Large vocational schools have made headlines recently with closures amid allegations of fraud, deceptive admission practices, and inflated job placement statistics. This has resulted in
thousands of students left stranded- trying to decide how to move forward and some of these students are facing enormous debt from their student loans as well. Not all vocational schools
are created equal.
Recent high school graduates should visit at least three vocational schools before deciding to enroll. Some vocational schools put enormous pressure on potential students to enroll on their
first visit and frequently prolong that first visit for up to four hours. These potential students often enroll on the spot just because they are worn out during the visit. A good vocational
school will not pressure anyone to enroll on the first visit and will give the person an opportunity to sit in on a class, speak with other students attending school there, and give them
the opportunity to think about this important career move before signing on the dotted line.
It is very important prior to visiting a vocational school, each prospective student should investigate the job market for the particular vocation in which they wish to train. They should
look for careers that are forecasted to be in demand with large future growth opportunities. Many times vocational schools can act as stepping stones to careers that require college
degrees. For example, if the prospective student wants to become a Registered Nurse, she/he might want to become a medical assistant first. Then they can make sure they like taking care
of sick people and are not afraid of needles and blood. This also allows them the opportunity to work part-time in the field as they go to college to pursue their career while perfecting skills
necessary to that career.
Job placement assistance is another area where vocational schools differ. Does the school just give each student a list of jobs available on Craig’s List or Indeed.com? Or does the school work
with each student individually, assist and proofread their resume, offer mock interviews, and have a job developer that works with the community to place its graduates in jobs?
Last but not least is the difference in cost of tuition’s offered by vocational schools. Does it make sense to pay over $18,000 to become a medical assistant when the average starting salary is
going to be $10 to $12 per hour? There are good vocational schools offering that course for under $7,000. Again, it is important to research any school prior to enrolling and a good
vocational school will respect and welcome the practice.