Short term career training programs are a good fit for many students
A four-year college is not for everyone. It can be too costly for many people. Others feel that four years is too long to wait to get into the job market. And still others may not be interested in the academic demands of a four-year degree. If you are looking for an alternative to college, you might want to consider other options.
One possibility is enrolling in a career-focused training program. Short-term career programs can provide the hands-on training needed to get started in a career in as little as one or two years—and sometimes even faster. Depending on your interests, you may be able to find a program that fits you. Within just a short period of time, you could gain marketable skills that give you an opportunity for better work.
Some career fields that have short-term training programs are allied health and healthcare jobs. At the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida, we offer short-term healthcare programs in the following fields:
All of these programs are designed to help motivated individuals get hands-on training and gain the skills they need to begin working in the field of allied health, healthcare, and nursing. But how do you know a school is right for you? To find out more about choosing a career school, read on.
Things to know about picking a career school
If short-term training sounds good to you, then take a moment to think about what you need to know about choosing a career school, vocational program, or trade program. In addition to these tips, Forbes recently published an online article detailing some important pointers about choosing a strong short-term program:
1. Know the field you are choosing.
Do your research on the field you are choosing to make sure it will provide the kind of job tasks and wages you are looking for. A great place to learn about job descriptions and potential wage/salary information is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor.
2. Look at the competition.
When selecting a short-term training program, you may have options at private career schools near you, vocational schools, and community colleges, as well as some online options. Be sure to look at all your options before choosing one.
3. Look at financial aid or financial assistance possibilities.
For each school you are considering, meet with a financial aid/assistance counselor to determine how much tuition you will be paying and whether you will need to take out loans. Be sure not to sign any papers at these meetings—just gather information so that you can compare each school with other options.
4. Look for schools and programs that are accredited.
Accreditation means that the school or program has met certain standards of a third-party accrediting organization. Ask the schools about their accreditation, and then call the accrediting agency to make sure the school’s accreditation is up-to-date. You can check if the accrediting agency is well-regarded at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
5. If you are taking out a loan, find out about payments first.
Before taking out any loan, find out what your loan payments are going to be after you graduate. Remember that you will be paying interest on your loans, so you want to be sure that you don’t get surprised by your monthly payments after graduation.
6. Reach out to alumni.
One great way to find out about a school is to reach out to alumni of that school. They can tell you how well the training prepared them for the workplace. To find alumni, talk to an admissions counselor at the school or search for alumni on LinkedIn.
7. Find out the school’s reputation.
Some schools in your area may have strong reputations, and may have developed working relationships with employers, while others may not have as strong a relationship with potential employers. Do online searches to determine the school’s reputation. Find out how long they have been in operation. Ask about their job placement rate and the types of jobs that graduates find.
8. Don’t get pressured.
Some schools may pressure you to enroll quickly. Don’t let this pressure get to you. Be sure to take your time to find the program and the school that’s right for you.
Questions to ask at a career school visit
In addition to these pointers from Forbes, you may also want to develop a list of questions that you can ask when you visit each potential school. The Federal Trade Commission offers a list of questions to help you choose a career or vocational school. Some questions might include:
1. Are the facilities up to date?
You will want to find a program that has up-to-date facilities and equipment, so that you are learning on the same types of instruments that will be used in your new career field.
2. What is the typical class size?
Some people do okay with large lecture hall classes, while other students prefer smaller class sizes with more one-on-one instruction. You want to choose a school with the most chance for you to succeed.
3. How is the teaching?
Find out if the instructors have real-world experience in the field they are teaching. Find out about their teaching experience. Ask if you observe a class to see how it feels to you. See if you can talk with current students or alumni to ask them about their experience at the school.
4. What is the program’s success rate?
Be sure to ask about the program’s success rate. The admissions officer should be able to tell you about the completion rate for the program and the job placement after graduation. These figures will help you decide if the school could work for you.
5. What is the total cost of attending the school?
The tuition is one thing. But there may be additional costs as well, such as books, equipment, uniforms, or other fees you may not know about. Before deciding on a school, be sure you know what all the costs will be at each school you are considering.
6. How does the program fit in with my life and goals?
Not all programs are created alike. Find out how long your program is, what the class schedule is, whether night classes are offered, how many other students are in the program, if there are internship placements, and if there is a Career Development office to help you get started in your new career. All of these things can add value to your experience.
By using these questions to do your research, you should be able to get a better sense of the kind of school you are selecting. For residents of the Melbourne, Florida area, we hope you consider our programs at the Harris Casel Institute. For more info, fill out our simple online form or call us at 321-676-4066. We’d love to help launch your new career!