1. What’s your budget?
Don’t even look for a trade school before you decide how much money you’re willing to invest. Remember: don’t make an emotional decision. This will lead to regret.
If your parents are willing to help you, find out how much they will contribute. If you have a job, keep track of your income and expenses for a month. This will empower you to figure out how much you could pay on a monthly loan.
Is money tight? If so, you might want to pass on private schools. They will probably be more expensive than community colleges. You could apply for grants and scholarships. Here are some options for auto mechanics and technicians. Also do a Google search for: “(your state) grants and scholarships.”
2. What is your learning style?
Some classes sizes are bigger than others. If you’re an extrovert, you might like a busy classroom. If you’re an introvert, that could be intimidating. You’d probably learn better in a more intimate environment. It’s hard to know what a school is like until you experience it for yourself. Ask if you can visit the campus and check out a class while you’re there.
3. Is there a demand for this job?
What’s the point of getting a degree that won’t be put to good use? Don’t invest in an education until you make sure there is a demand for the position. Make note of a job’s projected growth at the Bureau of Labor Statistics before you make a final decision. You should also browse job boards to make sure there is an abundance of opportunities in your hometown. Otherwise, you might have to relocate.
4. Would this degree be attractive to employers?
Visit some auto shops in your hometown. Ask if the manager is available. Tell them you want to become a mechanic, but you can’t decide which school to go to. Ask what they expect from the people their new hires. Repeat this process at several shops to see if there is a common trend. Now you can make an informed decision.
5. Does this school stay on top of modern technology?
Technology changes fast. Check out a school’s facilities before you enroll. You don’t want to be trained with outdated equipment. If their computers and tools look like they’ve been in use for over a decade, that’s a bad sign. If you’re in doubt, request contact information for the school’s licensing and accreditation organizations. You can verify that information with the U.S. Department of Education.
Do you have any questions I didn’t cover? If so, don’t be afraid to ask. Please share this blog with anyone you know who is looking for a good trade school. I bet they will appreciate the thought!