How to Pick the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Enrolling in a trade school near Juneau AK with the ultimate goal of starting a new career can be a life altering accomplishment that requires prior due diligence and careful planning. But exactly how do you accomplish finding the right one with so many trade schools to select from? Not only do you have to make certain that you will get the extensive training needed to be successful in your new field, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. Some potential students make the error of choosing a vocational school just because the campus is nearest to their residence or where they work. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. Naturally the cost and location of the training are critical factors when analyzing trade school options, but they should not be the sole ones. Other factors including the completion rates and accreditation of the schools are important as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions to ask in order to get the information to make a final choice. We will review a few of those questions later in this post. But first, let's look at a few of the vocation options that are available as well as the availability of online programs.
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Trade School Career Options
There are an abundance of professions to select from in vocational schools that offer rewarding and good paying careers. Maybe you have already chosen one that you have for years desired to pursue. For example, maybe you have always had fun working on your car and have given thought to utilizing that ability to make a living as an auto mechanic. Or maybe a relative has had a prosperous career in a specific vocation or trade and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. Regardless of what your motivation is for entering a trade, there is undoubtedly a program offered that will give you the training that you require. Following is merely a small representation of the trade school programs that are available in the Juneau AK area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Management
All programs will have differing costs and completion times based upon the trade, type of credential and school. Some of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will call for several months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these aspects must be considered prior to choosing a vocation and school.
Online Trade School Programs
Schools available online have become more attractive with Juneau AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. While learning online is a readily available and practical way to acquire a certificate or degree, it might not be the ideal option for every vocation or trade. For example, training to drive a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that must be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain components of the training can be appropriate for online training, such as learning driving and safety regulations for truck driving schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. Many programs will combine online education with on campus lab work, for example for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to ask before enrolling in an online school for any trade if there is a suitable amount of hands-on training allocated to the curriculum. One means to help establish that a vocational school program is both appropriate for online learning and delivers comprehensive practical training is to verify that it's accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for training online, it can be a practical way for students with time constraints to learn a new vocation.
Points to Ask Vocational School Programs
After you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many technical schools in the Juneau AK area and across the Country to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Juneau AK area vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trade school near Juneau AK is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. However, even the best of schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the tech schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Juneau AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Juneau AK area professionals in the trade. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Juneau AK contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Trade School
Selecting the right trade school near Juneau AK is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the trade. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.