Vocational School Program
How to Find the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Enrolling in a vocational school near Flagstaff AZ with the ultimate goal of starting a new career can be a life changing accomplishment that requires prior due diligence and careful planning. But just how do you go about locating the best one with so many vocational schools to select from? Of course you must select a school that is highly regarded and reputable so you can be confident that you will get the complete training needed to succeed in your new field. A number of students make the mistake of enrolling in a trade school simply because the campus is nearest to their home or where they work. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But there are additional important criteria besides location and cost that must be part of the decision making process as well. Additional factors such as accreditation and the completion rates of the schools are critical as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so you can get the information to make a final selection. We will cover some of those questions later in this post. But first, let's talk about a few of the trade options that are offered including the accessibility of online schools.
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Vocational School Training Options
There are a number of trades to choose from in vocational schools that provide rewarding and high paying careers. Maybe you have already chosen one that you have long wished to pursue. For example, maybe you have always taken pleasure in working on your car and have considered using that skill to make a living as an auto mechanic. Or perhaps a family member has had a long and successful career in a particular trade or vocation and you would love to follow in his or her footsteps. No matter what your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is probably a program offered that will provide the training you need. Below is merely a small representation of the trade school programs that are available in the Flagstaff AZ area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driver
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Manager
Each of the programs will have varying costs and completion times depending on the vocation, credential earned and school. A number of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will necessitate several months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these factors must be taken into account before selecting a vocation and school.
Online Trade School Programs
Schools available online have become more attractive with Flagstaff AZ students and more and more accredited programs are becoming available. While online learning is a readily available and practical way to earn a degree or certificate, it may not be the ideal option for every vocation or trade. For instance, training to drive a tractor trailer is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is training how to weld. These are skills that have to be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain elements of the training can be appropriate for online training, such as learning safety and driving guidelines for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. A number of programs will blend online instruction with on-campus practical training, for example for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to ask before choosing an online program for any trade if there is an adequate amount of hands-on training allocated to the syllabus. One means to help establish that a vocational school program is both suitable for online education and provides in-depth practical training is to check that it's accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are suitable for online training, it can be a convenient way for students with time constraints to learn a new trade.
Points to Ask Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the trade and type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area and across the United States to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. A large number of Flagstaff AZ area technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trade school near Flagstaff AZ is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. Having said that, even the top schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications.
Completion Rates. Ask the vocational schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Flagstaff AZ area professionals in the trade. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Arizona and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Learn More About Trade Schools in Flagstaff
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Trade School
Picking the ideal trade school near Flagstaff AZ is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the professional community. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.