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Everything About Trade Schools

Part 2 of 2

Selecting the Right School
Choosing a school can feel overwhelming when you start looking at all the options. Here are a few considerations put out by the Federal Trade and other sources:

Placement rate - How many graduates find jobs in their career field? How long does it take for students to land a job?

Student completion rate - What percentage of students complete their chosen program? This statistic may also be referred to as graduation rate or retention rate.

Facilities - Are the facilities modern? Do they have the latest technology? Our world changes fast. Trade school graduates need up-to-date skills and information. Facilities will reflect the extent to which the school has kept up with changing times.

Services - Does the school provide guidance, job placement, internships, or co-ops?

Cost - What is the total cost including "hidden" expenses? You will want to add up tuition, fees, books, etc. Find what financial assistance is available or accepted?

Debt on graduation - What is the average student debt carried by graduates?

Licensure and accreditation - Is the school licensed and/or accredited by a legitimate organization? Attendance at a trade school that is not accredited may impact your ability to secure the desired license or certificate.

Trade school admission policies are designed to guarantee that the students who are accepted into the program can have a strong rate of success. Remember, the school is judged by its graduation rate. They want to get students into their programs that can and will finish. When you've found the school and program that are right for you, you'll be able to navigate the admissions process. Here are some steps you can anticipate:

Find the requirements - Educational requirements vary widely from program to program. The most common requirement is high school graduation or GED. For some programs, there may be no requirement; for others, a bachelor's degree may be required.

Complete the application - An application can be found online for the school of your choice. Highlight your experience in the field and your ability to finish what you start.

Get your transcript or test score - You'll need proof of your high school graduation or GED equivalent. With an internet search, you'll be able to find the contact information for your high school or testing center.

Interview - Some schools require an interview with an admissions representative. When you're passionate about your career choice and have some interest and knowledge in the field, that will come through in the interview.

Take the admissions test - The admissions test is designed to make sure you can succeed in the program you've chosen. They aren't going to test your knowledge of present progressive verbs or battles of the Civil War. They will assess reading and math skills. Internet search the admissions test for your school. You may find sample questions or a list of content areas.

Get letters of recommendation - Letters from someone in the field who can speak for your interest and experience are the most helpful.

Meet the deadlines - Your school may follow a traditional school year with start times for classes. You need to get through the application process in order to get into class by the required date.

Whether you're starting from scratch or already have some job experience, trade school can help you secure the skills and certification you need for high-demand jobs.