Updated: Apr 21, 2020
Investing in education can be one of the best career moves you ever make. Shopping for the best school can be a very time-consuming process, especially considering transportation, tuition cost, and quality of education. One term used often by trade schools, but rarely understood is Accreditation. Accreditation means whether or not a school can give students college credits. The importance of Accreditation is completely different when comparing a trade or vocational school with a community college or university.
Accreditation In Colleges & How College Credits Work
College Offer Degrees
Making sure that you are enrolled in an accredited program at an accredited college is very important if you are seeking a career that requires a college degree. Accreditated schools give college credits for each class taken by a student. Some classes may be worth 1 or 3 credits while classes may be worth 4 or more. These credits are important in order to earn a degree. For example:
Associates Degree: Requires 60 college credits
Bachelors Degree: Requires 120 college credits ( In total: Including Associates)
Maters Degrees: Typically require anywhere from 150 - 175 college credits (In total: Including Bachelors and Associates)
PH-D ( Doctor of Philosophy): Usually requires 200 - 210 college credits (In total: including Masters, Bachelors, and Associates)
Associates' degrees usually take about 2 to 3 years to earn. Once you have an Associates's degree you go to a university and earn a bachelor's degree which may take an additional 2 - 3 years of schooling. After you complete a bachelor's degree, you can choose to further your education and earn a master's and Phd these programs may last 3-5 years each.
Accreditation In Trade School & How Certifications Work
Trade Schools Offer Certifications NOT degrees
If you enroll in a vocational or trade school odds are that the field or career you wish to enter requires that you have a certification. This means you are certified in a particular skill.
If the trade school you wish to attend is accredited that means that they can offer classes that students can receive college credits for. However, those college credits you earn at a trade school cannot really be used towards a degree. The purpose of attending a Trade school is to receive a certification in something to certify you have the ability to perform the given task or skill. For example:
Phlebotomy Technicians in new jersey are usually required to be certified in order to work in a hospital or healthcare facility. To be certified as a Phlebotomy Technician (Phlebotomist) you will have to complete a training program.
In this program, you will learn all the important information and skills needed for national certification exams.
NOWHERE IS WHERE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCREDITED AND NON-ACCREDITED (Private) TRADE SCHOOL's COME IN. Phlebotomy training can last around 5 - 6 weeks. If you attend an accredited program you may be enrolled for 6 months to 1 year and be required to take additional college-level classes like A&P, Biology, Microbiology, and Pharmacological. At an Un-accredited trade school, your program may last 5-6 weeks and once your training is completed you can apply for jobs and enter the workforce directly.
Some colleges offer Phlebotomy training programs and will require you take additional classes along with your training. These additional will come at a cost and take longer to complete. For example, some accredited programs for Phlebotomy training cost $15,000 and take a year to complete, while some non-accredited trade schools cost $950 and take about 2 months to complete.
Accredited trade schools or colleges are not a bad schooling route however they are just very expensive and require a long time commitment. It is also important to remember that a lot of trade school programs such as phlebotomy technician, EKG technician, Patient Care Technician, and Medical Assistant does not have a degree requirement. In fact, there are no degree options for these programs because they simply do not exist. Receiving college credits in your training at a trade school will not be the determining factor as to whether or not you land a job.
What You Should Know About Your Trade School
When selecting your school of choice there are a few very important questions you should ask your potential school to ensure that you make the best decision possible. Here is a list of questions you should ask:
1. Is the program approved by the State Department of Education
Is the program approved by the department of labor and workforce development
What certification body will award me my certification?
How long are my certifications valid for?
What is the renewal process like and How often will I have to renew my certification?
Is this school an approved testing site for my national exam or will I have to go somewhere else and pay a fee?
How long will it take for me to receive my certification?
What to do with this information
Knowing the difference between accredited and non-accredited schools can save you a lot of money and time. When the trade schools first started offering education one of the selling points of this route was that you will only focus on the skill you need to know for a job. This option was appealing to people who did not want to spend years in college paying for classes for information they would not use once they entered the workforce. Some trade schools have fallen away from the intended idea. Being informed on what accreditation means, can enable you to make the best decision for your future. Here's a list of our Top 10 most popular trade school programs.