How to Choose a Vocational School near Cordova Alaska
Deciding to work in a new occupation and enroll in a trade school near Cordova AK are serious decisions that will profoundly affect your long term career. However with so many trade schools to select from, exactly how do you undertake finding the best one? Not only do you need to confirm that you will get the extensive training required to be successful in your new occupation, but also that the school is reputable and well regarded. A number of students make the error of selecting a trade school simply because the campus is closest to their home or where the work. Others may gravitate to the school that has the lowest tuition. Of course the location and cost of the programs are critical factors when analyzing trade school options, but they can not be the sole ones. Other considerations including reputation and accreditation of the schools are critical as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to get the information to make a final selection. We will review some of those questions later in this article. But first, let’s look at some of the trade options that are offered including the availability of online programs.
Vocational School Training Options near Cordova AK
There are a number of trades to select from in vocational schools that offer gratifying and good paying careers. Perhaps you have already chosen one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, maybe you have always taken pleasure in working on your car and have thought about using that ability to earn a living as an auto mechanic. Or maybe a relative has had a long and successful career in a particular vocation or trade and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. Regardless of what your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is likely a program offered that will provide the training you need. Following is merely a modest representation of the trade school programs that are offered in the Cordova AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driver
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Manager
All programs will have differing costs and completion times based upon the trade, credential earned and school. Many of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will call for several months or even 2 or more years of schooling. All of these variables must be considered before selecting a vocation and school.
Learning a Vocation Online
Online schools have become more attractive with Cordova AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. Even though online learning is a readily available and practical way to earn a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For instance, training to operate 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 hands on training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain elements of the training may be appropriate for online training, for instance learning driving and safety regulations for truck driving schools or studying metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. Many programs will blend online instruction with on-campus lab work, such as for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is essential to ask before enrolling in an online school for any vocation if there is an appropriate amount of practical training devoted to the curriculum. One means to help ensure that a vocational school program is both suitable for online learning and delivers comprehensive hands-on training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are suitable for training online, it can be a convenient way for individuals with time constraints to acquire a new profession.
Concerns to Ask Trade Schools
When you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of trade schools in the Cordova AK area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Cordova AK area trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a vocational school near Cordova AK 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 several qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the trade schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Cordova AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Cordova AK area contractors in the trade. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Cordova AK company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cordova AK, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering a Trade School near Cordova AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Cordova AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Cordova (/kɔːrˈdoʊvə, ˈkɔːrdəvə/) is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.
In 1790 the inlet in front of the current Cordova townsite was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo, after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. The town of Cordova was named after it, although the inlet itself was later renamed the Orca Inlet. Cordova proper was founded as a result of the discovery of high-grade copper ore at Kennecott, north of Cordova. A group of surveyors from Valdez laid out a town site and Michael James Heney purchased half the land for the terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway after determining that the neighboring town of Katalla was a poor harbor. Heney and his crew held a brief ceremony to organize the town on March 26, 1906. A week later crews arrived to begin work on the railroad. The first lots in the new town site, which make up the heart of present-day Cordova, were sold at auction in May 1908. As the railroad grew, so did the town. Eventually schools, businesses, a hospital, and utilities were established. After the railroad was completed Cordova became the transportation hub for the ore coming out of Kennecott. In the years 1911 to 1938, more than 200 million tons of copper ore was transported through Cordova.
The area around Cordova was historically home to the Eyak, with a population of Chugach to the west, and occasional visits from Ahtna and Tlingit people for trade or battle. The last full-blooded Eyak Marie Smith Jones died in 2008, but the native traditions and lifestyle still has an influence on the local culture. Cordova was also once the home of a booming razor clam industry, and between 1916 and the late 1950s it was known as the "Razor Clam Capital of the World". Commercial harvest in the area was as much as 3.5 million pounds. Returns began declining in the late 1950s, presumably due to overharvesting and a large die-off in 1958. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake effectively and completely obliterated the industry; in some areas, the ground was thrust up by as much as six feet, exposing the already depleted clam beds. There has been no commercial harvest in the area since 1988 with the exception of a brief harvest in 1993.
Select the Right Vocational School
Choosing the ideal trade school near Cordova AK is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the field. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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