Career Change: What to Consider Before Returning to School

Posted by Athena Career Academy on Nov 10, 2020

Vocational schools are an excellent choice for those who want to return to school to learn a specific trade or skill, but don’t have a lot of time and resources to commit to a traditional four-year college or university. 

College student wearing a backpack and holding a stack of books.

Before starting your search, take some time to really think about what’s most important to you, and your situation to determine your education goals. How much time can you devote to school? Are you looking for a program that will train you quickly? Do you need financial aid to help with tuition costs? Knowing what you’re looking for in a school or program will make the selection process easier and less stressful.

Accreditation

The most important factor to consider when researching schools is whether or not the school is accredited. Accreditation is crucial because it ensures that the school and program you attend follows certain standards relating to curriculum and faculty, thus ensuring the legitimacy of your degree or certificate. Accreditation is important if you plan to seek certification once your training program is complete, especially if you choose a career in healthcare, like medical assisting, for example. Without certification it can be difficult to find employment, as many employers prefer to hire only those medical assistants with certification.

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Costs and Financial Aid

Continuing your education is a substantial financial commitment, so it’s important to find out the cost of each school or program you’re considering and whether or not they offer any type of financial aid or tuition assistance. Remember to ask if the figure you’re quoted includes books and other materials, or if it’s for tuition only.

Program Length

The length of a program will most likely depend on the program you choose, but make sure to find out what the length of the program is, as many students are wanting to get trained quickly, so they can begin the job search and go to work as soon as possible after graduation.

Class Flexibility

Does the school offer flexible classes, such as day and evening options? What about weekend classes? Do you have the option of full or part time schedules? If flexibility is important, make sure to inquire about their class options.

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Cancellation Policies

Although you’re probably quite certain of your plans and goals, sometimes things happen beyond your control. It’s always wise to ask the school if they have a cancellation or refund policy. Most schools will present you with an enrollment agreement and until the agreement is signed, you aren’t officially enrolled yet. The cancellation policy should be listed in the enrollment agreement, but if not, be sure to ask your advisor and get a copy of the policy in writing.

Reputation and Student Satisfaction

There are two ways to measure a school’s success; retention and graduation rate. Retention rate includes the number of students who start a program and continue, and the graduation rate includes the actual number of students who complete the program and graduate. High retention and graduation rates typically indicate that the majority of students find the program valuable.

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Ready to Get Started?

Choosing a school or program should be a fun experience, as making the decision to return to school is an exciting time in your life, even if it is a slightly stressful one. Athena Career Academy understands the importance of this decision and will work endlessly to help you find a program that is the perfect fit for you and your situation. Our goal is to help you succeed! Contact our admissions team today!

Topics: Flexible Class Schedule, Accredited