*(J) Written in Japanese

Professional training colleges

Basic Knowledge of Professional Training Colleges 01

Professional Training Colleges Project a Strong Presence in an Age That Demands “Zest for Life”

Today, more than 70 percent of high school graduates go on to higher education. While the rate of advancement to universities increases, the number of students who decide to go to professional training colleges to acquire the skills they’ll need in their chosen field has also increased 16–17 percent in the last few years. The overall decline in the level of some universities’ academics as they ease their admissions standards has become a problem in recent years. In addition, an increasing number of people entering universities do so without a clear goal, believing that simply entering a school will help them get a job. At the same time, many universities are having a hard time helping students struggling with university life and finding employment. These are some of the reasons vocational education, which had been neglected within Japan’s education system, has received renewed attention. With their proven track record of developing students able to function as members of society by providing them with a practical education, professional training colleges now have a distinct presence within the higher education system.

Career Paths for New High School Graduates (AY2002–2016)


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Diploma and Advanced Diploma

Similar to how individuals who graduate from universities receive bachelor’s degrees, those who complete professional training college courses of two years or longer receive a diploma, while those who complete courses of four years or longer receive advanced diplomas. Earning an advanced diploma qualifies an individual to apply for graduate school.

Increase your employability at a professional training college after university graduation!

According to MEXT’s FY2016 Basic School Survey, approximately 17,000 university and junior college graduates entered professional training colleges. Some of these are people with real-world work experience, but according to Tosenkaku’s own annual survey, more than 10 percent of people who enter professional training colleges do so via universities and other higher education institutes.
The reason that university graduates go to study at professional training colleges is, of course, to enhance their career prospects, and most of them do so for reasons such as acquiring qualifications or gaining specialized skills and knowledge. Some people enter professional training colleges to make a comeback, saying things like “I lost sight of myself in university” or “I got a part-time job after graduation because I didn’t get an offer from the company I wanted to work at.” Some even say “I really wanted to go to a professional training college after high school, but the people around me convinced me to go to university instead.” Professional training colleges are places where people of all ages and educational backgrounds can learn once they’ve set a goal.


High School Graduates, University Graduates, Working Adults, and International Students

Professional training colleges are not just for new high school graduates. Rather, they provide diverse people with education that meets their various needs, whether they are university and junior college graduates looking to gain qualifications and skills to improve their employability, experienced career people looking to change tracks or further their career, or international students from abroad looking to learn about Japan’s advanced technology.

The Difference Between Professional Training Colleges and Unaccredited Schools

Professional training colleges are established after receiving the approval of prefectural governors.

Be careful not to mistake unaccredited schools with professional training colleges!

Article 124 of the School Education Act covers professional training colleges, which can only be established after receiving the approval of the relevant prefectural governor. Students and graduates of schools that engage in specialized vocational education without a public license—so-called unaccredited education facilities—are handled differently from those of professional training colleges (see chart), so please be careful not to confuse them when selecting a school.

The Difference Between Professional Training Colleges and Unaccredited Schools


Postgraduate Degrees

After completing a course, you will receive a diploma or advanced diploma.

When someone graduates from a university, they receive a bachelor’s degree, while junior college graduates receive an associate degree. In the same way, those who complete professional training college courses of two years or longer※1 receive a diploma, while those who complete courses of four years or longer※2 receive an advanced diploma.

  • ※1:Approval for a diploma requires taking 1,700 total class credit hours or more (or 62 credits or more in the case of a credit system), passing exams, etc.
  • ※2:Approval for an advanced diploma requires taking 3,400 total class credit hours or more (or 124 credits or more in the case of a credit system) as part of a systematic curriculum, passing exams, etc.

Degrees Issued by Professional Training Colleges and Degrees Issued by Universities and Junior College


A Diverse Range of People Study at Professional Training Colleges

Looking at the academic backgrounds of people who entered professional training colleges in Tokyo in April 2016, we see that 67.8 percent—more than two-thirds—are new high school graduates. There were also students who had attended other universities, junior colleges and other schools, and students who gained real-world experience after high school graduation. International students from overseas accounted for 13.4 percent of new students.
Professional training colleges are places where people of all ages and nationalities can come together and study toward their own goals.

