If you are considering a medical career, such as a nursing assistant or a medical biller or coder, there are several academic options that you can choose from. The major choices for students considering a wide range of medical-based careers are career colleges and community colleges. Students may be wondering what the central differences are between these two types of schools. Here is a breakdown of what each of these type of colleges entail.

Community Colleges

It might make more sense if community colleges are first discussed. Community colleges are public, state-run colleges that offer 2-year programs, called associate’s programs, that typically equate to 60 college credits. Community colleges tend to provide a wide gamut of subjects for students to take, including the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, engineering, computer science, and medical-based careers.

All associate’s programs are built around a liberal arts education. So, if you are interested in becoming a nurse assistant, you will be expected to take classes in nursing as well as classes in computer science, business, and the humanities. It should be noted that many community colleges also offer vocational certificates, which are offered at career colleges.

Career Colleges

Career colleges are pre-professional, usually private academic institutions where the student will only take classes related to their specific vocation. Career colleges are designed to meet immediate workforce needs. They provide certificates that verify your expertise in a particular vocation and meet all state educational requirements.

In contrast with other forms of higher education, career colleges do not require general education courses in the liberal arts. For example, say you want to be a clinical or medical assistant. At many career colleges, the vocational program for clinical or medical assistants will be less than 60 college credits and will be focused entirely on the profession. Class examples may include human anatomy, medical terminology, electronic patient records, pharmacology, and office procedures. These courses are only dedicated to the specific job. Since these programs are less than 60 college credits, most students can expect to graduate within less than 2 years. In addition, most courses taught at a career college are being taught by industry professionals who have real-life work experience in the vocational field.

What Works Best For You

Although many people enjoy community college, if you want to jump start your career soon, a career college is your best bet. At a career college, you will learn what you need to know to immediately work in a particular vocation. The amount of classes needed to graduate will also be less compared to an associate’s degree. If you want to enter the medical workforce immediately, consider a career college today.