Basics of professional training colleges 01

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Basics of professional training colleges 01

Professional Training Colleges are Specialized Training Colleges with Specialized Courses

  • POINT1Professional training colleges are specialized training colleges (shown in red) that offer specialized courses and require an entrance qualification of graduation from high school or similar academic achievement.
  • POINT2The prefectural governor's authorization is required to establish a private specialized training college. Schools without this authorization cannot call themselves "professional training colleges."

Minimum requirements for establishment

  • Term of study: one year or longer
  • School hours must be no shorter than those set forth by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
  • Minimum number of students: forty on a regular basis

Note : There are detailed requirements for establishing specialized training colleges related to aspects such as lesson content, teaching staff qualifications, facilities and equipment of school buildings, etc.

Japan's educational system and professional training colleges

Japan’s educational system and professional training colleges

Note : In addition to specialized courses, specialized training colleges include upper secondary courses (upper secondary specialized training schools), with a required minimum entrance qualification of graduation from junior high school as well as general courses requiring no particular entrance qualification.

Number of Professional Training Colleges and Students

Over 2,800 Professional Training Colleges in Japan

Japan boasts 2,823 professional training colleges with a total student body of 588,000 students. Tokyo hosts 357 of these institutions, with approximately 133,000 students attending their classes.
Comparing the nationwide data on these professional training colleges with data on universities, the former have just one-fourth the number of students, mostly due to the difference in length of study. However, there are 3.6 times more training colleges than universities. These institutions also range from small schools offering just a single course to large ones offering programs that cover multiple fields. Each of these colleges provides a unique education that maximizes its particular strengths and features.

Comparison of the numbers of professional training colleges and universities and their respective students (nationwide and Tokyo)

Comparison of the numbers of professional training colleges and universities and their respective students (nationwide and Tokyo)

(From the 2015 basic survey of schools by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology [MEXT])

Differences between professional training colleges and nonaccredited schools

Beware of similar schools that have not received accreditation as professional training colleges

Walking around town, you will often see small schools that have put up signs that say "XX Professional Academy," "YY Specialty School" or something similar to those of professional training colleges. Caution is required, because some of them have not been accredited to operate as schools and include nonaccredited educational facilities. People who graduate from these unlicensed educational facilities are not considered to have had formal academic training. They cannot apply for student discounts for transportation, nor are they eligible for official scholarships. They also cannot receive various types of student benefits, so please make sure that you do not mistake them for professional training colleges.

Professional training colleges and nonaccredited schools differ in these aspects!

Professional training colleges and nonaccredited schools differ in these aspects!

Degrees upon Graduation

Degrees such as diplomas and advanced
diplomas are conferred upon course completion.

Bachelor’s degrees are conferred upon graduation from universities, while associate degrees are conferred after graduation from junior colleges. Similarly, a diploma is conferred upon completion of a course1 of two or more years at a professional training college, and an advanced diploma for a course2 of four or more years.

  • 1 A total of 1,700 class/credit hours or more (62 or more credits in the case of programs that employ credits) with examinations to authorize graduation are the requirements for accreditation.
  • 2 A total of 3,400 class/credit hours or more (124 or more credits in the case of programs that employ credits) organized into systematic training courses with examinations to authorize graduation are the requirements for accreditation.

Degrees conferred upon the completion of a professional training college course and upon graduation from a university or junior college

Degrees conferred upon the completion of a professional training college course and upon graduation from a university or junior college

Admission to university, Enrollment in graduate school

It is also possible to gain admission to university or enrollment in graduate school from a professional training college

Students that complete courses of two years or longer are eligible to take the admission examinations of universities. However, since the curriculums of professional training colleges differ from those of universities, the university accepting the student will decide the year of admission the student is assigned by evaluating contents of the courses taken at his/her school. Students that have completed courses of four years or longer and earned an advanced diploma are eligible to take the admission examinations of graduate schools.
Students eager to learn in greater depth about what they have studied at professional training colleges or who intend to obtain licenses to teach at junior high schools or senior high schools advance to universities or graduate schools. Some continue to study for further career advancement even after they have found employment. Opportunities for further study are wide open to graduates of professional training colleges.

Main faculties that admit graduates of professional training colleges and the number of students

Main faculties that admit graduates of professional training colleges and the number of students

Many Students with Different Backgrounds Study at Professional Training Colleges

A survey of students entering professional training colleges in Tokyo in April 2015 found that 64.8 percent—or roughly two in three people—had just graduated from senior high school. Others were entering these colleges after graduating/leaving other schools such as junior colleges and universities, students who had worked for some time after graduating from senior high schools, and international students. These groups accounted for 7 to 11 percent of the total, respectively.
Professional training colleges offer forums where people of different ages and nationalities can study together toward common goals.

Breakdown of students entering professional training colleges in Tokyo in April 2015

Breakdown of students entering professional training colleges in Tokyo in April 2015

Features of education of professional training colleges

Terms of Study from One to Four Years — Offering Efficient Curricula for Achieving Goals

The terms of study at professional training colleges range from one to four years, and a variety of courses are offered. Two-year courses are standard, but in the medical and welfare fields three-year courses are more common, allowing students to obtain relevant national qualifications. In addition, just as at universities, there are four-year courses for various fields to enable students to fully absorb the specialized subjects of their choice.
Credit-based courses with no set terms of study and correspondence courses are acknowledged as regular professional training college courses, meeting the needs of people who wish to study while continuing to work.

Thoroughly Study Specialized Subjects, and Receive Practical Training and General Education in Inventive Ways

The most attractive feature of professional training colleges is that they are packed with lessons for different specialized fields. Roughly 80 percent of the lessons are devoted to lectures and practical training of special subjects. Practical lessons and skills training are the most enjoyable hours for every student. Lessons using facilities and equipment equivalent to what professionals use always keep student motivation high. General education courses and those designed to develop communication abilities are also incorporated as part of the programs that help students to find employment. Imaginatively designed course materials link these courses with special subjects and promoting efficient learning.

Professional Teachers with Ample Working Experience

Many of the dedicated teachers at professional training colleges have solid career experience, and many colleges employ leading professionals from various fields as part-time instructors. Classes where teachers relate interesting stories about various industries are a huge incentive to students. Particularly in courses officially designated as special programs for vocational training, these active professionals often get involved in curriculum development, holding classes and evaluating the performance of students. The practical education provided reflects and addresses the fresh needs of relevant industries.

Internships and Collaborations with Companies Improve Practical Skills

The best way to test lesson effectiveness is to actually work in the real world. Quite a few courses therefore incorporate internship arrangements with companies, and industry-academy collaborations that utilize company projects as teaching materials are common. For example, students develop products and draw up sales plans for them, and take part in various events. These programs help students understand how what they have studied in classes is used in actual working situations, provide firsthand knowledge on what is missing, and offer added motivation for learning. At the same time, the programs reduce the number of mismatches when students begin looking for jobs.