get a bachelor's (college undergraduate) degree in a program that is also offered as a vocational degree, but not all vocational degrees can be obtained through a traditional four-year college. For example, it is possible to become a paralegal by completing law school or by completing a paralegal vocational degree, but few, if any, colleges offer bachelor's degrees in cosmetology.

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