How to Choose a Vocational School near Gardendale Alabama
Choosing to enter into a new profession and enroll in a vocational school near Gardendale AL are important decisions that will profoundly impact your future career. But with numerous trade schools to select from, exactly how do you go about finding the ideal one? Not only do you have to make certain that you will receive the comprehensive training required to succeed in your new profession, but also that the school is reputable and well regarded. Many students make the error of choosing a vocational school just because the campus is nearest to their residence or where the work. Or they may be attracted to the school that has the lowest tuition. Naturally the location and cost of the training are critical factors when evaluating vocational school options, but they must not be the only ones. Added variables including accreditation and the reputation of the schools are important also. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions you should be asking in order to get the information to make a final choice. We will address some of those questions later in this post. But to start with, let’s talk about some of the trade options that are offered including the availability of online programs.
Trade School Program Options near Gardendale AL
There are a number of trades to pick from in vocational schools that offer fulfilling and good paying careers. Possibly you have already selected one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always enjoyed working on your car and have considered using that skill to earn a living as an auto mechanic. Or maybe a relative has had a prosperous career in a particular trade or vocation and you would love to follow in her or his footsteps. No matter what your motivation is for entering a trade, there is probably a program offered that will give you the training that you require. Following is merely a small representation of the vocational training programs that are available in the Gardendale AL area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
Each of the programs will have varying costs and completion times based upon the vocation, credential earned and school. Many of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will necessitate months or even 2 or more years of instruction. Each of these aspects need to be taken into account before selecting a trade and a school.
Trade Schools Online
Trade Schools online have become very popular with Gardendale AL students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. Although online learning 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, training to operate a tractor trailer is not something that you can do online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that must be learned through hands on training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain aspects of the training can be suitable for online education, for example learning driving and safety guidelines for truck driving schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. A number of programs will incorporate online instruction with on campus practical training, for example for electrician or welding schools. So it is essential to find out before choosing an online school for any trade if there is an adequate amount of practical training allocated to the course of study. One means to help ensure that a trade school program is both suitable for online education and provides in-depth hands-on training is to check 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 convenient way for individuals with time constraints to acquire a new trade.
What to Ask Trade Schools
When you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous technical schools in the Gardendale AL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Numerous Gardendale AL area vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a vocational school near Gardendale AL 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. However, even the best of schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the vocational schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Gardendale AL area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Gardendale AL area professionals in the trade. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Gardendale AL company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Alabama and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering a Trade School near Gardendale AL?
If you are looking at a trade school near Gardendale AL, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Choose the Right Vocational School
Choosing the ideal trade school near Gardendale AL is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this article, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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