How to Choose a Vocational School near Gustavus Alaska
Choosing to enter into a new profession and enroll in a trade school near Gustavus AK are serious decisions that will greatly affect your long term career. However with so many trade schools to select from, exactly how do you undertake identifying the best one? Not only do you need to ascertain that you will obtain 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 mistake of choosing a trade school simply because the campus is nearest to their residence or place of employment. Others may be attracted to the one that charges the lowest tuition. Of course the location and cost of the training are significant considerations when evaluating vocational school options, but they can not be the sole ones. Added factors such as reputation and accreditation of the schools are critical as well. So prior to beginning your evaluations and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions you should be asking so you can get the information to make a final choice. We will cover a few of those questions shortly in this article. But first, let’s look at some of the vocation options that are offered as well as the availability of online programs.
Vocational School Career Options near Gustavus AK
There are an abundance of professions to choose from in vocational schools that provide gratifying and good paying careers. Perhaps you have already decided on one that you have for years desired to pursue. For instance, maybe you have always taken pleasure in working on your car and have considered using that skill to earn a living as a car mechanic. Or maybe a relative has had a prosperous career in a particular vocation or trade and you would like to follow in his or her footsteps. Whatever your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is likely a program offered that will give you the training you need. Below is merely a small representation of the trade school programs that are offered in the Gustavus AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
Each of the programs will have differing completion times and costs based upon the vocation, type of credential and school. Many of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will require several months or even two or more years of training. All of these variables should be taken into account prior to choosing a vocation and school.
Learning a Trade Online
Schools available online have become very popular with Gustavus AK students and a growing number of accredited programs are becoming available. Although learning online is a very convenient and accessible way to acquire a certificate or degree, it might not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For example, learning to operate a semi truck is not something that you can do 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 components of the training may be suitable for online learning, for example learning safety and driving regulations for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. Some programs will combine online education with on campus practical training, such as for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to ask before choosing an online program for any trade if there is an appropriate amount of practical training allocated to the curriculum. One means to help ensure that a trade school program is both suitable for online education and delivers in-depth hands-on training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are appropriate for training online, it can be a practical way for those with limited time to learn a new profession.
What to Ask Vocational Schools
As soon as you have picked the trade and type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous technical schools in the Gustavus AK area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of Gustavus AK area vocational schools have acquired 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. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require 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 trade school near Gustavus AK is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. However, even the top schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the trade schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Gustavus AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Gustavus AK area contractors in the field. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Gustavus AK company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure 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 Gustavus AK, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering a Trade School near Gustavus AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Gustavus AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Gustavus, formerly known as "Strawberry Point", lies on the outwash plain created by the glaciers that once filled Glacier Bay. Two hundred years ago, it was primarily a single large "beach". The native Tlingit people and others used the area for fishing, berry picking, and other similar uses. The town itself is less than one hundred years old. The first settlers arrived in 1914, but left shortly afterward. The first permanent homestead was established in 1917, when Abraham Lincoln Parker moved his family to Strawberry Point. Many Gustavus residents are descendants and relatives of the original Parker homesteaders.
In 1925 the name became "Gustavus", when the U.S. Post Office required a change for its new post office, although locals continued calling it "Strawberry Point" long afterwards. The new name came from Point Gustavus at the mouth of Glacier Bay.
In 1793 George Vancouver named Point Adolphus (at the northern tip of Chichagof Island, and today a well-known humpback whale feeding area) after Adolphus Frederick, seventh son of King George III. In 1878, W.H. Dall, while working on a coastal survey, saw "Adolphus" on the map and assumed it was for Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. The point across Icy Strait from Point Adolphus at the mouth of Glacier Bay was not named on the map, so Dall called it "Gustavus". Another possibility is that Dall named Gustavus for Gustavus C. Hanus, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who had extensive experience throughout southeast Alaska, and both Dall and Hanus served with the Coast Survey in Alaska. Hanus laid out the first streets in Juneau and helped quell the trouble in Klukwan in 1881.
Enroll in the Right Trade School
Selecting the ideal trade school near Gustavus AK is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the professional community. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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