Finding a Good Trade School

Are you looking for a quality trade school education? Whether you’re seeking an alternative to college or considering a career change, trade and vocational schools can offer the training and certification that you need to get hired ASAP.You will find a rich and varied array of trade schools available, with teachers ready to instill you with practical skills ranging from audio engineering to French cake making. Technology, auto repair, truck driving, interior design, hair styling, welding – the training options are as varied as the jobs.But watch out!Not all trade schools are created equally, and you need to do your research first.Your first step is to focus on the career that you want. Exactly what skills are required for that job? Set up interviews with prospective employers just to ask their advice, most will be happy to oblige and you may find a future mentor or employer in the process. Ask them which trade schools they recommend and what skill sets they would like to see a future employee have. With this knowledge in hand you can weed out the schools that don’t provide the training for the skills you need.In order to further narrow down your list of potential trade schools, you will have to go online and visit each school’s website. Order any promotional materials available and start a list of questions:1. How much does the program cost? Are there fees that are not included in tuition? How much will books and supplies cost? What financial aid is available?2. What business opportunities does the school offer? Does the school have work/study programs, business mentors, or partnerships set up?3. What special equipment or supplies are available? How often do they update/replace equipment? If you are looking for training in a career that requires current knowledge, such as technology, then the quality and turnover of equipment is very important.4. What is the quality of the teachers? What are their credentials? How long have they been teaching the trade?5. How successful is the school at placing graduates? What is the average starting salary? What is the future salary potential? How long does it usually take graduates to find a job? Ask if you can contact a recent graduate to ask them about their experiences.6. Is the school well known? Is it licensed and accredited? The U.S. Dept. of Education maintains a database of accredited schools that you can search: Are there complaints against the school? Contact the state Attorney General’s office to find out if there is a history of problems – in New York you can visit to submit a query.At this point you should visit your top choices. Set up a meeting and go with your list of questions ready. Explore the campus, talk to some of the students and teachers, and be ready to sit in on some classes.Finally, after all of your research you should have a clear idea of what skills you need, what tools and supplies are needed to learn those skills, how much it will cost, and what your potential earnings will be. Now you’re ready to pick the trade school that fills your requirements and makes you feel comfortable and ready to learn.

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