How to Choose a Vocational School near Sulphur Louisiana
Deciding to work in a new profession and enroll in a trade school near Sulphur LA are important decisions that will greatly influence your long term career. However with numerous trade schools to select from, exactly how do you go about identifying the right one? Not only do you need to make certain that you will receive the extensive training necessary to succeed in your new profession, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. Many potential students make the mistake of choosing a vocational school simply because the campus is nearest to their residence or place of employment. Others may be attracted to the school that has the most affordable tuition. Naturally the cost and location of the programs are critical factors when assessing vocational school options, but they should not be the sole ones. Other variables including reputation and accreditation of the schools are important as well. So prior to beginning your evaluations and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions you should be asking in order to get the information to make a final choice. We will cover several of those questions later in this post. But first, let’s look at a few of the vocation options that are offered as well as the availability of online schools.
Trade School Training Options near Sulphur LA
There are an abundance of professions to select from in vocational schools that offer gratifying and good paying careers. Perhaps you have already decided on one that you have for years desired to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always had fun working on your car and have given thought to using that ability to make a living as an automotive tech. Or perhaps a family member has had a long and successful career in a certain vocation or trade and you would love to follow in his or her footsteps. Whatever your inspiration is for entering a trade, there is probably a program offered that will give you the training that you require. Following is just a modest representation of the trade school programs that are offered in the Sulphur LA area.
- Automotive Technician
- 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 trade, type of credential and school. A number of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will necessitate months or even two or more years of training. All of these elements should be taken into account before selecting a vocation and school.
Online Vocational Schools
Schools available online have become very popular with Sulphur LA students and more and more accredited programs are becoming available. Even though learning online is a very convenient and accessible way to earn a certificate or degree, it may not be the ideal option for all trades or vocations. For example, training to operate a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that must be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain aspects of the training can be appropriate for online training, for instance learning driving and safety regulations for trucking schools or studying metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welder schools. A number of programs will incorporate online instruction with on-campus practical training, such as for electrician or welding schools. So it is essential to ask before enrolling in an online school for any trade if there is an adequate amount of hands-on training devoted to the curriculum. One means to help ensure that a vocational school program is both appropriate for online education and delivers in-depth practical training is to check that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are appropriate for training online, it can be a convenient way for individuals with time constraints to learn a new vocation.
What to Ask Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many trade schools in the Sulphur LA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Sulphur LA area trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trade school near Sulphur LA is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. Having said that, even the top schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple 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 lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Sulphur LA area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Sulphur LA area contractors in the field. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Sulphur LA contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Louisiana and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sulphur LA, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering a Trade School near Sulphur LA?
If you are looking at a trade school near Sulphur LA, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
Sulphur is named for the sulfur mines that were operated in the area in the 1900s. In 1867, Professor Eugene W. Hilgard, an experienced geologist who was prospecting for oil and other minerals, conducted exploratory borings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and discovered sulfur in the caprock of a salt dome. However, the sulfur was beneath several hundred feet of muck and quicksand containing deadly hydrogen sulfide gas, which made mining extremely hazardous. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to sink conventional mining shafts in the 1870s and 1880s resulted in the loss of many lives.
In 1890, the German immigrant Herman Frasch invented and patented the Frasch Process of mining sulfur, using concentric pipes to pump superheated water into the ground, liquefy the mineral, and force the liquid to the surface with compressed air. The first molten sulfur was brought to the surface on Christmas Eve of 1894. Sulfur soon began to be mined on an industrial scale, with the molten mineral allowed to solidify and dry in enormous vats 100 by 400 feet, then blasted and hauled by rail to the Sabine River for shipment. Frasch's invention greatly facilitated sulfur mining, and the Union Sulphur Company, a joint venture of Dr. Frasch and the American Sulphur Company that owned the land, sparked a period of booming growth in the decades that followed. The elementary school on South Huntington Street in downtown Sulphur is named after Frasch.
With the addition of the Cities Service (Citgo) oil refinery in 1943, the areas of Maplewood and Hollywood were developed to house refinery workers. The Sulphur area is still mostly dependent on the oil refineries and petrochemical plants for employment.
Pick the Right Vocational School
Enrolling in the ideal trade school near Sulphur LA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the vocation of your choice. As we have addressed in this article, you need to select a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the profession. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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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