How to Choose a Vocational School near Wausau Wisconsin
Deciding to begin a new profession and enroll in a vocational school near Wausau WI are important decisions that will profoundly influence your future career. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about locating the best one? Not only do you need to make sure that you will get the complete training required to succeed in your new field, but also that the school is reputable and well regarded. A number of students make the mistake of selecting a trade school simply because the campus is closest to their residence or where the work. Others may be attracted to the school that has the lowest tuition. Naturally the location and cost of the training are significant factors when analyzing vocational school options, but they must not be the sole ones. Other factors 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 review several of those questions later in this post. But to start with, let’s look at a few of the vocation options that are offered as well as the availability of online schools.
Vocational School Training Options near Wausau WI
There are a number of professions to select from in vocational schools that offer fulfilling and good paying careers. Possibly you have already decided on one that you have for years desired to pursue. For instance, maybe you have always had fun working on your car and have given thought to utilizing that ability to earn a living as an automotive tech. Or perhaps a member of the family has had a prosperous career in a particular vocation or trade and you would love to follow in her or his footsteps. No matter what your motivation is for entering a trade, there is undoubtedly a program offered that will give you the training you need. Following is merely a small representation of the trade school programs that are available in the Wausau WI area.
- Auto Mechanic
- Heating And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
Each of the programs will have differing completion times and costs depending on the trade, type of credential and school. Many of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will call for months or even 2 or more years of training. Each of these elements need to be taken into account prior to choosing a vocation and school.
Online Vocational Schools
Schools available online have become more attractive with Wausau WI students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. Even though online learning is a readily available and practical way to earn a certificate or degree, it might not be the best option for every vocation or trade. For example, learning to drive a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is training how to weld. These are skills that have to be mastered through practical training and by doing it, not by reading about it or watching videos. But certain aspects of the training may be appropriate for online education, for example studying driving and safety guidelines for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. Some programs will blend online education with on-campus lab work, for example for electrician or welding schools. So it is essential to find out before choosing an online program for any trade if there is a suitable amount of hands-on training allocated to the curriculum. One means to help establish est that a trade school program is both suitable for online learning and provides in-depth practical training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are appropriate for online training, it can be a convenient way for students with limited time to learn a new trade.
What to Ask Trade School Programs
After you have decided on the vocation and type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous trade schools in the Wausau WI area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous Wausau WI area trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a vocational school near Wausau WI is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 best of schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications.
Completion Rates. Ask the tech schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Wausau WI area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many vocational programs are taught together 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 considering have referring relationships with Wausau WI area companies in the field. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment 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, talk to the specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Wausau WI contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Wisconsin and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Wausau WI, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering a Trade School near Wausau WI?
If you are looking at a trade school near Wausau WI, following is some interesting and relevant information regarding the location of your future school campus that may help you in making your decision.
As of the 2010 census, Wausau had a population of 39,106. It is the core city of the Wausau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes all of Marathon County and had a population of 134,063 at the 2010 census.
This area was occupied for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Ojibwe (also known in the United States as the Chippewa) occupied it in the period of European encounter. They had a lucrative fur trade for decades with French colonists and French Canadians. After the French and Indian War this trade was dominated by British-American trappers from the eastern seaboard.
The Wisconsin River first drew European-American settlers to the area during the mid-19th century as they migrated west into the Great Lakes region following construction of the Erie Canal in New York State. This provided a route for products from the region to the large New York and other eastern markets. The area had been called "Big Bull Flats" or "Big Bull Falls" by French explorers, who were the first Europeans here. They named it for the long rapids in the river, which created many bubbles, called bulle in French. By an 1836 treaty with the United States, the Ojibwe ceded much of their lands in the area to federal ownership. It was sold to non-Native peoples. Wausau, from Ojibwe “waasa” means "a faraway place" or "a place from which one can see far away" in the Ojibwe language.
Pick the Right Vocational School
Finding the right trade school near Wausau WI is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the profession. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
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