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What is BOCES and Is It For You?

What is BOCES and Is It For You?

Education is a powerful tool that you can use to change your life. It is not only a valuable asset to have that can increase your earning potential by helping you to develop more employment opportunities, but it can also improve your problem-solving skills. Unfortunately, getting an education can be a challenge that many may not be able to overcome: from dealing with the stressful application criteria and waiting for your acceptance letter to having to worry about passing exams. While some people may find the prospect of traditional learning institutions exciting, others are better suited to follow less traditional approaches such as vocational education to pursue their dreams. Getting an education when you are an adult may seem like a potentially overwhelming experience, but vocational educational training makes it easier for people to further their careers and gain their confidence through a more hands-on approach to learning. The skills that students learn are an effective tool for learning more about how different aspects of their lives can intersect. Some of the institutions that offer vocational educational training programs allow incarcerated individuals to enroll, allowing them the opportunity to improve their lives and obtain college credits. The Boards of Cooperative Educational Services or commonly known as BOCES is an exceptional example of how vocational education is an adequate choice that is cost-efficient for individuals who wish to further their education and specialize in an industry of their choice.

What is BOCES?

The Boards of Cooperative Educational Services was founded in 1948 by the New York Legislature to provide educational programs and services that are shared with the state to school districts including colleges and community agencies. Since its inception, BOCES has adapted to the ever-changing nature of educational programs by incorporating cost-conscious and suitable programs to continue meeting the educational needs of students. Its main aim is to enrich the lives of the students it serves through instruction. It is an ideal option to cater to individuals who find conventional school settings a challenge to thrive in. The programs that they offer have also improved the lives of incarcerated youth and turned their lives around. This phenomenal services provider advocates for diversity and does not discriminate against any classes of students from accessing opportunities. If you would like to find out more about this revolutionary program that offers both career and technical education, then keep on reading this article to learn about the different types of programs that are offered.

The program offered by BOCES is focused on producing skills and training that will be efficient for the various clusters of careers that are available. To curb issues relating to affordability for these students, the programs are shared economically with school districts to ensure that the programs are affordable. The programs are instructional and practical such as career and technical programs that are designed to cater to the needs of high school students, services for students that have disabilities, various literacy and employment programs and training for young adults, professional development, and instructional technology as well as regional summer school. Moreover, the school districts obtain funding from the state in the form of BOCES aid to ensure that the program maintains its cost-effectiveness. Other instruction support services are designed to assist the school districts to manage their costs such as bus maintenance and transportation services, school lunch coordination as well as regional information centers providing administrative technology solutions and support.

Types of Programs Offered

The following are just some of the many BOCES vocational programs that they offer and what they are all about.

Arts and Humanities

This is an ideal program for creative students who want to learn more and improve their art skills. With a wide range of conventional and computer-based art, this program offers students the opportunity to learn about different things from animation design to fashion design technology and merchandising where you can learn about vertical blinds and how to create them. The students are given a platform to showcase their work to audiences and use models to exhibit their completed work. Art and humanities are crucial to learning more about the evolution of man over time, so when students choose to study a course that is offered under this diverse program then they can facilitate their intercultural development and learn a significant tool towards creating a more engaged life. Other important life skills that they can acquire are the ability to critically analyze situations and to act creatively to ensure their success and adaptability in a constantly changing world.

Engineering Technologies

With this program students can learn comprehensive practical skills and methods from a range of courses that teach them things such as how to conduct and maintain electrical repairs, fixing up heavy machinery by teaching them about how a forklift repair is different from other equipment for instance and other auto repair services that they can perform for real-life customers. Other instructional and practical courses under this program include handling boilers, being a certified commercial plumber, a glass contractor, and other contract services. The courses that are offered can be integrated with the environment that students are exposed to and they can provide them the necessary tools to improve their lives. For instance, the students that choose to study construction are trained as building maintenance workers and have to obtain an Occupational Health and Safety Administration card that is the same as the ones that are used by workers in larger construction sites. They can work as plumbers or flooring contractors and learn different ways for gravel delivery to ensure quality despite varied weather conditions. Those that work with auto repair services are equipped with crucial concepts such as making customers pay cash for cars that they learn to fix while studying. A student studying towards being a commercial plumber works with pipes and fittings to conduct plumbing repair and maintenance. These students gain critical skills and learn practical lessons of what being a skilled worker encompasses. The duration of the construction course is one year thereafter students can work on construction sites and include the experience from their vocational training program in their resumes.

