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13 Questions to Answer When Choosing a Trade School

Apr 5, 2020 ·
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Choosing where to further your education is a big decision to make. Even if you are set on a particular career path, it’s important to choose a  vocational program  that aligns with your goals and will help prepare you with the skills needed to succeed. There are so many factors to consider in this process, from the  campus experience  to what your instructors will be like  to the resources the school offers to graduates .

If you’re wondering what to look for in a trade school, you’re in luck. Here are 13 important questions you’ll want to have answered in order to find the right school for you:

1. Do they have a good reputation and relationships with employers in the industry?

Before enrolling at a particular vocational school or tech school, it’s important to do some research on its reputation. What are employers saying about the school’s graduates? Do industry partners work with the school?  What are graduates saying about their experience? 

School is all about preparing you for future success, and part of this is networking and making connections with the right people. This is why UTI has built long-standing relationships with employers and manufacturers in the industry. As a student, you can benefit from these connections in many ways, such as by taking a Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training program or attending on-campus career fairs to meet local employers.

Hear from Mark Malizzi, service director for  Fred Beans Ford of Boyertown, on why he hires UTI grads, especially those who take the Ford FACT program:

 

2. Do employers offer tuition reimbursement or incentive programs to graduates?

Did you know that some employers will offer tuition reimbursement after graduation to ultimately lessen the cost of your education? In addition to earning an income by working, an employer may offer to cover a portion or all of a recent graduate’s tuition.

Through the Tuition Reimbursement Incentive Program (TRIP), UTI graduates have received student loan repayment assistance, hiring incentive packages, tool purchase assistance and sign-on bonuses.14

3. Does the cost of attending include books, tools and refresher courses?

When budgeting the cost of your education, it’s important to take everything into account. In addition to your tuition, you may have to pay for things like books and tools, which can vary from school to school. 

Knowledge is power, and the more information you have upfront, the more you can plan for the future. Take the time to do your research and choose a school that is open and transparent about finances and what will be expected of you.

If you’re considering UTI, know that the books and tools you will use throughout your program are covered in your tuition. While you’re in school, you can utilize the Snap-on® tools discount and start building a tool set of your own

Refresher courses, which are courses that students who successfully passed can retake, are also available to graduates at no cost.39 This is a great way to keep your skills sharp in an industry that is always evolving! To learn more about graduate refresher courses, download the UTI course catalog

4. Do they offer opportunities to earn credits while in high school?

Some schools offer programs or courses you can take while in high school that count toward your post-secondary education. This is a great way to explore different industries and career paths while also getting a head start on your training. In many cases, these programs can save you both time and money.

If you’re a high school student thinking about attending UTI, consider enrolling in the summer Ignite program.32 In this 3-week, no-cost program, you can test drive an education from UTI while learning real-world skills used in the industry. Upon successful completion of the program, you can receive credit toward your education if you choose to attend UTI after high school graduation. Learn more and register to save your spot at www.uti.edu/ignite

5. Does the school offer part-time job assistance while attending?

Working while you attend school can be a great way to offset the cost of living. Plus, it can give you valuable professional experience that you can add to your résumé. 

At UTI, students can benefit from the school’s connections with local employers to find work while they complete their program. UTI understands the demands that can come with balancing life, work and school, and we’re here to help you find part-time employment that helps to cover your expenses without interfering with your studies. There are local Career Advisors at each campus who can assist and support you in your job search.

6. Do they offer interview coaching?

In addition to providing you with the hands-on skills you need, it’s important to choose a school that cares about your professional development. As you start your job search and interview with employers, it can be helpful to receive coaching from individuals who have insight into what the industry is looking for in job candidates. This can give you a leg up as you set out to start your new career.

Many trade schools—sometimes referred to as career colleges—offer resources for students as they start their lives as working professionals. For example, UTI’s Career Services team supports students by offering résumé, cover letter and thank you letter templates, as well as interview coaching so they can prepare before meeting with employers. 

7. Are a majority of the school’s graduates hired in their field of study?

The success of a school’s graduates is a good indication of the quality of education they offer. If you’re looking to get into a specific field, it can be helpful to learn about the paths of those who came before you. Were they able to find work in a reasonable amount of time? Were they qualified to find work in their field of study? These are all important questions to ask.

Four out of five UTI graduates find employment in careers in their field of study.3 As the industry changes and evolves due to technology, UTI continues to update curriculum to set graduates up for success. Hear from UTI grad Austin on what it was like to go from having no automotive knowledge to training for an automotive technician career at UTI: 

 

 

 

8. Does the school allow you to customize your training options to meet your career goals?

One of the most significant factors to take into account when researching a school is the programs they offer. Whether you’re looking to get into the automotive industry or become a welder, it’s important to invest in training that aligns with your career goals and gets you where you want to go. 

