How to Select the Right Vocational School Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Deciding to begin a new occupation and enroll in a trade school near Fairbanks AK are important decisions that will greatly influence your long term career. However with so many trade schools to choose from, just how do you undertake identifying the right one? Not only do you have to make certain that you will get the comprehensive training required to be successful in your new profession, but also that the school is highly regarded and reputable. Many potential students make the mistake of selecting a vocational school just because the campus is nearest to their residence or where the work. Others might be attracted to the one that charges the most affordable tuition. Naturally the location and cost of the programs are critical factors when analyzing vocational school options, but they should not be the only ones. Additional considerations including accreditation and the reputation of the schools are important as well. So before you begin evaluating and comparing trade schools, you will need to know what questions you should be asking in order to get the information to make a final choice. We will cover some of those questions later in this article. But to start with, let’s talk about some of the vocation options that are available as well as the accessibility of online schools.
Trade School Career Options near Fairbanks AK
There are a number of trades to choose from in vocational schools that offer fulfilling and high paying careers. Possibly you have already chosen one that you have long wished to pursue. For instance, perhaps you have always enjoyed working on your car and have considered using that talent to make a living as an auto mechanic. Or perhaps a member of the family has had a long and successful career in a particular trade or vocation and you would like to follow in her or his footsteps. No matter what your inspiration is for going into a trade, there is probably a program offered that will provide the training you need. Following is just a small representation of the trade school programs that are available in the Fairbanks AK area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Technician
- Construction Management
All programs will have varying costs and completion times based upon the trade, credential earned and school. A number of the programs may be completed in just weeks, while others will necessitate months or even 2 or more years of training. All of these factors should be considered prior to choosing a vocation and school.
Trade Schools Online
Schools available online have become very popular with Fairbanks AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. Even though learning online is a very convenient and accessible way to earn a certificate or degree, it might not be the ideal option for all trades or vocations. For example, learning to operate a tractor trailer is not something that you can do online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that must be acquired through hands on training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain elements of the training may be suitable for online education, for example studying driving and safety guidelines for trucking schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. Many programs will combine online instruction with on campus lab work, for example for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is essential to find out before choosing an online school for any trade if there is an adequate amount of hands-on training devoted to the course of study. One way to help establish est that a trade school program is both appropriate for online education and provides in-depth hands-on training is to verify that it’s accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). For those trades that are suitable for training online, it can be a practical way for students with time constraints to learn a new vocation.
What to Ask Trade Schools
After you have decided on the vocation and type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many technical schools in the Fairbanks AK area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accredited. Many Fairbanks AK area technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a vocational school near Fairbanks AK is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. On the other hand, even the top schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the tech schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Fairbanks AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Fairbanks AK area companies in the field. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbanks AK company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Mechanical Technician School Fairbanks Alaska
Picking the right trade school near Fairbanks AK is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the profession. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. You initially came to this website because of your interest in Mechanical Technician School and wanting more information on the topic Vocational School Courses. However, if you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
Other Alaska Hard Working Locations
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2018 estimates put the population of the city proper at 31,516, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 97,121, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old, with older remains found at deeper levels. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as frigid temperatures precluded berry gathering . In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
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