Human and Public Services

If you are having trouble with developing the skills needed to enter professions that deal with caring for children and adults, then this program is an ideal choice to harness your passion for people. This course is important for teaching students about the intersectionality of social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development in human life. Most of the courses that are offered encourage students to partake in discussions and activities aimed at improving their skills by demonstrating what they should do and other valuable aspects of customer care and engagement. The benefit of taking courses such as Child Care Skills is that you will be taught essential methods for developing an exceptional resume to help you to receive a job as soon as you are done with your studies.

Business/Information Services

You would be surprised to find out how many people who work in an office environment lack the training and skills required to handle the environment and to develop professional relationships with their colleagues and customers. If you would like to brush up on your Microsoft Skills, improve telephone etiquette as well as have a better understanding of workplace ethics in Retail or as an Office Assistant then this is the most adequate program to cater to your needs. You will learn more about formatting business letters, learn easier ways to compute inventory and Excel payroll spreadsheets as well as transferable skills such as time management that are important for career progression

Health Services

Under this program, students learn important skills that are required to assist in different phases of different health departments from dentistry to becoming a physical therapy aide. In some courses such as dentistry, the students get involved with procedures and complete clinical rotations. The experience is hands-on to ensure that students develop to the best of their abilities to adequately prepare them for going into practice and facing challenges with real-life patients. The various health care skills-focused courses enable students to prepare themselves for entry-level jobs in several health-related occupations. If students want to further their studies so that they can work in licensed entry jobs and improve their earning potential, they may attend a post-secondary institution or a college.

Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Students with a passion for botany and zoology get to explore career options with this program. With several animal and plant skills courses covering the handling and monitoring of domestic and exotic animals and plants as well as horticulture and landscape design, the students are provided with entry-level skills that are essential for progressing in more complex industries. There are various tools and laboratory-based activities and assignments that ensure they learn how to investigate different situations and to come up with effective solutions to improve the lives of the animals and plants that they take care of during their studies. Moreover, they learn business-focused strategies such as farm management to motivate them towards being entrepreneurs who understand key business concepts and ways to alleviate risks.

The Administration of BOCES

District Superintendents are elected as chief executive officers for individual BOCES and serve as a representative of that particular district or region and they resolve most of the issues that affect that District. Their duties are not limited to but include the following.

Liaison Services – This role requires communication between the New York State Education Department, local districts, and any public or private agencies to be effectively facilitated at all times.

Superintendent Searches – The District Superintendent can be consulted for recruitment or evaluation of prospective school superintendents.

Consultant Services – The District Superintendent can consult with the school districts on various educational topics such as the management and planning process, reorganization and potential mergers, school boundaries and regulations as well as other acceptable topics.

Support and Services

There are currently twelve Regional Information Centres based in the state of New York that offers services and tools that are essential to providing support to enable students to optimize their achievements and succeed in their respective careers. The focus of these centers is the servicing of technologies and software development that is crucial for maintaining optimum performance in functional areas such as data analysis, administrative systems, technical support, and the integration of different technologies. Having the information centers in one region allows them to expand on the technology services that they offer and they can reach and offer their services even to smaller school districts that are further from the city.


BOCES is determined to maintain its program offering to young people who come from disadvantaged communities and are not able to afford the tuition fees for traditional institutions of learning or those that prefer to shorten their freshman year at college by studying a short specialist course at a vocational educational institution. The general period of length for the completion of many of their programs is two years, however, you need to find out from a center near your district if there are any requirements that students need to meet before enrolling. Adult education has its challenges but the benefits are many and gaining your training at a BOCES center has many advantages. One of these advantages is gaining skills that are essential for career progression in both conventional and complex industries. The benefit of gaining experience while you are still studying is that it makes getting hired easier when compared with someone who went to a college and did not acquire practical training and it saves prospective managers time when they need to facilitate training for new employees.

The Takeaway

If you are having trouble with choosing the right educational program or you want to find out more about the educational programs that BOCES offers and how their fees are structured, then you should give them a call or head over to their website www.boces.org to find out more information.

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