How to Choose a Vocational School near Kodiak Alaska
Choosing to enter into a new occupation and enroll in a trade school near Kodiak AK are important decisions that will profoundly impact your long term career. But with so many trade schools to pick from, just how do you undertake finding the right one? Not only do you need to ascertain that you will obtain the extensive training necessary to be successful in your new occupation, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. Some prospective students make the mistake of enrolling in a vocational school just because the campus is closest to their residence or where the work. Others might be attracted to the one that charges the most affordable tuition. Of course the cost and location of the training are significant factors when evaluating trade school options, but they must not be the only ones. Added factors such as reputation and accreditation of the schools are important as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions you should be asking in order to get the information to make a final selection. We will cover several of those questions later in this post. But to start with, let’s look at some of the trade options that are available including the availability of online programs.
Vocational School Program Options near Kodiak AK
There are a number of professions to choose from in vocational schools that offer gratifying and high paying careers. Possibly you have already decided on one that you have for years desired to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always enjoyed working on your car and have thought about using that ability to make a living as an auto mechanic. Or perhaps a family member has had a long and successful career in a specific vocation or trade and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. No matter what your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is likely a program offered that will give you the training that you need. Following is just a modest representation of the trade school programs that are available in the Kodiak AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
All programs will have differing costs and completion times based upon the trade, credential earned and school. A number of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will require months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these aspects need to be considered before selecting a vocation and school.
Online Vocational Schools
Trade Schools online have become very popular with Kodiak AK students and a growing number of accredited programs are becoming available. While online learning is a readily available and practical way to obtain a degree or certificate, it may not be the ideal option for all trades or vocations. For example, learning to operate a semi truck is not something that you can do online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that have to be mastered through hands on training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain elements of the training can be appropriate for online training, such as learning safety and driving regulations for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. Many programs will incorporate online education with on campus practical training, such as for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is essential to find out before choosing an online school for any trade if there is an adequate amount of practical training allocated to the course of study. One means to help ensure that a vocational school program is both appropriate for online learning and delivers in-depth hands-on training is to confirm that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for training online, it can be a convenient way for individuals with time constraints to acquire a new trade.
What to Ask Trade School Programs
As soon as you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of trade schools in the Kodiak AK area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Numerous Kodiak AK area trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a vocational school near Kodiak AK is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. However, even the best of schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the trade schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Kodiak AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Kodiak AK area companies in the trade. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Kodiak AK contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Kodiak AK, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering a Trade School near Kodiak AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Kodiak AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun'aq; Russian: Кадьяк, tr. Kadʹyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2014 estimates put the population at 6,304.
After the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to be the mainstay of its economy. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak bear, elk, Sitka deer (black tail), and mountain goats attract hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a website to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area.
The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
Pick the Right Trade School
Finding the right trade school near Kodiak AK is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the profession. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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