When considering your education path when you graduate high school, are you thinking about career college? If a clear career path is what you are looking for, then this is absolutely the right choice. But you may be wondering how to determine which career college is right for you. After all, you don’t want to risk wasting valuable time and money at the wrong school when the right one is crucial to your future job success.
We’ve put together a list of the top five things you should consider when comparing potential career colleges where you will spend the next year getting ready to launch your career.
If you are choosing a career college, you have more than likely already selected your future career. Naturally, the first thing you will want to assure yourself of is that the schools you are looking at have a program in your desired field. Career colleges are often the ideal destination for those interested in programs such as the HVAC Technician Program, Electrician Training Program, or Business Office Administration.
While career colleges are less expensive than universities, being able to finance your education is still an important issue for most students. Make sure to read everything that you are given, and talk to professionals at the school that can help you make the smartest decision-making choices for financial aid.
ACCREDITATION & LICENSING
Licensing and accreditation of a career college shows that the school meets specific educational and legal requirements. Licensing is handled through state agencies, while accreditation is normally done through a private education agency or association. These bodies evaluate the program and verify that it satisfies the prerequisites for a particular body of knowledge, recognized standards, and/or educational guidelines. These are both important distinctions because your professional licensure or diploma may only be considered valid if you attended an accredited institution.
CAREER & PLACEMENT SERVICES
Your education is step one on your career path, but in order to jump into your first entry-level job, you’ll want to see whether your potential career colleges include job placement or career services. Before you make a significant investment of time and money, ask whether you will have help with job placement after graduation. How many graduates from each school are placed or helped to find work in their chosen fields? What other types of career preparation are available to you?
ADMISSION & COMPLETION RATES
As much as you are evaluating these career colleges, remember that they are also evaluating you. Look into admission requirements before applying—these will likely be different for each program and school. You may need to submit specific paperwork or meet certain thresholds for test scores, work experience, and other prerequisites. You should also look into how many students who are accepted complete the program.
ADDITIONALLY: WHAT WILL THE CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE BE LIKE?
There are several other things you will want to consider including the instructors that teach your chosen program, class size, lab/hands-on training opportunities, and available resources.
Look into the qualifications for the instructors at each school you are considering. Are they experienced in their fields and ready to share their on-the-job knowledge? Is coursework practical and relevant to the real-world? What are the class sizes like? Some people learn better in smaller groups. What type of hands-on learning will be available to you at each of the schools you are looking at? Practice and experience are critical to the types of jobs that career college graduates will be heading into.
START BUILDING A FUTURE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF
Once you’ve looked into all of these critical areas, you should have a strong idea whether each of the schools you are considering meets your criteria. Finally, take a tour or talk to someone at each school. Oftentimes this may be the deciding factor—meeting and seeing the real students, instructors, and staff on the campus where you are thinking about enrolling may help you settle on the perfect school for you!