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Continuing Your Education

This section is for students who would like to get continuing education to become qualified for specific types of work. If you are looking for a two-year degree, but don't want to specialize too much, visit our 'Two-Year College' section. If you think trade school would be a good fit, but you don't know which career you'd like to go into, consider looking at our 'Undecided' section, talking to people in the careers you're considering, or browsing specific careers using College Navigator (instructions in the 'Finding a School' section below). We also have career-selection aids in the 'Jobs and Careers' section.

What to Expect

If you are looking to get a specific job, then the process of finding a school usually goes like this:
  1. Find which schools teach what you want to learn.
  2. Check that they're accredited.
  3. Check that you can physically get to the school, that you can afford the tuition, and that it meets whatever other needs you may have.
  4. Apply (programs differ in their requirements).
  5. Sign up and go.
Places to find vocational/specialized training typically include community colleges as well as 'career colleges' (aka technical, vocational, or trade schools). Career colleges are private institutions specifically meant to provide you with the practical training you'll need to enter a particular job/field; community colleges offer many programs that can do the same, but also offer more general/liberal arts courses that you could potentially apply to a four-year degree. Community colleges will be emphasized below as they are often cheaper and have more reliable reputations, but links available under "If you do not find the program you'd like listed" would also help you find career schools. "Online Education" options are also covered. Final note: If you already know a particular company/organization you want to work for, always start by looking at their website and/or talking to a representative. They are often able to point you towards specific programs or internships that would help you get the job you want, and in some cases may even offer to pay for your education if you sign a contract with them. Definitely worth a shot!

Finding Schools

The local community colleges are often your best bet for a specialized trade track. In the DeWitt area, this means the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges network (EICC). To see whether the local colleges have the program you're looking for, visit the program information on their website here (under the 'Future Students' tab), or use the search bar at the top right to go straight to a particular job track (like 'welding' or 'cosmetology'.) If you find the program you'd like listed, but are unsure of how to proceed, just contact any of the admissions officers listed (under 'Contact Info' on the far right), or use the 'Request More Information' tab (same location). If you do not find the program you'd like listed through any of the local community colleges, try using the Department of Education's College Navigator to look for programs a little farther away. Use the 'Browse for Programs' button to search for specific training programs, and then narrow results by location, cost, or other factors. (And keep in mind, you are always welcome to Ask a Librarian for more information about your options.) If you are willing to go out of the area for schooling, you can easily use the College Navigator to find colleges near your new location. As a different option, you could also try the CollegeBoard 'Big Future' site to look for schools; using the 'Majors & Learning Environment' tab on the left, use the very top pull-down menu to look for whole fields (like 'Business'), or use the search box underneath to enter a more specific training program you've got in mind (such as 'Roofing'). Online education remains an option as well, but most trade-specific education is much better accomplished in person, so the online route is not recommended in most cases. However, if you'd like to look into it, you can see the general overview of what to look for/avoid in online schools on our 'Two-Year College' page here (just scroll down to the 'Online' section).

 Double-Checking Your Choice

Going by the step-by-step list above, finding a school is still just the first step. After that comes learning about the school, and things you should definitely find out include:
    • The school's accreditation/license status.
    • What the facilities are like. Most importantly, do you learn using the same equipment used by the working professionals in your field?
    • The total cost to attend. Aside from tuition, factor in any supplies you'll have to buy as well as the gas money it will take to get there.
    • Program success rate. Includes what percent of students finish the program, how many graduates get jobs, and what the average graduate's debt looks like.
    • What to expect from the instructors/classes.
Once you've looked into all that and have made sure the program will be a good fit for you AND get you the qualification you're looking for, you're all set. Just get in touch with a school representative to make sure you'll have everything you need to apply (feel free to Ask a Librarian for assistance with that), and then submit your application/registration.
The applications for trade schools are usually not too stressful, but if you hit any problems, try browsing our 'Application' section, or feel free to contact us to help you find any additional information.   clipart at top from http://rice.tylerisd.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1698621/Image/Career_Day_multi_graphic-t8gs45.jpg

Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library

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