Vocational schools standing out as a path to a viable career

When 529 plan advocates encourage saving for higher education, they usually mean saving for college or university expenses. Vocational schools often—maybe too often—get overlooked.

That’s right. Vocational schools, which are experiencing big spikes in enrollment with their promise of well-paying careers, may be eligible educational institutions where 529 funds can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

About 29 million jobs pay between $35,000 and $75,000 a year for workers without bachelor’s degrees, according to a joint study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and educational consultant Civic Enterprises.

The study found that career and technical education (CTE) jobs have largely shifted from blue-collar occupations to white-collar and health care fields.

“For both men and women, the best CTE jobs are in sub-baccalaureate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health care, where over 80 percent of jobs pay middle-class wages,” according to the study’s authors.

The study contends that the nation’s career and technical education system, which includes vocational schools, “is the missing middle ground in American education and workforce preparation.”

Today, postsecondary certificates are the second most common higher educational achievement award after the bachelor’s degree, exceeding associate and master’s degrees, according to the study. About 1 million postsecondary certificates are awarded each year.

For more information about 529 plans, visit my529.org or call 800.418.2551.