How to Choose a Vocational School near Wasilla Alaska
Choosing to begin a new profession and enroll in a vocational school near Wasilla AK are important decisions that will greatly influence your future career. However with numerous trade schools to choose from, just how do you undertake finding the ideal one? Not only do you have to make certain that you will obtain the extensive training necessary to be successful in your new field, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. A number of students make the mistake of selecting a trade school simply because the campus is nearest to their home or where the work. Or they may be attracted to the one that charges the lowest tuition. Of course the location and cost of the programs are significant considerations when assessing trade school options, but they must not be the only ones. Added considerations including reputation and accreditation of the schools are important also. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions to ask in order to get the information to make a final selection. We will cover several of those questions later in this article. But first, let’s look at a few of the trade options that are offered as well as the availability of online programs.
Vocational School Training Options near Wasilla AK
There are an abundance of trades to choose from in vocational schools that offer gratifying and high paying careers. Maybe you have already decided on one that you have for years desired to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always had fun working on your car and have considered utilizing that talent to make a living as a car mechanic. Or maybe a family member has had a long and successful career in a particular trade or vocation and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. Whatever your inspiration is for entering a trade, there is undoubtedly a program offered that will provide the training that you require. Following is just a small representation of the trade school programs that are offered in the Wasilla AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driver
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Manager
Each of the programs will have differing costs and completion times depending on the trade, type of credential and school. Many of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will require months or even two or more years of schooling. All of these variables need to be considered before choosing a trade and a school.
Learning a Trade Online
Online schools have become very popular with Wasilla AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are being offered. While learning online is a very convenient and accessible way to earn a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for every vocation or trade. 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 need 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 education, for example learning driving and safety guidelines for truck driving schools or studying metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. Some programs will blend online education with on campus practical training, such as for electrician or welding schools. So it is crucial to determine before choosing an online school for any trade if there is an appropriate amount of hands-on training allocated to the curriculum. One means to help ensure that a trade school program is both appropriate for online education and provides in-depth hands-on training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally acknowledged accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are appropriate for training online, it can be a convenient way for those with limited time to acquire a new trade.
Points to Ask Vocational School Programs
After you have chosen the trade and type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of technical schools in the Wasilla AK area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous Wasilla AK area vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trade school near Wasilla AK is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. However, even the best of schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications.
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 complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Wasilla AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Wasilla AK area companies in the trade. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date 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 with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Wasilla AK contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain 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 responsibilities.
Considering a Trade School near Wasilla AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Wasilla AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census. Estimates in 2013 put the population at roughly 8,621. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation, Labor and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Choose the Right Vocational School
Picking the right trade school near Wasilla AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the trade. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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