New Tokyo Professional Training Colleges Students by Academic Background April 2016


Meticulous Goal-Oriented Curricula and Empathetic Guidance for Each Student

Their overall high job placement rate is not the only reason professional training colleges are considered so strong regarding job placement. The fact that more than 90 percent of professional training colleges graduates who find employment find jobs in relevant fields is likely thanks to the educational guidance these schools provide.
In fields such as medicine, health and hygiene, education and social welfare that require a national qualification, professional training colleges have maintained rates of close to 100 percent every year, showing the strength of highly marketable job fields.
Professional training colleges have made this a reality by doing their utmost during career counseling to match student desires and aptitudes with employers.

Meticulous Support from Admission to Graduation

These days, university students tend to rely on Internet sites when searching for jobs. The majority of students handle every part of the job search process, from gathering information on companies to submitting applications. By comparison, professional training colleges orchestrate most of the job search process for students, ensuring that they can efficiently look for work while concentrating on their classes. One major trait of the career counseling professional training colleges provide is the close collaboration between their dedicated career counseling staff members, homeroom teachers and other relevant parties. Having homeroom teachers familiar with the students and staff members who are knowledgeable about company’s employment information work together helps students select the company that meets both their desires and aptitudes. Many schools have full-time career counselors that provide students advice on a range of concerns. In addition, schools also provide in-depth support to students looking to find employment in their hometowns, as well as to international students who wish to work in Japan. These schools have established robust systems for providing students with guidance, with some schools even providing their graduates with advice on changing careers and reemployment.


Percentage of Students Who Found Employment in Relevant Fields


Career Guidance

Career guidance begins in the first year soon after admission. The first step is ensuring that students are ready for employment. Afterward, seminars on topics such as how to research companies and how to proceed with job-hunting are held periodically, to offer a curriculum that helps motivate students to find work. Instruction is also given about the proper use of employment websites, which have become indispensable.

Internship Programs

Internship programs allow students to gain practical experience by actually working at companies and businesses. The specific terminology used to refer to these programs—as well as their length, timing and implementation—differ for each school. These programs may be optional, or they may be a mandatory part of the curriculum.


Many professional training colleges have implemented homeroom systems that allow students to receive career advice from their homeroom teachers on a daily basis. By having homeroom teachers and career counselors collaborate and share information, students are able to ask questions and get advice.

Industry Seminar

HR managers and alumni working on the front lines of industry are invited to these seminars to tell students about the latest industrial trends and employment information. Novel talks about specific industries arouse students’ attention and help them get a concrete picture of what the employment process will be like.

Individual Interviews

During individual interviews, career counselors search through job advertisements to find employers that match the desires and aptitudes of each student and provide the student with detailed advice. Many schools have created an environment that allows students to receive face-to-face help whenever they need it by assigning full-time staff members to career counseling offices and career centers.

Post-Graduation Support

In addition to career counselors and homeroom teachers, professional training colleges have qualified career counselors. These specialists provide students with wide-ranging advice on topics ranging from difficulties finding a job to life planning. Some schools have even established special counseling offices to provide consultation to students who find it difficult to talk with faculty members.

Company Information Sessions

Professional training colleges organize company information sessions to which they invite multiple companies, especially those that have previously hired students from that school. Since these events attract companies that want to hire students from that school, it is easy for both the students and the companies to promote themselves. It also gives students an efficient way to interview with the HR managers of these companies.

Practice Tests and Interviews

Students get instruction on resume writing, seminars and practice tests to prepare them for the SPI tests, general knowledge tests and essay tests many companies use. Interview preparation takes many forms, including individual and group interviews, discussion-type interviews, and more.

Career Counseling

Even after students successfully find jobs and graduate, professional training colleges provide their alumni with advice on changing jobs and reemployment. In addition, schools with strong alumni associations and other graduate networks conduct active exchanges through their members’ work. Some schools also organize career advancement seminars aimed at working adults.