How to Choose a Vocational School near Smyrna Georgia
Deciding to enter into a new occupation and enroll in a vocational school near Smyrna GA are important decisions that will greatly influence your long term career. However with numerous trade schools to pick from, just how do you approach finding the best one? Not only do you need to confirm that you will get the complete training needed to be successful in your new profession, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. A number of potential students make the error of enrolling in a vocational school simply because the campus is nearest to their home or place of employment. Others may gravitate to the school that charges the most affordable tuition. Of course the location and cost of the training are significant considerations when evaluating trade school options, but they can not be the sole ones. Additional considerations such as reputation and accreditation of the schools are important as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions to ask so you can get the information to make a final choice. We will cover some of those questions later in this post. But first, let’s talk about a few of the trade options that are available as well as the accessibility of online schools.
Vocational School Training Options near Smyrna GA
There are a number of trades to choose from in vocational schools that offer gratifying and high paying careers. Maybe you have already selected one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always had fun working on your car and have considered utilizing that talent to earn a living as an automotive tech. Or perhaps a family member has had a prosperous career in a specific vocation or trade and you would love to follow in her or his footsteps. Whatever your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is probably a program offered that will give you the training you need. Below is just a modest representation of the vocational training programs that are available in the Smyrna GA area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Manager
All programs will have differing completion times and costs based upon the trade, type of credential and school. Many of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will require several months or even two or more years of schooling. Each of these elements should be taken into account before choosing a trade and a school.
Online Trade Schools
Trade Schools online have become very popular with Smyrna GA students and a growing number of accredited programs are being offered. Even though online learning is a very convenient and accessible way to obtain a certificate or degree, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For example, training to drive a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that have to be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain aspects of the training may be suitable for online learning, for example learning driving and safety guidelines for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. A number of programs will incorporate online instruction with on campus practical training, for example for HVAC or plumbing 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 means to help establish est that a vocational school program is both appropriate for online studying and provides comprehensive practical training is to confirm that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for online training, it can be a convenient way for students with limited time to learn a new trade.
Concerns to Ask Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the trade and type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous trade schools in the Smyrna GA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Numerous Smyrna GA area trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trade school near Smyrna GA is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. Having said that, even the top schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications.
Completion Rates. Ask the trade schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Smyrna GA area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous training programs are taught in conjunction 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 businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Smyrna GA area contractors in the trade. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Smyrna GA contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Georgia and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Smyrna GA, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering a Trade School near Smyrna GA?
If you are looking at a trade school near Smyrna GA, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Smyrna is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States. It is located northwest of Atlanta, and is in the inner ring of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 51,271. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in 2013 to be 53,438. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell MSA, which is included in the Atlanta—Athens-Clarke—Sandy Springs CSA. Smyrna grew by 28% between the years 2000 and 2012. It is historically one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Georgia, and one of the most densely populated cities in the metro area.
Pioneers began settling the area in 1832. By the late 1830s, a religious encampment called Smyrna Camp Ground had become a popular travel destination and was well known throughout Georgia. It was named by Greeks for the Biblical city of Smyrna, modern day Izmir in Turkey, the home of the famous Christian martyr Polycarp. After the completion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1842 the area began to grow. It was known by several names until 1872 – Varner's Station, Ruff's Siding, Neal Dow and Ruff's Station. The city was incorporated with the name Smyrna in 1872.
Two Civil War battles occurred in the area, the Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground and the Battle of Ruff's Mill, both on July 4, 1864. The area's businesses, homes and 1849 covered bridge (since rebuilt and still in use today) were burned by Sherman's troops.
Select the Right Trade School
Finding the right trade school near Smyrna GA is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a trade 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 hands-on training and state-of-the-art 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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