How to Choose a Vocational School near Valdez Alaska
Choosing to enter into a new profession and enroll in a vocational school near Valdez AK are serious decisions that will profoundly influence your future career. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach identifying the right one? Not only do you have to ascertain that you will obtain the extensive training required to be successful in your new profession, but also that the school is reputable and well regarded. A number of prospective students make the error of selecting a vocational school simply because the campus is closest to their residence or place of employment. Others might be attracted to the school that charges the lowest tuition. Of course the location and cost of the programs are critical factors when assessing vocational school options, but they should not be the only ones. Additional variables including accreditation and the reputation of the schools are important also. So prior to beginning your evaluations and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so you can get the information to make a final choice. We will cover several of those questions shortly in this article. But first, let’s look at a few of the vocation options that are available as well as the availability of online programs.
Vocational School Training Options near Valdez AK
There are a number of professions to choose from in vocational schools that offer rewarding and high paying careers. Possibly you have already chosen one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, maybe you have always had fun working on your car and have thought about using that ability to make a living as an automotive tech. Or perhaps a relative has had a prosperous career in a certain trade or vocation and you would like to follow in his or her footsteps. No matter what your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is probably a program available that will give you the training you need. Below is just a modest representation of the trade school programs that are offered in the Valdez AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Management
All 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 a few weeks, while others will call for months or even 2 or more years of schooling. All of these elements must be considered prior to selecting a trade and a school.
Trade Schools Online
Schools available online have become more attractive with Valdez AK students and more and more accredited programs are being offered. While online learning is a very convenient and accessible way to earn a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For instance, learning to drive a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is training how to weld. These are skills that need to be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain components of the training may be appropriate for online learning, for example learning safety and driving regulations for trucking schools or studying metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. Some programs will combine online instruction with on campus practical training, such as for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to determine before choosing an online school for any vocation if there is an adequate amount of practical training devoted to the curriculum. One way to help ensure that a trade school program is both appropriate for online studying and provides comprehensive hands-on training is to confirm that it’s accredited by a nationally acknowledged accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for training online, it can be a practical way for students with limited time to acquire a new trade.
What to Ask Trade Schools
As soon as you have decided on the trade and type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of technical schools in the Valdez AK area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Valdez AK area trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trade school near Valdez AK is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually 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 qualifiers.
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 complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Valdez AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Valdez AK area companies in the trade. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Valdez AK contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Valdez AK, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering a Trade School near Valdez AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Valdez AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Valdez (/vælˈdiːz, vəlˈdɛz/; Alutiiq: Suacit) is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976, down from 4,036 in 2000. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered catastrophic damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.
The port of Valdez was named in 1790 by the Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A scam to lure prospectors off the Klondike Gold Rush trail led to a town being developed there in 1898. Some steamship companies promoted the Valdez Glacier Trail as a better route for miners to reach the Klondike gold fields and discover new ones in the Copper River country of interior Alaska than that from Skagway. The prospectors who believed the promotion found that they had been deceived. The glacier trail was twice as long and steep as reported, and many men died attempting the crossing, in part by contracting scurvy during the long cold winter without adequate supplies. The town did not flourish until after the construction of the Richardson Highway in 1899, which connected Valdez and Fairbanks. With a new road and its ice-free port, Valdez became permanently established as the first overland supply route into the interior of Alaska. The highway was open in summer-only until 1950, when it was operated as a year-round route.
In 1907, a shootout between two rival railroad companies ended Valdez's hope of becoming the railroad link from tidewater to the Kennicott Copper Mine. The mine, located in the heart of the Wrangell-St.Elias Mountains, was one of the richest copper ore deposits on the continent. The exact location of the right-of-way dispute, in which one man was killed and several injured, is located at the southern entrance of Keystone Canyon on the Valdez side. A half-completed tunnel in the canyon marks the end of railroad days in Valdez. A rail line to Kennicott was later established from the coastal city of Cordova.
Enroll in the Right Vocational School
Picking the right trade school near Valdez AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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