Archive for the ‘College Planning’ Category

A Vocational Education: An Exciting, Fresh Start for Students

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Thanks to Arizona education and business leaders, vocational education has seen a dramatic change in its curriculum and its general perception by both the public and educational system. It wasn’t too long ago a technical schooling was seen as no more than a means to clean the schools of the academically lazy and ‘bad’ students.

Today, these schools are viewed as exceptional jumping points for strong careers in a number of industries. They’ve become a respected part of economic recovery and development and an extraordinary opportunity for our young to train for welding, nursing assistants, auto technicians, machinists, electricians and more. Today, students take nationally recognized exams and get accredited certifications. The statistics between available jobs and qualified applicants in the fields these schools cover is expected to expand over the next 10 years, especially as baby boomers retire and the technology proceeds to advance. Vocational schools are preparing high school students today for that contingency.

Training programs are more focused and practical than in the past, when they were used to fill seats with troubled teens. Today, these schools are getting more and more applicants that are looking for vocational training. They are aware this training could cost thousands of dollars at private trade schools and community colleges. Under the right circumstances, many vocational schools can offer tuition free schooling.

In some circles, a vocational education is still stigmatized. There are those in the educational system that believe a high school graduation to college path is the only way. Some parents are concerned that this training limits a child’s potential and vision for the future. Neither view takes into account that the next step in any student’s life isn’t necessarily college.

Students often realize the benefits of having a skill straight out of high school to present to potential employers. A number of vocational programs actually have waiting lists. And college should never be counted out. High school grads that move into good jobs can always decide to attend college later. Only now, they will focus as well as have the opportunity to pay for it, alleviating burdens on family.

Far too many of our high school students are graduating into minimum wage positions. Too many of them accept that as their station. There should be encouragement to get into programs. Certification as a nursing assistant can lead to other opportunities in the medical field, such as Head Nurse or Dental Assistant. This would require going back to school and potentially increasing their salary by tens of thousands of dollars. But first, these students need to get their foot in the door with the proper training and support.

A good program can also help our students develop discipline. By mastering technical skills in a focused group environment, they learn to show up on time, become team players and demonstrate initiative through projects.

If you know of a high school student that is in need of career advice or hasn’t really decided where the next step after graduation is going to be, or if their plan is to get a job straight out high school, help them learn about vocational schooling. It’s not the end of their future, it’s the beginning.

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Receive help paying for technical schools as a minority student

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Receive help paying for technical schools as a minority student

Whether you’re African American, of Hispanic descent or considered to be a member of another minority, you have the right to further your education. Of course, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially for those of you who have families to support and bills to pay. Fortunately, scholarships designed especially for minority students do exist.

So if you’ve been concerned as to how you would pay for your time in technical schools, worry less and consider some of the options available to you.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

Are you African American or Hispanic American? What about Asian Pacific Islander American? Maybe you’re considered to be American Indian – Alaska Native? If you’re any one of these ethnicities, you may be eligible to receive help paying for your education through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

What are the requirements?

Aside from being a member of one of those minorities, you need to have a high school grade point average of 3.3 or a GED. You’re also going to want to have three separate forms filled out and submitted by the appropriate dates. They include the Nominee Personal Information Form, the Nominator Form and the Recommender Form.

That’s right, before you can become a Gates Millennium Scholar you need to be nominated. Unfortunately, your spouse, kids and friends are not allowed to nominate you. As you’re looking for helping covering the cost of your education, program officials want to get a sense of the kind of student you’ll be. This means you may have to track down a principal, teacher or guidance counselor who knows you well enough to suggest you.

How much do scholars receive?

Ultimately, the amount of financial assistance you receive will be determined based on how great your need for a little help actually is. However, it’s worth knowing that since its founding in 1999, this particular program has helped more than 16,000 students and provided over $614,600,000 in award money.

Other options

Of course, scholarships are not always guaranteed. That’s why these awards are not your only opportunity for financial assistance. If money’s tight, consider a few of your other options, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Just make sure you pay close attention to your state’s deadlines, as they differ. In order to figure out when you’ve got to have your application in by, just head to the FAFSA website and use its deadline search tool.

You may also want to consider taking out a loan. Just remember that unlike scholarships, you’ll be expected to repay the money you borrowed at some point, usually with interest.

Are you a member of a minority who will need help paying for technical training schools? If so, have you come across any other scholarships or opportunities for funding? If you have, let us know in the comment space below.

How technical schools differ from colleges and universities

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

How technical schools differ from colleges and universities

If you feel like you’ve reached a dead end in terms of your career, or you’re simply looking to give your life an overhaul, a return to school might be in order. Once you make this decision, you’ll have to start weighing your options regarding the type of academic environment you could see yourself in.

There are four-year colleges and universities, and there are technical schools. If your knowledge of academia ended when you graduated from high school, you may assume that one institution is no different from the next. While there’s certainly some overlap, there is a world of difference between traditional colleges and technical schools. Here are a few of the biggest differences:

The programs

If you just spend a few minutes comparing the course catalogs from a state university and a technical school, you’ll see just how different these two types of settings actually are. Do you want to study philosophy or sociology? If you do, you’re going to want to direct your attention toward colleges and universities. Now, if small engine repair or welding training is more your cup of tea, technical training schools are going to be your best bet.

