Selecting the right career college program can be a high-pressure task. Education is the ultimate asset, and you want to make sure you’re putting your money, time, and energy into an investment that will yield real results. You may be a professional looking to change jobs or a high school graduate taking that first post-secondary step. Regardless of background, most students are searching for the same educational outcomes: following their passion while building marketable skills, forging networks with likeminded peers and professionals, and landing a great job after graduation.
Let’s take a look at some of the starter steps you’ll need to take to get you there.
1. Take stock of your interests
Career colleges are not for dabblers. Their programs are tailored for specific outcomes, geared toward a particular vocation or profession. Before you can decide which college program to look at, you must determine your own interests and objectives. For example, are you interested in paralegal courses, interior design, sound production? Options are wide and varied, so make sure you’ve narrowed it down the best fit for you.
2. Take a look at the job market
Now that you’ve decided on a profession, be sure to investigate how grads are doing on the job market. Is there any demand for the career you’ve chosen? Do you have your heart set on police foundations training, but there’s a hiring freeze currently in place? We’re not suggesting you abandon your passion because at the moment, the stats appear a bit daunting, but a general knowledge of hiring trends – or conversations with professionals currently working in the field – will help you make your ultimate decision.
3. Create a career program short-list
You’ll need to research the colleges in your area to see which ones provide the program you want – in addition to several other important considerations. For example, if you’re interested in business management schools, you may want to look at whether on-the-job training is provided through co-op programs. Other points to note are:
- Program length
- Program cost
- Class size
- Graduate job placement success rate
4. Arrange campus visits
Before committing to a program at a specific school, be sure to actually visit the campus. There’s only so much information you can absorb from a school’s program webpage and social media channels. Showing up in person will give you the chance to check out the resources, the students, the grounds – how it feels to be on campus. Some colleges even host open houses where teachers and program heads are on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about specific courses.
5. Get your finances in order
One of the biggest stresses students encounter when choosing a post-secondary program is money. In addition to government aid, check out your chosen school’s financial support resources to see if there are bursaries, grants or scholarships for which you’d be eligible. These resources always involve an application, sometimes letters of reference, and always strict deadlines. Take note of important dates so you don’t miss out on funding opportunities.
What factor influences you the most when picking out a career program?