Technical School: What to Expect During Your First Semester

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Because technical schools are geared towards preparing you for a specific career, their philosophy and method of education is different from that of traditional colleges. Therefore, instead of spending a lot of time on general education courses that have no impact on your ability to work in your field, your time from the first day will be spent on getting you prepared for work.

At technical schools, you are often learning at an accelerated pace. While some offer bachelor’s degree programs that include some general education courses, most offer one and two year diplomas. There are also some that have certificate programs that are only one or two semesters long. The length of a semester depends on the school. While some might have semesters that are 9 weeks, others have 16 week semesters.

If you are in a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program, there may be some general education prerequisite courses that you have to take. This means that there will be first year English, math and science courses. However, if you are seeking a certificate or diploma, the fact that you are getting ready to enter the workforce means most technical schools will have classrooms that resemble your future work environment. Business and technology programs, like those offered at the Interactive College of Technology, can also include programs that help you receive hands-on experience. A first semester accounting student can expect to find themselves using adding machines and computers, while a student in a first semester welding course will be working with the welding and safety equipment. In each type of study, there are fundamentals to learn and practical applications that will need to be demonstrated. The classes you take from the very first semester will be relevant to the career path that you have chosen.

Your first semester of technical school might also include other career readiness trainings, including learning to write a resume, preparing for interviews and how to conduct online job searches. Because many technical schools have job placement programs, you will most likely be working with a career counselor at some point during the first or second semester. Their success at placing graduates is key to technical schools maintaining a reputation on par with traditional colleges.

Not as much time is spent on social or extracurricular activities at a technical school. Because of this, there are times you may feel as though you are missing out on an essential part of the college experience. However, the education and experience you gain will help you to begin working towards your career goals immediately after graduation.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.