Archive for the ‘Technical Schools’ 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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What It Means To Be Career Ready

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The Career Readiness Partner Council recently released a statement titled Building Blocks of Change: What it Means to be Career Ready. Multiple business, human interest, policy and educational organizations have endorsed the document, which explains what being career ready entails.

Key factors for being ready to pursue a productive career include: knowledge in technology, academics and employability, as well as skill sets and attitude as being important. Here are some of the broad skills that are considered necessary for becoming globally competent.


It’s common for people to switch careers. Emerging technology, unreliable markets and self-run businesses make up a large portion of the statistics which state that the average person goes through seven careers in their life. The ability to adapt, learn new skills and keep up with new research and development is essential to both personal and economic success for any nation. The newly-released statement emphasizes the ability to learn and adapt as requisites for succeeding in the international workforce. The United States isn’t alone in realizing this key to prosperity. Numerous other nations are also choosing it as the building block of their education reform efforts.


Communication is essential for career preparedness. Being able to communicate effectively is a necessary skill for all workers, but in an increasingly global community, students will need to communicate with people who speak another language. This is evidenced in the way that Career and Technical Education programs often provide students with chances to learn another language. In many areas of the country,  positions remain empty because too few people can speak a second language.


Being able to use technology effectively is another important part of being globally competent. Technology is heavily relied upon in numerous jobs and is constantly evolving. Involving technology in teaching and learning doesn’t just give students a valuable skill. It also gives them access to the world at large and enables them to communicate with a wider variety of people. Once they join the international labor force, they’ll be experienced in communicating with other cultures.


Real-world experience is another key part of the career readiness statement. Things like job shadowing, apprenticeships and internships help students in virtually any career be ready to enter the work force.  If you are currently in school, make sure to maximize these opportunitites to improve your chances of landing the job you want.

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.

What can you do with a certificate in small engine repair?

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

What can you do with a certificate in small engine repair?

If you’re good with your hands, maybe you’ve found yourself tinkering with your lawnmower in the garage. After all, if you want a job done well, do it yourself, right? Knowing how engines work and being able to fix them yourself can be very rewarding. However, you may not have considered the possibilities that might be open to you when you finish a small engine repair course at technical training schools. So, what can you do with this credential?

Set up shop

For people with a knack for fixing broken-down engines, work is never very far away. Once you’ve finished your small engine repair training program, you can go into business for yourself and start calling the shots.

Small engine repair specialists can work on a variety of motors, from power tools to lawnmowers, outboards to mopeds. Sure, hardware prices have fallen over the years, but people always need someone who’s good with their hands and can get their machines working again. Depending on your skills and interests, you can choose to work as a generalist or specialize in a certain type of engine.

This kind of business is ideally suited to independent contracting. You don’t necessarily need your own premises to start working as a small engine repair specialist – just toss your toolbox in your truck and get the job done where the clients are.

Work in a repair shop

Don’t like the idea of going into business for yourself? Then you could always consider working for someone else in a repair shop.

A lot of tool rental stores and mom-and-pop hardware stores offer engine repair as a service. After all, not everyone has the money or inclination to go out and buy replacement tools every time something goes haywire. Similarly, larger appliances like lawnmowers can be expensive, meaning people are much more likely to want the engine repaired instead of just buying a new one.

In addition to repair shops and hardware stores, a lot of skilled small engine repair specialists work on highly specific types of engines, such as vintage mopeds. While these little scooters may not be as glamorous as a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a small but growing movement has emerged around mopeds, and there’s always work that needs to be done on these aging machines.

Do it yourself

One of the best things about taking a small engine repair class at technical schools is being able to repair your own gear. Ever forked over a wad of cash to fix that pesky lawnmower? Then you’ll realize that being able to disassemble and repair your own equipment could save you a lot of money in the long run.

As well as saving you some cash, fixing your own engines can be really satisfying work. If you’re the type of person who loves spending time tinkering with machines in the garage, small engine repair is a great fit.

What do you hope to do with a small engine repair certificate? Let us know in the comment space below.

Relearn basic skills before returning to school

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Relearn basic skills before returning to school

It’s commonly known that during summer vacation, the time kids spend away from the classroom harms the amount of information they retain from the previous school year. Everything from math to spelling skills can suffer when children aren’t regularly exercising their brains.

With kids, however, you’re only dealing with three months away from the classroom. If you’re significantly older, consider what effect all those years away from academia have had on some of your most basic skills. Can you subtract numbers without the assistance of a calculator? How well do you spell when you don’t have a computer highlighting your typos? These may seem like little problems, but if you want to enroll in technical schools and achieve professional success, you may want to take some time to get your brain back in shape before classes start.

Here are some basic skills that you should possess, no matter what type of program you’re enrolling in:

Writing skills

Good writing skills will serve you throughout life. Some people may hear “good writing skills” and think they need to know how to create moving poetry or write the next great American novel. However, nobody expects you to become the next Stephen King, they just want you to know how to spell and put together complete sentences.

If grocery lists are the only things you’re writing these days, there’s a good chance you’re a little rusty when it comes to sentence construction and spelling. To strengthen these skills, turn the TV off and grab a newspaper or good book. As you read, pay attention to how different writers put their sentences together. You may not realize it in the moment, but your actions could strengthen your basic writing skills. Another plus is that reading gives you more to talk about.

Math skills

Going into technical training schools, the last thing you might expect to do is use math skills – that is, until you’re asked to make a calculation on the spot. If you left your calculator at home, you’re going to be expected to do some basic math in your head or on a sheet of paper. Rather than freak out in the moment, take a little time to brush up on everything from simple addition to more complex stuff, like fractions and long division.

Before you return to school, just think about how much you use math on a daily basis. Your skills may be better than you think. If not, really pay attention to the numbers you’re adding or subtracting from your bank account at the ATM, or think about how much that 15% off coupon will really take away from whatever you’re buying. It may be the cashier’s job to figure your discount out, but see if you can arrive at the same total on your own.

What’s the current state of your math and writing skills? Do you think they’re long overdue for a tune-up? Let us know in the comment space below.

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