Should I Go to University or a vocational school?

For many years now, the rush for university education in Nigeria has been very enormous. Everyone one wants to earn a university degree. But recently, there seems to be a shift in focus from university degree to Vocational training. For instance, the government is now spending billions of naira on skills acquisition programmes and are even enlightening youths to learn a skill or a trade. Which should you choose-university education of vocational education?

Your choice depends largely on your priorities in life and your financial standing.

Depth of Training

Vocational schools teach you vocational skills that you can directly apply to a job and they don’t require theoretical academic work. For instance, having a vocational degree in fashion makes you a fashion designer.

University education focuses on teaching students critical thinking skills rather than teaching them a vocation. The main goal of universities is to teach students how to analyze, solve problems and to do research. Upon graduation, students may not have a clearly defined career path, but they should be prepared to enter the professional workforce in their field or a related field. For instance, having a university degree in business doesn’t make you a business person.

Length of Training

Vocational programs are relatively short—usually between 6 months to two years–and they offer employment opportunities in practical fields such as fashion, information technology, catering, etc. On the other hand, university education takes a longer time to achieve, at least four years.

Financial Implication

University education tends to be more expensive than vocational schools. A four-year program can cost hundreds of thousands of naira to earn a university degree. But a vocation training program costs by far less thousands of naira.

Job Levels

Graduates of vocational schools usually are in an excellent position to land an entry-level position, while college graduates may have better access to higher-level jobs.


On average, earnings are higher for those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree as opposed to those with degrees or certificates from vocational schools.

Questions worth Asking:

  1. Do you have a specific profession in mind?
  2. If you answer yes to the question above, does this profession require a university degree or is a vocational degree enough?
  3. Are you interested in independent academic research, critical thinking and learning for its own sake?
  4. Do you have what it takes in terms of drive and perseverance to complete a college degree?
  5. What is your financial situation? Can you get financial aid for a college degree?

Both university and vocational schools offer solid educational opportunities and credentials that can prepare you for the job market. The right choice depends on you and your career goals.