Vocational schools can be a good alternative for those seeking a nontraditional approach to higher education. They offer programs designed to quickly train students for specific industries such as skilled trades, healthcare, or business. They supplement career-focused programs with hands-on education to help prepare students for the workforce upon completion.
With so much at stake, it is important for prospective students to choose the program that is right for them. Thankfully, with a bit of guided research, they can narrow their choices and choose the best program for their needs.
6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Vocational School
Whether prospective students have schools in mind or are exploring options, these questions can point them in the right direction.
1: What are your interests and goals?
Before researching schools, prospective students should decide what career path they want to pursue. We recommend students begin by making a list of their interests. This can provide an overview of where a student’s passions lie and which industries are best aligned with these interests.
Those with a passion for technology and coding may be interested in vocational schools with strong information technology (IT) programs. Those wanting to improve the health and wellness of others may consider schools with a wide range of healthcare programs. Although a prospective student’s interests may lie in multiple industries, try narrowing this list to interests with commonalities.
Choosing common interests can give prospective students an idea of the programs they need to reach their goals.
2: What programs are offered and do they align with your goals?
Once prospective students have identified their preferred industry, they can begin researching schools with programs related to this industry. As they compare the differences between programs, they can gain a better understanding of their career goals. Each industry contains several specialties which may appeal more to some than others.
For example, students interested in information technology may discover they enjoy troubleshooting PCs and dislike data analysis software. These students may excel in IT Support or IT Management programs instead of Data Management programs. Examining the programs each school offers can help individuals clarify their options and select programs that closely align with their goals.
3: Are the schools or programs accredited?
As prospective students search for vocational schools with their desired programs, they can narrow this list by checking for accreditation. Accreditation signifies the programs were reviewed by peers within the industry and meets the accreditors standards.
4: What is the tuition?
Some students may choose vocational schools to reduce their amount of student loans. While students may be eligible for grants or scholarships, they may still worry about their repayment amount. Comparing the tuition of prospective schools may help students feel more confident in their final decision.
5: What is the instructor to student ratio?
Smaller class sizes can allow students to receive ample individual attention from their instructors. This can help students better engage with the material and quickly receive additional support without compromising the education of others. This allows instructors time to cover related concepts to enrich each student’s understanding of the industry and material.
Smaller class sizes can help students form interpersonal relationships with their instructors and peers. This provides an opportunity for students to confidently expand and nurture their professional network as they study. It also allows students to develop and refine valuable soft skills important for success in the workforce.
Selecting vocational schools with smaller class sizes can help students make the most of their education.
6: Does the school offer career services support?
For most individuals, school serves as a gateway to the workforce. While obtaining technical skills are important, they alone may not help graduates pass the interview. Career services can help students make the best impression before, during, and after their interviews.
Career services teams can guide students on how to write and revise their resume. They can also perform mock interviews with students to help improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They can provide leads on potential openings based on a student’s interests and may help schedule upcoming interviews.
While vocational schools cannot guarantee employment, their career services team can help graduates during their job hunt.
Pro Tip: If possible, attend an open house or virtual tour.
We understand students may not be able to physically visit every school they are considering. However, if a school offers a virtual tour or an open house, consider making time to attend. These are excellent opportunities to speak with faculty members, tour the campus, and learn more about their available resources.
Open houses may help students torn between two options decide which program is a better fit for their needs.
Vocational schools are a way for students to complete their education and prepare to enter their chosen industry. With research and understanding of their needs, students can find the school and program best suited to their goals. Selecting accredited vocational schools with small class sizes and career services support are important things to consider.
Smaller class sizes can help students make the most of their short time within their program. They can also help students build their professional network and better engage with coursework.
Career services teams help graduates develop and refine their interview skills, so they can accurately represent themselves during interviews. They can guide graduates on how to write and update their resume to catch the eye of potential employers. They can also provide leads for openings related to a graduate’s interests as well as upcoming job fairs.
Choosing the appropriate vocational school and program can seem daunting, but it is not impossible. Keeping the above questions in mind can help prospective students feel confident they have chosen the school and program that is right for them.
Want to learn more about Miller-Motte’s programs? Call us at (800) 705-9182 or submit this form for more information.