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Not all good jobs require a college degree - career schools offer some great options
A career school is a great alternative to a traditional two or four-year college for many high school and general education graduates. There were twice as many graduates of career schools and colleges than traditional colleges and universities in New Hampshire in 2009. Career education is one of the best kept secrets in higher education.
Programs at career schools are career-focused, shorter in duration and cost less than traditional college programs. These schools have smaller classes, their programs are shorter in duration, they have faculty that are experienced and work in the fields being taught and students get a lot of individual attention.
Career schools are not a continuation of the high school learning environment. Programs and courses at career schools are for individuals who are serious and interested in gaining some skills to obtain a good paying job. In addition, these schools have an excellent track record for students finding employment in the field in which they study. Programs at some of the career schools and colleges include an externship, which provides hands-on experience to enhance an individual’s employability.
For the student who is not sure whether a traditional college is the right move right out of high school, career schools offer a great alternative because they provide education that allows an individual to gain marketable skills and to be able to earn a living in a relatively short period of time in most cases six to nine months for a day student or up to 18 months for a part-time, evening student. If an individual decides at a later time that a more traditional education is what is needed that person can continue on but has skills that they can always fall back on.
What do I need to get in?
Most all of the schools have “open enrollment” where the basic requirement for acceptance is a high school diploma or a GED and meet a minimum age requirement (at least 17 or 18 years old). Some schools may require students to submit their high school transcripts, take an entrance exam or submit SAT or ACT scores. Additional requirements may exist for particular programs. Some of these schools allow anyone to take their programs regardless of whether they have earned a high school diploma.
What programs and courses are offered?
Career schools offer a variety of programs including one and two-year diploma programs, technical certificate programs, twi-year associate degree programs, as well as short-term courses and continuing education courses. There are more than 45 different areas of concentration for technical and non-technical students to choose from in New Hampshire.
Some of these courses include auto mechanics, aviation maintenance, computer technician, computer applications specialist, criminal justice specialist, culinary arts-chef, dog trainer, electrical technician, health claims specialist, home inspector, hypnotherapist, legal assistant, licensed nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, massage therapist, medical assistant, medical records specialist, paralegal, pharmacy technician, phlebotomist, software technician and surgical technician.
When searching for a career or technical school be sure to research the programs and majors that are offered, visit the schools, ask to speak to students currently taking the programs and visit a few of the classes to get a feel for the atmosphere and content of the program. Be sure and ask about the entrance requirements for your desired area of study. Some schools are single program schools and others offer a wide range of programs.
Is career or technical education right for me?
Career and technical education programs are usually very applied in nature. There are not a lot of general education courses so the majority of time is spent learning a specific skill or trade. These schools tend to have small classes and the faculty is able to provide more individual attention to each student. In addition, the faculty generally work in the field they teach so they bring real world experience to the class room, as well. If you are uncomfortable in a large classroom setting, these schools provide an excellent option for you.
I have other responsibilities; will I have time to go to school?
Night and weekend classes are often offered, in addition to the daytime course schedule, which is ideal for students who work full-time. Most all of these schools run continuously without major breaks so that you are able to complete your program in a shorter period of time than a traditional college and at less cost.
If you want to obtain a marketable credential that leads to a job that is high in demand and you do not have the time or the money to complete a traditional two or four-year degree, your best solution may be a career or technical school. Even if you plan to obtain a more traditional degree down the road, these programs provide a recognized credential to help you to start building a career in a field of your interest until you are ready to pursue that traditional degree.
Can I afford to attend a career school or college?
Programs offered at the career schools and colleges are less costly than traditional two and four-year colleges and there are a number of options students can choose in paying for their education. In some cases a student can qualify for federal grants and loans, others will find varying arrangements established by the school of interest. Each individual should have a plan for how they can pay for their education and to work with the school. Money is never a good excuse for not pursuing a good education. Check out the many options available to students. Do not let this deter you from pursuing your dreams.
For more information on specific programs, go to the New Hampshire Council for Professional Education website at www.nhcpe.org or call 580-5395.
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult Jul 26, 2011.