7 Tips for Choosing the Right Technical School
For many students, pursuing higher education through a technical school is a smart decision. Technical schools provide students with a quick way to receive their diplomas while providing hands on education geared towards their specific future jobs.
This becomes extremely important at a time when the national unemployment rate continues to rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate increased by 3.7 percent in August alone.
With lower costs, faster graduation, and better opportunities for landing a job, more and more students prefer a technical education. In response, the number of technical schools has ballooned to 7,109 in the US, representing a 0.8% increase annually from 2017 to 2022.
Choosing the Right Technical School
While technical schools can help students succeed in their plans, it all comes down to how efficient and effective their education and training have been. That’s why it’s important to choose the right school. Here are seven tips:
- Decide What You Want to Study
Before choosing the institution, you must first decide what industry you want to work in. Technical schools often have areas of specialization to help their students prepare for their future careers. For example, HCI College focuses on health science courses, such as Nursing, Medical Assisting, Paramedics, Emergency Medical Training (EMT), and Veterinary Assisting.
Identifying the area of study you want to focus on helps you research what is currently in demand. Match demand with your career and personal goals.
- Check School Accreditation
It can be enticing to enroll immediately in a technical school once you see how affordable they are. However, it pays to first check the school’s accreditation status. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money and hours to discover later that the school diploma isn’t acceptable to employers.
Check with your state’s education department to see if your preferred school is among those granted a license. For example, the Florida Department of Education releases an annual report listing all academic institutions they’ve provided with licenses.
Attending an accredited technical college means their curriculum is within the state’s or an accrediting institution’s acceptable standards. Graduating from a non-accredited school can affect your chances of being admitted for licensure exams and financial aid.
- Know Their Class Sizes
One of the main advantages of technical schools is their hands-on training. Since most of these schools offer technical courses in specialized industries, instructors must focus on each student. This ensures they provide the necessary training.
For example, in an EMT training program, instructors have to teach the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Since this is about saving a life, the instructor must ensure the student understands anatomy and physiology. In addition, they should also know how to apply the technique properly.
Students learn better if their instructor is available to each one of them, so ask about the student ratio to better understand how the classes work.
- Decide on a Budget
Choosing the right technical school means also considering your budget. While they are far cheaper than traditional colleges, you still have to consider the costs. Aside from tuition fees, add the cost of books and learning materials. Even an estimate can help you decide if you need to take out a student loan or ask for financial assistance.
This will factor in choosing the right technical school for you because some offer student aid.
- Know the School’s Graduation Rates
When choosing the right technical school, you must consider their graduation rates. This will give you an insight into the number of students able to complete their studies. This reveals much about the school’s curriculum and the teaching quality you can expect.
- Learn About Graduate Employment Rates
Most educational institutions have established partnerships with employers. Ask or find out about how many of their students were hired after graduation.
Graduate employment rates tell you about the school’s reputation and how it prepares its students during their course of study. A high rate means the students are well equipped with the skills and knowledge that help them become successful in their job hunting.
- Determine Career Services Offering
Career service departments are critical in ensuring that students find the best jobs suited to their academic background and skill set. Students who can take advantage of career services can receive valuable assistance in discovering financial aid, exploring career opportunities, and planning their future.
According to the 2022 Career Services Benchmarks Survey Report, many students now leverage career services, particularly career coaching. The number of students in virtual career counseling doubled compared to last year.
Choosing the Right Technical School Is the First Step
Choosing the right technical school means considering several factors – costs, class size, program offerings, accreditation, and other services. Always check if these align with your career goals and, of course, your budget.
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