How to Choose a Vocational School near Barstow California
Choosing to enter into a new occupation and enroll in a vocational school near Barstow CA are serious decisions that will greatly impact your long term career. However with numerous trade schools to select from, just how do you go about finding the best one? Not only do you need to ascertain that you will obtain the comprehensive training necessary to be successful in your new occupation, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. A number of potential students make the mistake of enrolling in a vocational school just because the campus is nearest to their home or place of employment. Or they might gravitate to the school that charges the most affordable tuition. Naturally the location and cost of the training are important considerations when evaluating vocational school options, but they should not be the sole ones. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation of the schools are critical also. So prior to beginning your evaluations 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 address some of those questions later in this post. But to start with, let’s talk about a few of the trade options that are available as well as the accessibility of online programs.
Vocational School Career Options near Barstow CA
There are a number of trades to select from in vocational schools that offer fulfilling and good paying careers. Maybe you have already selected one that you have long wished to pursue. For example, maybe you have always enjoyed working on your car and have given thought to using that ability to make a living as a car mechanic. Or perhaps a relative has had a prosperous career in a certain trade or vocation and you would love to follow in his or her footsteps. Regardless of what your motivation is for going into a trade, there is likely a program available that will provide the training that you need. Below is just a modest representation of the vocational training programs that are offered in the Barstow CA area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driver
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Manager
Each of the programs will have varying costs and completion times depending on the trade, credential earned and school. A number of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will require several months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these aspects should be taken into account prior to choosing a vocation and school.
Vocational Schools Online
Trade Schools online have become very popular with Barstow CA students and a growing number of accredited programs are being offered. While online learning is a very convenient and accessible way to obtain a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For example, learning to drive a tractor trailer 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 aspects of the training can be appropriate for online classes, for instance learning driving and safety regulations for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. Some programs will incorporate online education with on campus practical training, for example for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to ask before choosing an online school for any vocation 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 education and provides in-depth practical training is to confirm 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 students with time constraints to acquire a new trade.
What to Ask Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many technical schools in the Barstow CA area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. A large number of Barstow CA area trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a vocational school near Barstow CA is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. On the other hand, even the top schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications.
Completion Rates. Ask the trade schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Barstow CA area.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Barstow CA area contractors in the field. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Barstow CA contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in California and what certifications or degrees they hold.
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 Barstow CA, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering a Trade School near Barstow CA?
If you are looking at a trade school near Barstow CA, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Barstow is a major transportation center for the Inland Empire. Several major highways including Interstate 15, Interstate 40, California State Route 58, and U.S. Route 66 converge in the city. It is the site of a large rail classification yard, belonging to the BNSF Railway. The Union Pacific Railroad also runs through town using trackage rights on BNSF's main line to Daggett 10 miles (16 km) east, from where it heads to Salt Lake City and the BNSF heads to Chicago. Barstow is about 62 miles (100 km) from Baker, California and 111 miles (179 km) from Primm, Nevada. Barstow is almost exactly midway between Los Angeles, California (130 miles (210 km) southwest) and Las Vegas, Nevada (125 miles (201 km) northeast).
The settlement of Barstow began in the late 1830s in the Mormon Corridor. Every fall and winter, as the weather cooled, the rain produced new grass growth and replenished the water sources in the Mojave Desert. People, goods and animal herds would move from New Mexico and later Utah to Los Angeles, along the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe, or after 1848, on the Mormon Road from Salt Lake City. Trains of freight wagons traveled back to Salt Lake City and other points in the interior. These travelers followed the course of the Mojave River, watering and camping at Fish Ponds on its south bank (west of Nebo Center) or 3.625 miles up river on the north bank, at a riverside grove of willows and cottonwoods, festooned with wild grapes, called Grapevines (later the site of North Barstow). In 1859, the Mojave Road followed a route was established from Los Angeles to Fort Mojave through Grapevines that linked eastward with the Beale Wagon Road across northern New Mexico Territory to Santa Fe.
Indian troubles with the Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi tribes followed and from 1860 Camp Cady, a U.S. Army post 20 miles (32 km) east of Barstow, was occupied sporadically until 1864, then permanently, by soldiers occupying other posts on the Mojave Road or patrolling in the region until 1871. Trading posts were established at Grapevines and Fish Ponds that supplied travelers on the roads and increasingly the miners that came into the Mohave Desert after the end of hostilities with the native people.
Select the Right Vocational School
Finding the ideal trade school near Barstow CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the field. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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