Ever apply for jobs only to realize you don’t have the right education? While going back to school may seem like a long and arduous task, it doesn’t always have to be.
Enter career colleges – a place to learn the skills and experience you need without having to be put on a 2-year waiting list.
If you’ve done your research on what education you need to follow your career goals, take a look at some of the benefits that career colleges can offer. They can save you a lot of time and effort by providing you with practical training within a short amount of time.
Although choosing the right college may seem daunting, you have to be sure to ask questions. The right questions.
That said, try some of these questions when choosing a career college that works for you.
1. What is the program duration?
Time is valuable and one of the best things to do is make sure we’re using it wisely. That said, it’s always a good practice to do some research on the length of a career college’s program as that will give you an indicator of how you can manage your time.
If the program duration is shorter, you can plan your year and start to make changes sooner rather than later. For example, a 9-month program means that you can time your job applications according to seasonal hiring trends. This advantage means that you’ll be ready for job openings as they open up which allows for more flexibility when you need it.
2. Do you have any additional options for funding?
At some point during your research into career colleges, you’ll find that affording education may also be a challenge. However, there are always options that colleges offer to help fund your tuition. Ask around for funding options whether you’re an international student or a local student. Find special promos or scholarships that help you during application and use them to your advantage.
Career colleges are here to help you – plain and simple.
One of the best ways they offer help is by connecting you with institutions that can help assess your financial standing and come up with the best possible option for funding. When inquiring about tuition costs, don’t be afraid to ask about funding options as it may save you money in the long run.
3. Do you offer any grants or promos?
Aside from additional funding options, take a look at any potential grants the college may be offering. You’ll find that during the summer season, it’s a prime time to be hunting for eligible back-to-school promos.
Don’t forget to also read and go over the terms and deadlines for any grants that you’ll be applying for. You don’t want to have to wait too long only to find the application deadline has passed. As such, take the opportunity and apply where and when you can. You may even find you’re eligible for up to $500 – $1000 off your tuition!
4. What are the practicum or co-op opportunities like?
When finding a school, you’ll also want to know about the practicum or co-op opportunities. Ask about the different types of industries or companies that graduates have worked at. The practicum staff at colleges is your go-to source for finding out about current hiring trends and industry practices. Use this information to kick start where you want to see yourself in a year or two.
Do you see yourself joining the ranks of Vancouver’s architects or do you see yourself one day owning your own company?
Practicum placements can make all the difference in your career development as you may find yourself being hired by the company after you finish your term. Even if you choose to move on to another company, there is no replacement for the applicable skills and work experience that a good practicum can grant you.
5. What kind of certifications do you offer?
Depending on the type of industry you’re working towards, having the right certifications is vital to finding a career. Take the time to do some research about what the college’s partnerships with major institutions are by asking the admissions team a few questions such as:
What are some examples of your certifications that are recognized globally?
The more you know about the college’s certifications, the easier it’ll be to plan your career path. For instance, those who choose a career in accounting should be looking for a school that offers the PCP certification which is required by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA). With this in mind, you’ll be confident in knowing your certifications and accreditation will make you highly competitive when applying for jobs.
6. Is your college accredited with any major institutions?
Whenever you’re researching, it’s always a good practice to see what other major institutions support the college you’re considering. Take a look at what kind of support you’ll receive by asking a question such as:
Is the college an accredited partner with an industry-recognized certification or registered with any major institutions?
For instance, those in BC should see if the college is accredited with the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB). PTIB is responsible for ensuring that all their registered colleges follow a high standard of quality education. The more you research about the institutional support behind the college, the more time you’ll save during your research phase.
7. How big are the average class sizes?
One of the advantages of career colleges is that they include specialized courses with smaller class sizes. As you go about your research, be sure to ask questions about the class sizes as you can use this to your advantage by having more one-on-one time with an instructor.
For example, a smaller class size means that you can learn at your own pace and ask for help when you need it. Even if you feel lost and fall behind in the course material don’t let that feeling be an excuse to hide behind a crowd of students. It’ll help you gradually get accustomed to a speaking up if you’re more of an introverted student.
8. Is there anything you can tell me about the location?
One question we sometimes forget is to ask about the location of the campus. Remember that accessibility is just as important as the program information. For instance, if there are multiple campuses located throughout the city then find a location that’s closest to you.
If the location of the campus is centred around major bus stops or transit areas then leave your car at home. If the campus is located in a high traffic area, assess how long it should take you to get to school. Everyone always appreciates free parking yet if it is paid then you’ll need to take that into account when budgeting.
Even though this may seem obvious, it’s always good to know your surroundings so that you can anticipate how and when you’ll arrive at work during your commute.
9. Have students been happy with the college?
Whenever you’ve inquired about a school, its natural to look at student testimonials for more information on the college. Student testimonials give you a great inside peek into student life on campus as well as their experience with the course material.
Take the time to view some of the stories from the students that are attending or have graduated from a career college and you’ll be able to gain a better understanding of how you want to develop your career.
Although everyone’s experience at a career college may differ, you have the ability to shape your experience into something great. After viewing student testimonials, you may even be inspired to share your story one of these days.
10. Is there a flexible class schedule?
You want to also be comfortable knowing that your school schedule won’t interfere with your daily routine. For some, this may mean balancing an early morning job and late night classes. Whatever the case, its always good to ask about the availability of classes and this means you’ll be able to have more flexibility with your time.
Achieving a balance of work and school is tough but most often a good career college will have advisors that will help you find classes that compliment your schedule. This means you’ll be able to dedicate more time to seeing family or further improve your professional development with networking events and workshops.
As an added bonus, the college may even recommend some good hiring and networking events that you can visit whenever you have some free time.
11. Who should I follow up with next?
When you’ve finally asked all the right questions and made your decision, the next step is to inquire about who to follow up with. This is to help guide you toward finalizing any paperwork or procedures that you need to complete your enrollment. Once you’ve completed the requirements, congratulations!
You’re now one step closer to finding the career path that you’ve always wanted. Take this opportunity and keep moving forward. Although you’ll have to be prepared for the onslaught of exams, assignments, and projects – never forget your end goal and what you want to accomplish.
Get the Right Training
If you’re looking for a college where you can receive recognized and accredited industry certification, 100% practicum placement, and a rich learning environment then why not check out Brighton College.
We’re currently offering several start dates and our Educational Advisors will work with you to find a program that fits your schedule, budget and focus. No matter the student or their educational background, we always do our best to ensure that your future will be a bright one.
Book a free information session or give us a call at 604-430-5608 for more information.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel !