5 Things Adult Learners Should Look for in a Career Training Program
For most adults, going back to school is not easy. Juggling coursework while working or caring for family can put a strain on life. But there’s a reason why 6.6 million adults over 25 (35% of American students) choose to embrace the struggle every year.
Many adult learners cite increased earning potential as their motivation for returning to school. Others say they want a career they can be proud of. Most are just tired of dreading the job they sleepily trudge to every Monday morning. It’s important to remind yourself of your own reasons for pushing forward.
Choosing the Right Vocational School
Not all career training programs are equal, and the nearby option is not always the best option. When comparing programs, it’s important to consider how your education will fit in with the rest of your busy life. You’ll also want to make sure the culture of the college is supportive of nontraditional students: those of us who are older, parents, military veterans, or full-time workers.
When deciding what college you want to attend, look for one that fits each of the following descriptions:
1. Flexible Scheduling
For adult learners, flexibility is key. Your full-time job may not work with a program that only offers classes in the morning or afternoon. What’s more, most adults simply can’t afford to not work while attending school. Car payments, rent and childcare costs make sure of that.
Programs that offer classes at multiple times of day often solve this common problem. Many nontraditional students choose to attend classes in the evening because it’s the only time left in their day. Sure, going from work to class can be tough, but it’s important to remember what you’re working towards.
Online courses may be tempting, but they don’t usually provide the crucial hands-on training that many careers require—especially in the medical field. Plus, it can be highly motivating to attend class in person with like-minded, ambitious peers.
2. Short-term Programs
Many of us know we need a change, but it can be tough to justify putting life on pause for a few years in a college program. A community college may require you to fill your schedule with unnecessary courses that are not relevant to your career path, just to meet arbitrary requirements.
Fortunately, there are options that will allow you to achieve your goals much more quickly. A good vocational school will only require you to take courses that will help you succeed in your career. From Dental Assisting to Therapeutic Massage, many career training programs can be completed in less than a year at a career training college.
3. Accessible Advising
At many colleges, advisors require you make an appointment weeks in advance, only to provide you with generic, unhelpful information. It doesn’t have to be that way.
A good college will employ helpful advisors that are willing to step out of their comfort zone to assist with life’s complications—including everything from childcare, to housing, and even relationship issues. You need someone that will help you stay on track to complete your goals, and hold you accountable for achieving them.
What’s more, they should be available by email, phone, or in person. Sound like a dream? These advisors exist at small career colleges.
4. Career Placement Assistance
As an adult going back to school, you’re probably looking for reassurances that the time, money and energy you invest in college will pay off. What’s the point of a diploma if you can’t put it to work?
The best career training programs have strong established relationships with community businesses. These connections are invaluable, because they can help you land a job after graduation. Employers familiar with the college and its programs know what they can expect of graduates.
At IBMC College, students perform a portion of their hands-on training at local businesses. It’s a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills, and sometimes, they’re hired on by these employers. The college also employs a Career Services team, dedicated to connecting IBMC graduates with available work opportunities—even if it’s been years since you graduated.
5. Community Atmosphere
After a long day at work or taking care of kids, you need a campus where you’ll feel welcomed and supported. It may not seem important at first; you might think you’re too busy to make new friends. But even having a small group of like-minded peers alongside you during your training can be a huge help with studying, networking, and having a better college experience.
That community atmosphere is commonly found at small, local career colleges. Everyone around you is working toward the same goals, which can be motivation to continue studying hard. Plus, small class sizes with lots of hands-on work accelerate friendship and community among peers.
Is it Time for a Career Change?
Balancing school, work and other aspects of life is a true undertaking, but investing in yourself is always worth it. Speak with a no-pressure Admissions Representative today to explore all of the short-term career training programs at IBMC College in Fort Collins, Greeley, or Longmont.