One of the incredible aspects of technology is that it allows more people to access more information than ever before. While the internet provides us with limitless information, some things, such as skilled trades, are better learned in a hands-on environment. There are some clear differences between in-person trade schools and online schools when considering which choice is right for you.
At Virginia Technical Academy, we pride ourselves on ensuring that our graduates are ready to join the workforce and pursue a rewarding career. Here are some reasons why an in-person trade school might be the choice for you.
People are often drawn to online schooling options because of the flexibility it offers. While this flexibility may sound appealing, it can also pose a huge issue. How many friends or family members do you know who purchased an online course, only to never actually even listen to the first lesson? You should recognize that unless you are extremely self-motivated, you will struggle to complete an online trade certification program within a reasonable timeframe.
There’s nothing wrong with the flexibility that online trade certification programs offer, but it does come at a price: you will be the only one holding yourself accountable. If you are like most people and require some external motivation and support, learning a trade online is not setting yourself up for success. You might require 1-on-1 time with instructors and support to reach your full potential.
One of the benefits of going to an actual brick-and-mortar trade school like Virginia Technical Academy is that your money will earn you a certification that can be the start of an empowering future. Unfortunately, many online schools lack accreditation, but they still market themselves as an accredited institution. Some of these online trade schools are actually diploma mills, where the real focus is on a quick profit rather than helping students with a practical education. Avoid these traps at all costs. Additionally, online trade schools also might not offer the high-quality courses and personalized instruction that are available at in-person trade schools.
Building a Strong Network
At the end of the day, an education is about learning the right skills and leveraging those skills to make sure that you can enjoy an in-demand career with a tremendous amount of earning potential. However, it should be noted that having a strong network is often key to getting a job.
In fact, employee referrals are still a tremendous reason why millions get hired every year. An in-person trade school allows you to develop a network that can lead to lucrative opportunities in the future.
Furthermore, you may find a mentor at a trade school, who can continue helping you or giving you advice throughout your career. This may prove invaluable to your future. Mentors might urge you to view things from a different perspective or give you practical advice that can lead to future success. Online trade schools miss out on this relationship-building aspect of school, which might be crucial for helping students who require a support system.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of in-person trade schools that online programs lack is the hands-on experience. Trade careers such as HVAC repair and electrical services are extremely hands-on and require in-person training. Online programs do not adequately prepare candidates to enter the workforce upon completion, because there are some things that are impossible to master by sitting in front of a computer screen. Skilled trades are prime examples.
In-Person Trade School vs. Online Programs: Which Is Right For You?
There are certain situations where you might find that an online trade school offers you the flexibility that you need, due to existing personal and professional obligations. However, many find that it takes a significant amount of self-discipline to stay on track and meticulous research to make sure that your online trade school is properly accredited.
One of the reasons that Virginia Technical Academy has been so successful is because we truly believe in equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the future workforce. We also believe that networking and building professional relationships is an important part of an education that is missing from many online trade schools.