UTI’s programs are designed so you can create your own path. The first step is to choose one of seven core programs. Some students even take multiple programs to diversify their skills.

After completing the core portion of your training, you may choose to gain additional skills through a manufacturer-specific program. These programs were created in conjunction with leading manufacturers like BMWPeterbiltHonda Marine and Kawasaki in order to give students a competitive advantage.  

By learning the specifics of a manufacturer’s technology, you can become more valuable to potential employers. You may be able to take multiple specialized training programs, which could help you stand out even more when applying for jobs. Some auto and diesel manufacturer programs are manufacturer-paid, meaning the cost of tuition is covered if your application is accepted.15

9. Is the school accredited?

Instructor-and-UTI-Diesel-Program-students-working-together-in-a-lab

 

Accreditation is very important to consider when choosing any school, especially if you’re considering a trade school. Accredited schools have been evaluated by an educational authority and are held to certain criteria to ensure they are qualified to teach students. They are continually assessed and required to demonstrate acceptable levels of institutional, student and graduate success.  

Before investing your time and money into an institution, make sure that it is accredited. UTI is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 

10. Does the school offer financial aid and scholarships?

There’s no doubt that going to school is a big investment financially. However, there may be ways to make your education more affordable — and it’s important to choose a school that can help you explore your options. 

When applying to UTI, the Financial Aid team will be there to support you every step of the way. Those students who qualify for financial aid may be able to use a combination of aid types such as grantsscholarships and student loans.10 Our team can help you navigate the process of applying for financial aid and can offer valuable resources such as  tips for applying for scholarships. Your success is our success!  

11. Does the school teach the way you like to learn?

Everyone has a unique learning style, and it’s important to choose a school that caters to yours. For example, if you’re someone who learns by doing, sitting in large lecture halls for hours at a time may not be the right fit for you. 

When exploring different schools, do some research on what the classroom setting will be like and how the instructors teach. This can help you determine whether the environment will be a good fit for your learning style. 

UTI is all about providing opportunities for hands-on learning. Whether you decide to go the automotive route or train to become a CNC machinist, you’ll learn by doing. As a student, you will spend a portion of your time in the classroom learning the fundamentals, and the rest of the time will be spent in the lab, where you will put this knowledge into action. 

UTI labs are integrated with industry tools and technology, meaning you’ll train with the same equipment used by technicians in the field today. This non-traditional approach to learning is designed to give you the hands-on skills you need to transition into a career after graduation.


12. Does the school offer housing services? 

If you’re going to be relocating to further your education, you will most likely want to choose a school that offers some kind of housing assistance. Living near campus is not only convenient, but it can be a great way to get involved with the community and meet other like-minded students. 

If you’re considering UTI, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands. UTI has relationships with student housing companies that can help you find living arrangements with roommates or your family close to campus. The housing process works differently at each campus, so be sure to select your specific campus on our housing page when exploring your options. 

13. What resources are available to alumni? 

Working-in-a-Universal-Technical-Institute-Lab

 

Last but certainly not least, it’s important to choose a school that is committed to the success of its graduates. Some schools offer ongoing support to alumni, no matter how many years they have been out of school. 

In addition to helping you find employment while you’re in school, UTI can also support you as you set out to pursue a career in the industry. At each campus, we have a team of specialists who work with dealerships, distributors and employers of all sizes across the country. If you’re looking to relocate and need work or are in search of that next great position, our Career Services team can assist you — whether it’s one year or 10 years after you’ve graduated.

Overall, attending a trade school can be an excellent choice for those looking to gain focused training for a career. Be sure to keep these 13 questions in mind as you explore schools in order to make the best choice for you. Best of luck in your search!  

Start Your Journey at Universal Technical Institute

Does UTI sound like the right fit for you? Our programs are offered at campuses across the country. To learn more, visit our website request information to get in touch with one of our Admissions Representatives today.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

3) Approximately 8,000 of the 8,400 UTI graduates in 2019 were available for employment. At the time of reporting, approximately 6,700 were employed within one year of their graduation date, for a total of 84%. This rate excludes graduates not available for employment because of continuing education, military service, health, incarceration, death or international student status. The rate includes graduates who completed manufacturer-specific advanced training programs and those employed in positions that were obtained before or during their UTI education, where the primary job duties after graduation align with the educational and training objectives of the program. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

14) Incentive programs and employee eligibility are at the discretion of the employer and available at select locations. Special conditions may apply. Talk to potential employers to learn more about the programs available in your area. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

39) Refresher training available to graduates only if the course is still available and space is available. Students are responsible for any other costs such as lab fees associated with the course.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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