Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Technical Schools

December 6th, 2011 by rebeccac

technical-schools-and-colleges-ss997931If you just can’t see how taking a gym class or spending your time learning to paint is relevant to your future career, you may be happiest attending a technical school or college. They are career-focused, which means that every course you take is associated with the career that you want to train for. With programs that are generally shorter and more flexible than four-year degrees, technical schools are usually geared toward trades like welding, culinary arts, plumbing, veterinary technician, etc.

Advantages of a Technical School Education
As compared to typical bachelor degrees, a certificate or diploma from a technical college can be earned in far less time. Typically, technical college programs are nine months to two years in length. Since you only take courses that are relevant to your chosen career, the cost of your education can sometimes than it would be attending a four-year liberal arts college. The career training that you receive in a technical college tends to be very hands-on, often taking place in a setting very similar to what you would see in the workplace. That means that if you are training to be an auto mechanic, you can get under the hood of a real car to see what makes its engine run.

The class sizes of technical schools tend to be smaller than typical liberal arts colleges, meaning the instructor has greater availability if you need personalized attention. The days and times that technical colleges offer courses tends to be more flexible than a traditional college, mainly because more non-traditional students attend trade schools. These students are typically already working and may also have children to raise. They need greater flexibility in order to make attending school even possible.

Disadvantages of a Technical School Education
If you graduate and find there isn’t a lot of demand in your chosen field, you don’t have as many other skills to fall back on as you would with a broader education. Another possible drawback is that you may not be able to receive as large of a financial aid package as traditional college students. However, as someone who is most likely already working, you may be able to take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program from your employer. With the possibility of having your continuing education paid for, it’s certainly worth a trip to your human resources department to find out more information.

What do employers want?
Employers, like the rest of human nature, can be fickle people. Some think that a four-year degree shows a sense of commitment, while others prefer to hire someone with strong training in the field and aren’t as concerned about what else they know. Even before you decide on a school, you have a homework assignment. You need to research your chosen field to find out the minimum level of education required as well as the type and duration of education preferred by a majority of employers. You should also look at a long-range job forecast before committing to a specific field.

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For-Profit Technical Colleges- Pick a side!

March 8th, 2011 by LindseyO

PRO- For-Profit Technical Colleges Should Stay!

opinion of LindseyO

I know graduates from an information technology program at a for profit technical school have some advantages over those with similar degrees from traditional two-year or four-year colleges. The instructors at schools such as ITT Tech and DeVry are still actively working in their respective fields. This tells me they are much more up to speed on the latest software, hardware, coding techniques, and business practices. A programming course at a public community college will only teach languages that were fashionable two years ago but are quickly becoming obsolete. Graduates from these schofor-profit-technical-colleges  ts_87529027ols are usually surprised when they enter the field and discover how out-of-date the material they learned has become. For profit colleges do a much better job at getting their students quickly through their degree programs with the skills that can actually be used on the job.

Another strong point in for profit tech colleges is the format of the degree programs. Unlike in public colleges, classes conveniently do not fill up; they are always available for any student who wishes to enroll. For profit technical schools also have a better grasp of how to structure their online programs to fit the schedules of busy working adults. Because of this many for profit schools offer a superior level of guidance through each step towards a degree. Their students are not left to blindly navigate which classes might give them the skills that employers may possibly be seeking. When it comes to graduates from for profit tech colleges, employers can have the confidence to hire from a talented group that is equipped with the needed skill level.

I believe students who attend these colleges are the best and are the ones that have weighed the decision carefully. They have examined their current skill levels and planned where they would like to be within their careers. Particularly those who hold bachelor’s degrees in an IT field are the students with the dedication to keep learning and to gain the skills needed to advance into managerial or other high level positions. Counselors at for profit technical colleges are better equipped to address these students’ concerns and to map out concise degree paths for them. Unlike counselors at public colleges, for profit school counselors can focus specifically on the IT field and what it will take for their advisees to succeed within it.

More than in other fields, I think that successful students in an IT program at a for profit college understand that time is of the essence. Technology is rapidly and constantly changing; what is considered advanced today will be out of date within a few years or even months. The sooner IT graduates complete their new degrees, the better they will be able to keep up with the latest developments in their fields. Industry professionals have designed degree programs with this fact in mind, which translates into better chances of advancement for dedicated IT students.

CON- For-Profit Technical Colleges- Watch Yourself!

opinion of DavidR

While many professionals flock to for-profit online universities as a way to bolster resumes and make themselves more attractive to potential employers, the usage of these colleges can come at considerable risk for often undefined or exaggerated results. Alumni of leading online for-profit colleges are finding themselves unemployed and in thousands of dollars in debt, all resulting in the aggressive sales tactics and exorbitant cost that is associated with the supposed convenience of online college courses. All too often, students find themselves burdened by tremendous debt with few job prospects. Many of these colleges employ deceptive marketing practices, oversell the demand for specific degree holders within key employment fields, and make prospective graduates become overwhelmed with the cost of their convenient classes.

Among the chief complaints against for-profit tech colleges is that many of them take advantage of uninformed students. Promising high-salary occupations for degree recipients, these colleges boast of high employment figures for fields which, in actuality, have few job prospects. Additionally, many students are persuaded to enroll after the promise of large amounts of financial aid made available to them. In many cases, the amount of financial aid available covers less than a third of the average tuition, leaving some students to be saddled with nearly $100,000 worth of debt by the end of a full bachelor’s degree. Students at for-profit, online colleges do not often receive the same financial aid seminars as their peers at conventional public and private universities, leaving them in the dark as far as repayment options are concerned. What begins as an easy alternative to conventional college credit Technical-colleges ts_Technical-colleges.jpgbecomes a less than spectacular degree with an Ivy League price tag: job seekers are left with tremendous debts and an education which, while often satisfactory, is not outstanding when compared to the cost at which it was obtained?

Another great concern within the world of for-profit online tech colleges is the failure rate of students. While roughly 55% of students at public colleges and 65% of private college students earn full bachelor’s degrees, students enrolled at online, for-profit universities have a success rate of only 22%. The fast-paced course load and rate at which many students take classes does not allow for knowledge to sink in, leading to burnout and confusion. As a result, many students are left with heavy debts and no degree to show for their expenses. Many students also become disenfranchised with their online coursework close to graduation, realizing that their chosen study may not be the lucrative career field that they were led to believe before enrolling.

Among all other concerns regarding the credibility of for-profit online universities is the credibility and difficulty of course work. While some provide their students with a rigorous course load and challenging assignments, others provide exorbitant credit for “life experience” and allow students to obtain advanced degrees after only months of study. Providing opportunities for students to obtain masters degrees in doctorates despite taking as few as half a year’s coursework is not only damaging for the reputation of all online universities, but damaging for the integrity of higher education itself. The diploma mills of years past, in some cases, have merely moved online behind the veil of internet anonymity; less scrupulous online universities can award degrees that require little work at tremendous costs.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and the author alone, and do not reflect in any way the opinion of the web site USCollegeSearch.org or any of its affiliations or partnerships.  Lindsey and David are contributors for USCollegeSearch.org in the Legal Entertainment category.  This debate spawned from the article posted on www.infoworld.com.

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