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How Do I Choose the Best Vocational School?

Article Details
  • Written By: David Bishop
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Finding the right vocational school can make all the difference in receiving high-quality training and job placement assistant. Prospective students should not rush into a decision and may want to visit several schools before committing to a program. The student’s choices are usually based on location, tuition costs and program quality. Thoroughly researching schools and talking to advisers and currently enrolled students can help a prospective student to make this important decision.

The first step for students seeking vocational training is determining a course of study. Vocation schools in the United States offer a wide range of programs, from certificate programs lasting only a few weeks to degree programs that can last for years. Prospective students should carefully research potential schools to verify that the programs in which they are interested have been accredited by the governing bodies of that trade. Many employers will not consider job applicants with certificates or degrees from non-accredited schools. Some vocational programs also have prerequisites that a student must fulfill before entering a program.

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Many students will need to find a program that is convenient to their location and schedule. Few vocational schools offer discounted student housing or meal programs, and many vocational students work full-time or part-time jobs. Students should look for programs within a reasonable commute of their homes and make sure classes are offered at times when they can attend. Certain programs may have requirements, such as internships, that may be difficult or impossible to complete around a student’s work schedule. It is important for prospective students to discuss these factors with an adviser before enrolling in a vocational school.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a vocational school are the cost of tuition, graduation rate and job placement rate after graduation. While government assistance and student loans are available in many areas to help a student pay for job training, the resulting debt can become a tremendous burden in a weak employment market. It is important to evaluate current and future costs when deciding on a program. One should always ask to see the graduation rate and job placement rate for graduates of a vocational school. One of the most important things to consider is how many of the school’s graduates are actually working in the profession after completing a course of study.

If possible, one also should try to talk to current or former students about their experiences with the vocational school. They often have the best insight into a program of study and can tell potential students if they feel it was worth their time, money and effort. It’s also important to check out the campus itself and make sure it is a reasonably safe environment for night classes and after-hours appointments.

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