While the main distinction between technical and vocational education may appear to be purely semantic, it is primarily related to the subjects that each focuses on. Vocational training is a type of education and training that emphasizes practical skills and the ability to perform tasks related to a specific industry. Technical training is similar in nature, but it focuses on technology and computer and digital information advancements. Although both types of training are less academic and more practical, vocational training is more focused on manufacturing and construction, whereas technical training is more computer-oriented.
The distinction between these two types of training is subtle, but significant. Vocational training is more hands-on than academic training, and it focuses on the skills and abilities required to perform a job. Much of this training has been geared toward preparing students for careers in construction, manufacturing, and other skilled labor-intensive fields. Secondary education, such as high school in the United States, and post-secondary education as an alternative to college are both good places to look for this type of training.
Technical training, as opposed to manufacturing-oriented vocational training, usually involves computers and advanced technology. This is the most significant distinction between technical and vocational education, as both emphasize skills and practical ability over academic research or knowledge for its own sake. Technical training has become more important than ever before as a large number of tasks have been automated and increasingly computerized.
The outlook for each type of training in different countries is another significant difference. As manufacturing jobs have largely been outsourced to other countries, a great deal of effort has been expended in countries like the United States to reduce the focus on vocational training in schools. On the other hand, technical training has become increasingly important as more and more jobs require the use of computers for a variety of tasks, and training for such positions has become more specialized. In other countries, however, both types of work have grown in popularity as more construction and manufacturing jobs have opened up alongside computer-based jobs.