There is an old fairy tale about a princess who was trying to find her perfect prince. Every day she sold go down to the stream and there was this talking frog. After they had developed a relationship, the frog finally talked the princess into kissing it. As she did, the frog was immediately transformed into a handsome prince. He had been under the spell of a bad witch and would only return to his real self when he got kissed.
So, what does this have to do with finding the best vocational schools in your area? Well, it means that you will have to lots of research and that you will find many “frogs” that will not turn into a prince before you find the one that is reputable and that has a program of studies right for you.
So, Just What Does Vocational School Mean?
Vocational schools exist for students who are not interested in attending a regular college. These students would rather get right down to the business of learning an employable craft or trade that will get them out into the workforce sooner and that has the potential for a long career with advancement possibilities.
And, What Does Technical School Mean?
Often the terms “vocational” and “technical” are used interchangeably, but there are some differences. Usually, vocational schools focus on programs that are wider in scope. So, you might enter a culinary arts program, or a paralegal program in a vocational school, along with many other types of programs that may be “technical” in nature. A “technical” school tends to focus on hands-on trade skills, such as auto mechanics, IT, heating and cooling, green energy, etc. In general, however, both vocational and technical schools today offer many of the same programs.
Searching for the Right School For You
Here is your step-by-step fool-proof process:
Decide what program of studies you want.
Conduct an initial search for schools in your area that offer that program.
Once you have your list, it is time to check out the accreditation and reputation of those schools. There are wide differences, and some of them will not have a good reputation. This step is absolutely critical for you.
Conduct a search using an objective review service. Do NOT go to the school’s website at this point. A good place to start is www.trade-schools.net. This is an organization that provides information on almost every vocational/technical school in the country. Search by your schools’ names. Here you will find out if the school is accredited and by whom; you will get data like what percentage of graduates were actually employed within 6 months of their graduations. And you will get general information on how much it will cost you to complete the program you want.
The Bottom Line – Find Your Prince
There are three critical features you are looking for:
Is the school accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by your state department of education? This means that it meets important standards.
Does the school offer a program about which you have passion?
Is there a high percentage of employment on the part of its graduates?
When you find those schools in your area that meet these three criteria, it is time to go see them and have a discussion.