Vocational vs. Higher Education: Which One Should You Go For?

By Lumify Learn Team  |  November 7, 2023

Picture this: you stand at the crossroads of your educational journey, armed with ambitions and dreams, ready to take the next step towards your future that’s filled with possibilities. But there’s a dilemma on your mind: should you go for the tried-and-tested path of higher education, or set foot into the world of vocational training?

In this guide, we’ll take a deep look at each option and explore their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision that better aligns with your goals and aspirations.

What is Higher Education?

Higher education refers to the level of education that follows the completion of secondary education, usually provided by universities, colleges, and other academic institutions. This type of education typically leads to the awarding of a bachelor's degree, master’s degree, or doctoral degree, depending on the field of study and duration.

Higher education is characterised by its emphasis on academic and theoretical knowledge. Within this realm, you're encouraged to explore ideas, theories, and concepts in-depth. This educational setting fosters critical thinking, research skills, and academic integrity.

In addition to this, higher education provides access to a wide range of academic disciplines, ranging from mathematics to philosophy, biology to literature, and countless others. Here, you can pursue degrees like Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and more, which allow you to immerse yourself in your chosen area of interest.

What are the Pros and Cons of Higher Education?


  • Broader academic knowledge: Higher education opens the door to a more comprehensive understanding of the world. It allows you to delve deep into academic and theoretical knowledge across a wide array of subjects, thus fostering a well-rounded education.

  • Opportunities for innovation and research: Within higher education, you have the chance to engage in research and innovation. The intellectual environment encourages critical thinking and exploration, paving the way for new discoveries and advancements in various fields.

  • Potential for higher earnings: Higher education graduates can earn more over their lifetime compared to those without degrees. This can be a significant advantage in terms of financial stability and career opportunities.


  • Longer study duration: Bachelor’s programs typically take three to four years, while master’s programs require an additional one to two years. This can delay your entry into the workforce.

  • Potentially higher costs: Pursuing higher education can come with a substantial financial burden, as tuition fees, textbooks, and living expenses can accumulate, which can result in student loans or debt. While there are scholarships and financial aid available, the cost can still be a significant drawback.

  • Less immediate job readiness: Because higher education focuses on academic and theoretical knowledge, this might not align with the immediate needs of the job market. Graduates may require additional training or experience to become job-ready, leading to a longer transition from education to employment.

What is Vocational Education?

Also known as technical education, vocational education is a more practical and hands-on learning approach. It focuses on skill development and practical application and aims to prepare students for immediate entry into the workforce, giving them the necessary tools to perform specific job functions efficiently. These programs are often tailored to meet the demands of industries that require skilled workers, such as healthcare, automotive repair, construction, culinary arts, and information technology.

Vocational education can be obtained through community colleges, trade schools, and specialised training centres (like Lumify Learn). Instead of earning traditional degrees, individuals typically receive certifications, diplomas, or licenses upon completion of vocational programs.

What are the Pros and Cons of Vocational Education?


  • Shorter duration: Vocational programs are normally shorter in duration compared to traditional higher education (Some of Lumify Learn’s courses can in fact be completed in just a couple of months). This allows you to enter the workforce more quickly.

  • Job readiness: Vocational educational programs are designed to make you job-ready. They provide the skills and knowledge that employers look for, thus increasing your chances of securing employment shortly after completing your program.

  • Cost-effective: This type of education is more affordable than pursuing a college degree. This can lead to lower educational expenses and potentially less student debt.


  • Limited academic exposure: Vocational education focuses primarily on practical skills, which means you may have less exposure to academic subjects.

  • Limited career advancement: While vocational education can lead to immediate employment, some professions may have limited opportunities for career advancement without further education or training.

  • Specialised focus: Vocational education is highly specialised, and changing careers or industries may require additional training or education. If you're uncertain about your long-term career goals, a vocational program may limit your flexibility.

How to Choose Between Vocational Education and Higher Education

You need to consider some factors when deciding between higher education and vocational education. These include:

  • Career Goals: Begin by identifying your long-term career objectives. Determine if your chosen field requires a degree or if practical skills are more valued. This will help guide your decision.

  • Learning Style: Consider your preferred learning style. Are you more inclined toward academic and theoretical knowledge, or do you thrive in hands-on, practical settings?

  • Duration: Assess the time you are willing to invest in your education. Higher education often requires more years of study, while vocational training can lead to quicker entry into the workforce.

  • Financial situation: Evaluate your financial resources and determine the cost of your chosen path. Scholarships, grants, and loans may be available for higher education, while vocational training might offer more immediate cost benefits.

  • Job market: Research the job market in your chosen field. Some industries may favour higher education, while others prioritise practical skills. Ensure your education aligns with industry demands.

  • Personal passion: Explore your personal interests and passions. Your enthusiasm for a subject can be a powerful motivator, leading to a more fulfilling educational experience.

  • Long-term earnings: Consider your financial prospects in the long run. While higher education may involve higher costs, it can also lead to potentially higher earnings over your career.

Why Not Give Lumify Learn a Try?

If you’re leaning more towards taking vocational training, consider training with us at Lumify Learn. We offer online courses and boot camps that are nationally recognised and vendor-certified in various fields such as website development, cyber security, IT Networking, IT support, and data and AI, among others.

What sets us apart from the competition is our commitment to providing accessible and high-quality education. Our courses are exclusively conducted online, ensuring that you have the flexibility to learn at your own pace and on your schedule. This means you can pursue your education and still have time for your personal commitments.

Our trainers and mentors also offer you guidance in your chosen field. They bring a wealth of real-world experience and knowledge to the classroom, ensuring that your education is both practical and relevant. Their personalised approach to learning also ensures that you not only acquire knowledge but also gain the skills and confidence necessary to excel in your chosen career.

The best part about completing a course with us? You might become eligible for a 33%redit towards a Bachelor IT degree course in selectTier 1 and Tier 2 universities. This means you can save time and money by getting a head start on your degree. You can even join our Lumify Edge program, which will connect you to opportunities on the most in-demand skills today. Whether you want to advance or change your career, Lumify Learn can help you achieve your goals.

Don’t miss the chance to discover your potential in the IT industry and learn how to kickstart your career with our flexible and affordable courses. Download our free ebook today and get ready to shape your future!

Ready to take the next step in your career? Enquire with us on a course today.

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