How Do I Choose the Best Vocational Training College?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Some vocational schools focus on specific programs, such as auto repair.
Some vocational schools focus on specific programs, such as auto repair.

When choosing a vocational training college, it is important to research how long the school has been in operation and whether it holds licensing and accreditation from the appropriate agencies in your jurisdiction. You should find out about the school's reputation among experienced workers and hiring managers in the various vocations and trades that the school teaches. Learn more about the school's facilities as well as the services it offers to students. Make sure that the school offers employment support to graduates and ask about whether students have access to career counseling or whether the college offers a job placement program. Finally, ask about the vocational training college's tuition and fees and whether the school participates in financial aid programs.

When evaluating a technical vocational school, students should confirm that the school offers classes in their area of interest, and they should also look into the school's reputation.
When evaluating a technical vocational school, students should confirm that the school offers classes in their area of interest, and they should also look into the school's reputation.

While there are many fine vocational schools, some schools that offer vocational training may have a less than stellar reputation. These schools may offer a substandard education or may offer training in skills that may best be learned on the job. If you wish to enter a trade or profession that requires licensure or certification, it is very important that you find out whether the agency that issues the licensing or certification recognizes a particular vocational training college before you enroll. Keep in mind that school licensure and school accreditation are two separate processes: Many jurisdictions require schools to receive a license to operate, though the licensing evaluation process may not be terribly exhaustive. Accreditation, through a legitimate third-party accreditation agency, is typically a much more comprehensive evaluation and the fact that a school holds a recognized accreditation can be an indication of the quality of its instruction.

Always visit a vocational training college before enrolling, make sure that the building is safe, clean and provides an environment that is conducive to learning. If you will be learning a technical skill or trade, make sure that the school offers you the opportunity to train on modern equipment and that you will be educated in appropriate safety procedures. Ask about the credentials of its faculty, as you want to make sure that you will be taught by experienced professionals in the field that you hope to enter. Ask to speak to a representative of the schools financial aid department to find out what kind of assistance is available to you, and be wary of any school that encourages you to rely heavily on student loans to pay for your education.

While it is your responsibility to determine whether the job market in your area is favorable for those who wish to enter a particular vocation or trade, a vocational training college should also provide you with assistance in finding a job after graduation. Some schools have comprehensive career centers where you can receive assistance in writing a resume, meet with prospective employers and speak to a counselor about any difficulties you are having finding a job. In some cases, these career centers are open to former students long after graduation, remaining a resource for you as you progress in your career.

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    • Some vocational schools focus on specific programs, such as auto repair.
      Some vocational schools focus on specific programs, such as auto repair.
    • When evaluating a technical vocational school, students should confirm that the school offers classes in their area of interest, and they should also look into the school's reputation.
      When evaluating a technical vocational school, students should confirm that the school offers classes in their area of interest, and they should also look into the school's reputation.