How to Choose the Right Vocational School Program
Deciding to begin a new occupation and enroll in a trade school near Eielson Afb AK are serious decisions that will greatly influence your future career. But with so many trade schools to choose from, exactly how do you go about identifying the best one? Not only do you need to make sure that you will receive the comprehensive training necessary to succeed in your new field, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. A number of prospective students make the error of enrolling in a vocational school simply because the campus is nearest to their residence or where the work. Or they may gravitate to the one that charges the most affordable tuition. Naturally the cost and location of the training are critical factors when assessing trade school options, but they should not be the only ones. Added factors such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools are important as well. So prior to beginning your evaluations and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions to ask so you can get the information to make a final selection. We will cover a few of those questions shortly in this post. But to start with, let’s look at a few of the vocation options that are available as well as the accessibility of online schools.
Vocational School Program Options near Eielson Afb AK
There are an abundance of trades to choose from in vocational schools that offer rewarding and high paying careers. Maybe you have already chosen one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, maybe you have always taken pleasure in working on your car and have given thought to utilizing that skill to make a living as a car mechanic. Or perhaps a member of the family has had a long and successful career in a specific trade or vocation and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. Regardless of what your motivation is for entering a trade, there is probably a program available that will give you the training that you need. Following is just a modest representation of the vocational training programs that are available in the Eielson Afb AK area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
All programs will have differing costs and completion times depending on the vocation, type of credential and school. Many of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will require months or even 2 or more years of schooling. Each of these variables need to be considered before selecting a vocation and school.
Online Trade Schools
Schools available online have become very popular with Eielson Afb AK students and more and more accredited programs are being offered. Even though online learning is a very convenient and accessible way to earn a certificate or degree, it might not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For instance, learning to operate a tractor trailer is not something that you can do online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that have to be acquired through hands on training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain aspects of the training may be appropriate for online learning, such as learning safety and driving regulations for truck driving schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. Some programs will blend online education with on campus lab work, such as for electrician or welding schools. So it is crucial to ask before enrolling in an online program for any trade if there is a suitable amount of hands-on training devoted to the syllabus. One way to help establish est that a trade school program is both suitable for online learning and provides comprehensive practical training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally acknowledged accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are suitable for online training, it can be a convenient way for those with limited time to acquire a new trade.
Concerns to Ask Trade Schools
When you have chosen the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of trade schools in the Eielson Afb AK area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Eielson Afb AK area trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a vocational school near Eielson Afb AK is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. On the other hand, even the best of schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the tech schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Eielson Afb AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Eielson Afb AK area specialists in the field. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eielson Afb AK contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eielson Afb AK, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Trade School near Eielson Afb AK?
If you are considering a vocational school near Eielson Afb AK, following is some interesting information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your final decision.
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson AFB was named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. The 354 FW is currently commanded by Colonel Benjamin W. Bishop. Bishop is a Command Pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, including over 340 combat hours. He's flown the T-37, T-38, F-15E, F-35A, and F-16C/D aircraft. He is responsible for providing realistic combat adversary training to United States and allied forces in air, space, and information operations via RED FLAG-Alaska, Pacific Air Forces’ premier multinational large-force training exercise, and through PACAF's only Aggressor Squadron. He also directs the preparation and deployment of Airmen in support of global operations, enables the staging of forces through Eielson, and integrates air component capabilities into the US Army's I Corps through the 1st Air Support Operations Group. Additionally, Colonel Bishop is overseeing preparations for the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base.
Enroll in the Right Trade School
Enrolling in the ideal trade school near Eielson Afb AK is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. You initially came to this website because of your interest in Local Technical Schools. However, if you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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