How to Choose a Vocational School near Girdwood Alaska
Deciding to begin a new profession and enroll in a vocational school near Girdwood AK are important decisions that will greatly influence 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 have to make certain that you will get the extensive training necessary to be successful in your new profession, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. Many prospective students make the error of selecting a trade school just because the campus is nearest to their residence or where the work. Or they may gravitate to the one that has the lowest tuition. Of course the cost and location of the training are critical considerations when assessing vocational school options, but they can not be the only ones. Added considerations including accreditation and the reputation of the schools are important also. 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 some of those questions shortly in this post. But to start with, let’s look at a few of the trade options that are available including the availability of online schools.
Vocational School Program Options near Girdwood AK
There are a number of professions to choose from in vocational schools that provide gratifying and high paying careers. Perhaps you have already selected one that you have for years desired to pursue. For example, perhaps you have always taken pleasure in working on your car and have given thought to utilizing that skill to earn a living as an automotive tech. Or perhaps a member of the family has had a prosperous career in a particular trade or vocation and you would love to follow in her or his footsteps. Whatever your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is likely a program offered that will provide the training that you require. Below is merely a modest representation of the vocational training programs that are offered in the Girdwood AK area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Manager
Each of the programs will have varying completion times and costs based upon the vocation, type of credential and school. A number of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will require months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these factors need to be taken into account prior to selecting a trade and a school.
Online Vocational Schools
Schools available online have become very popular with Girdwood AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. Even though learning online is a very convenient and accessible way to acquire a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For instance, training to drive a tractor trailer is not something that you can do online, nor is training how to weld. These are skills that have to be acquired through practical training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain components of the training can be suitable for online training, for instance 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 blend 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 program for any vocation if there is a suitable amount of hands-on training allocated to the syllabus. One way to help establish est that a trade school program is both suitable for online studying and provides in-depth practical training is to check that it’s accredited by a nationally acknowledged accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for online training, it can be a practical way for individuals with limited time to learn a new vocation.
Points to Ask Vocational School Programs
Once you have selected the trade and type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous trade schools in the Girdwood AK area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous Girdwood AK area trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trade school near Girdwood AK is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. Having said that, even the best of schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications.
Completion Rates. Ask the tech schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Girdwood AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Girdwood AK area contractors in the trade. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Girdwood AK contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Girdwood AK, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering a Trade School near Girdwood AK?
If you are looking at a trade school near Girdwood AK, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Pick the Right Trade School
Selecting the ideal trade school near Girdwood AK is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the professional community. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
More Interesting Alaska Cities