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Movies such as National Lampoon’s Animal House and American Pie make a 4 year college look like a big party, but what they don’t show is students sitting in lower level class lectures going over the basics of school subjects like biology, English, and math. If you know the career path you want to take, sitting through these lectures might not be the best use of your time. Because of this common attitude amongst those looking to go back to school, trade schools have grown in popularity.
A trade school, sometimes called a vocational school, is a two year school that focuses only on the field that is relevant to a student’s chosen profession. For example, if you know you want to be a chef someday, you will not need to take three English classes in order to graduate. Although some careers require a 4 year college, more and more professions are beginning to accept those who have attended a trade school. In some cases, trade school graduates are preferred over those who have attended a 4 year University because these graduates have had a more specialized program. A trade school is great if you:
- Know exactly what you want to do when you graduate high school.
- Want to change career paths later in life.
- Want to go back to school to learn best practices for your current career.
- Want a new career, but do not have the time or money to attend a 4 year college.
- Are a hands-on learner who has a hard time learning in a traditional classroom setting.
If you think that trade school is right for you, it’s time to set out and make it happen. Before making your decision, there are a few things that should be a must on your list of potential trade schools.
What Every Good Trade School Must Have on Its Record
A trade school must be accredited.
Accreditation guarantees that you will be getting a quality education. Unfortunately, there are some trade schools out there who claim to be something that they are not. If a school is accredited, or meets learning standards set out by an accrediting agency, your education will be taken seriously by future employers.
A trade school must have a good industry reputation.
Do not spend your time and money on a school with a bad reputation. Ask around about the reputation of the trade school at places where you may someday like to work, and see if they have hired any graduates from this school. In addition, ask the trade school if they work closely with employers in the community. Good trade schools will do this through job fairs, seminars, and they may even send in a professional to teach a lesson. Chances are if the school is accredited, it has a good reputation, but it is always a good idea to check things out on your own.
A trade school must offer hands-on instruction with up to date materials.
You are not going to a trade school to sit in a classroom and learn about what you will be doing once the program is over. A trade school is about hands-on training to get a feel for the profession before you begin looking for a job. Take some time out to visit the school and make sure that students are immersed in their future career using the latest tools.
A trade school must have a high retention rate.
Every trade school does have a retention rate. Ask the school about their retention rate to make sure that students do not enroll and never finish. There are plenty of good, accredited schools to choose from, so do not pick one that students don’t like.
Overall, trade schools are becoming more and more popular for those who want to get-in and get-out knowing exactly what to expect in the workforce. Good trade schools generally cost about $4,000 to $5,000, but some can cost as must as $10,000. The price completely depends on the school you choose; however the more expensive doesn’t always mean better. If you follow a few of the things listed above, you are sure to find a school that will get you to your dream job with ease.
What is a Trade School?
A trade school offers a shorter route for those looking to further their education in a specific field. Trade school programs are normally two-years, and they aim to give students the skills necessary to succeed in a specific profession. Unlike a four-year college or university, trade schools get students out of the lecture hall and help students learn by using on-the-job equipment. This helps them get a real feel for what it is like to work in the industry they have chosen.
Trade programs are available in all 50 U.S. states, many of which are accredited either by the state or nationally. While not every profession can be achieved through a trade school, careers such as computer technology, cosmetology, automotive technology, engineering, and the culinary arts often prefer an individual who has attended a trade school. If you choose to take this route, you will undoubtedly be prepared for anything the “real world” throws your way.