Do you want to enroll in school and know that everything you do is bringing you one step closer to a new profession? If the answer is yes, then again, technical schools are a good place to do this. At these institutions, the time you spend in class will often be devoted to hands-on training so that you acquire the skills you can use soon after you graduate.

Life in college and university classrooms is a little different. You’ll take a lot of courses on your way to earning a degree, and not all of them will have a lot to do with your major. For instance, you may be working toward an English degree but be required to take a class in economics or art history.

Diplomas versus degrees

Another big difference you’ll find is that people typically go to college to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. While some technical schools do offer associate degree programs, they typically provide diplomas and certificates. As a result, if you want to become an electrician, you probably don’t need to earn a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, anybody who wants to become a doctor won’t get anywhere with a diploma alone.

Different lifestyle

For students graduating high school, part of the appeal of attending a college or university is the lifestyle that comes with it. Many of these individuals will be living away from home for the first time in their life in an on-campus dorm. As technical training schools tend to attract older students, those enrolled tend to commute to and from class.

Based on this information, what type of academic setting could you see yourself learning in? Let us know in the comment space below.

Make a name for yourself while attending photography schools

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Make a name for yourself while attending photography schools

Think you’re pretty good at taking pictures? You may want to consider how enrolling in photography schools can help you take your skills to a professional level. Just like an acclaimed photographer, you may even have a chance to have your work featured in a show or two before you even graduate.

If you’re serious about a career in photography, here are a few reasons why taking photography school courses can help you make a name for yourself in this field:

Network with fellow photographers

Let’s say you choose to go to a large college or university. Sure, you’ll have a few classmates that share the same major as you, but you’ll also meet a lot of people who have a completely different set of interests and career aspirations. When you attend classes at a school dedicated entirely to the art of photography, you’ve just got a higher chance of hitting it off with these individuals.

Think about all the conversations about photography you can have before, during and after class. Furthermore, your classmates may be aware of certain opportunities that you hadn’t heard about. Maybe there’s an upcoming photography exhibition that’s looking for local submissions. Or, perhaps a classmate’s relative is getting married and looking for a team of photographers to cover their wedding from every angle.

Teachers can help

If photography school instructors have been teaching students about this art form for a long time, there’s a good chance they’ve made their fair share of contacts. As a result, you may be able to hear about opportunities to submit your work to an art gallery, magazine or newspaper. The more students they have helped, the greater the odds they know a few tricks to getting their work selected.

Can you think of any other ways enrolling in photography schools can give you an early start to your career? If you do, let us know in the comment space below.

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Think outside the box with a certificate in court reporting

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Think outside the box with a certificate in court reporting

You could be forgiven for thinking that after earning a certificate in court reporting, your career options are limited to, well, court reporting. However, this is not the case. The skills you’ll acquire during your time studying this field in technical training schools can be applied to other career paths, such as closed captioning. So, what does this job entail?

Making broadcasts accessible

Ever found yourself waiting in line at the doctor’s office while a TV sits quietly in the corner? Did you notice the text at the bottom of the screen? Well, those are closed captions. Similar in function to subtitles, this text enables viewers with hearing difficulties to follow along with their favorite shows, from news bulletins to the Sunday morning matinee.

Now, you might think that this field is so specialized that there can’t be many jobs in closed captioning. This is most definitely not the case. According to Boston-based news channel WGBH, approximately 24 million Americans suffer from hearing loss that prevents them from hearing normally. Closed captions allow these individuals to enjoy their favorite shows, even if they don’t have hearing aids.

In addition to those suffering from hearing problems, many people learning English as a second language find watching TV with closed captions to be a very useful way of learning common words and phrases.

What does close captioning involve?

You might be wondering what the difference between closed captions and subtitles is. Although they may seem similar at first, there are several subtle differences that make closed captions much more effective and useful to individuals who suffer from hearing loss.

Firstly, it’s not possible to subtitle live programming. This is where skilled closed captioning professionals come in. After you’ve studied and mastered the art of court reporting at technical schools, you’ll be able to use a stenograph machine to interpret the words and sounds on-screen into clear, readable text. While some television networks use an automated computer system to do this work, this approach isn’t as reliable or accurate as a skilled closed captioning professional, and many stations still choose to use human operators.

You may come across the terms “online” and “offline” captioning once you’ve finished up at court reporting schools and are looking for your first job. Online captioning doesn’t have anything to do with the internet – it means that the show is being broadcast live, whereas offline captioning indicates that the program has been prerecorded.

Looking for your first gig

When you’re trying to find work as a closed captioner, you’ll probably be tested by potential employers on your spelling and grammar skills. If you’ve successfully completed a training program in court reporting at technical schools, you stand a better chance of getting hired than someone who can’t operate a stenograph machine.

Does a career in closed captioning appeal to you? Let us know why in the comment space below.

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