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Do trade/technical schools hold any value?

Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
What with the new year coming around and a lot of other factors I'm looking to getting back into school. I haven't picked a career path just yet but I'm thinking that technical or trades schools could be a realistic possibility because of their lower cost and shorter time span versus a normal 4 year school. My only real concern is that these technical schools are not real schools and therefor seem kinda shady. I mean, would training from a technical school improve my chances of getting a new job? Anyone have any experience with technical or trade school?

Oh, and for the record I'm thinking of going in for X-ray technician or ultrasound technician... something possibly medical related but not nursing. Not really sure why I'm thinking about these careers but that's whats currently floating around in my head.

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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    X-Ray Techs do make decent money. So do ultrasound techs, but those aren't very trade-schooly, you come out with an associates in most XRtech programs, and a BS (if not more) for ultrasound.

    Depending on the specialty or school an ultrasound tech is a full college degree.

    Look into being an Anesthesia Tech or Surgical Tech if you want something a little quicker (6 month classwork, 6 month rotation). You will make good money but you wont be able to go anywhere directly with the coursework because it's a certification, not a degree.

    Go to your local community college website, look for what programs they offer, go from there.

    edit: By go directly I mean if you're a scrub tech and decide you want to be a nurse, you're back to square one with your education. These sorts of programs will only set you firmly in a single type of position, management will require another degree, there's very little upward mobility and the payscale is predetermined, don't plan on negotiating.

    edit2: Surgical Technologist (scrub tech) is a great job, you can work anywhere and travel for a company who pays your wage and sets you up with housing for the duration of your contract. I will say something though, and you can disregard it if you like.

    If you are going to work in a hospital, especially in surgery you had better have a spine and be able to not back down from big egos or your life will be hell. Some people aren't cut out for it.

    dispatch.o on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yes, trade and tech schools are definitely worth their time. The thinking that trade and tech schools are somehow an inferior version of college is the reason that a plumber can charge you $400 an hour, nobody is going into trades any more, rather they're getting bachelor degrees in Sub-Saharan African Dick Tattooing.

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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Biomedical Technician (biomed engineer), Respiratory Therapist -

    Both pay exceptionally well and you get to do shit all over the hospital.

    Biomed fixes and maintains literally everything in a hospital that isn't shipped back to manufacturer and there's lot of room to specialize if you find you like working on ultrasound equipment or dialysis pumps for example. They make really (REALLY) good money with a few years under their belts too.

    dispatch.o on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yes, trade and tech schools are definitely worth their time. The thinking that trade and tech schools are somehow an inferior version of college is the reason that a plumber can charge you $400 an hour, nobody is going into trades any more, rather they're getting bachelor degrees in Sub-Saharan African Dick Tattooing.

    Get a trade. Work for yourself.

    Make BANK.

    An old highschool friend is a joiner (makes cabinetry). He builds kitchens.

    And is buying his third investment property.

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So it's seeming like if I go to a good trade school and really apply myself I can be doing pretty well for myself in a reasonably short amount of time. For the record I'm not looking to build anything or install anything, such as cable or pipes, because I don't really have the skill set for it... Also, I don't want to drive all over the place going from job to job, I used to do that when I repaired computers and I hated it.

    I think I'm gonna stick with the medical because it seems like it'll be interesting work and probably a pretty stable industry to get into. X-ray and ultrasound still seem the most appealing to me, but that Biomedical Technician job dispatch.o mentioned seems like something fun I might be able to get into... but I seems like it'll require more schooling and time that I can invest right now.

    My goal: to get into school and into a better position then I am now as fast as possible. I currently work a sales position that I absolutely hate but pays decently... In 2010 I made $32,000 working part time at my terrible job. I really just want to get myself ready for a new job before my current job drives me crazy and I flip out and quit.

    Cptn Pants on
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    VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    X-ray and ultrasound still seem the most appealing to me, but that Biomedical Technician job dispatch.o mentioned seems like something fun I might be able to get into... but I seems like it'll require more schooling and time that I can invest right now.

    Hey. I worked as a biomed tech for a year while going to school.

    It's more equipment-based than medical-based, an yes you do get to do a lot of cool shit around the hospital. More advanced imaging equipment required more school. Dunno about the pay, but I made $10/hr as a part-time which was good compared to other jobs on campus. It's more suited to a trade or engineering technology degree than an B.S. in engineering.

    Some stuff is just fixing a mechanical scale by opening the case and screwing around inside while other stuff is standing by during surgery to make sure the defibrillator is in range and working. I actually helped design and calibrate equipment for a new endoscopy wing. Many $thousand+ monitors linked to a network that alarmed at a certain time and fed info to the main desk. Pretty fun, albeit tedious.

    VeritasVR on
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    TalonrazorTalonrazor Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I will be honest.

    Trade & Tech schools in this day and age are probably a better bet then some four year liberal arts degree. I am an Economics Major and I have just tacked on additional medical training (I work as an EMT for a city inebriation patrol and medic for the Army Guard). My economics degree won't get me really anywhere nice and additional medical training will at the very least provide me a fall-back option if I can't get a job as a probation officer.

    If you just want a job, either do a trade or get some kind of applied degree like nursing, engineering, etc.

    I would definitely look at the med-tech options.

    Talonrazor on
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    VeritasVR wrote: »
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    X-ray and ultrasound still seem the most appealing to me, but that Biomedical Technician job dispatch.o mentioned seems like something fun I might be able to get into... but I seems like it'll require more schooling and time that I can invest right now.

    Hey. I worked as a biomed tech for a year while going to school.

    It's more equipment-based than medical-based, an yes you do get to do a lot of cool shit around the hospital. More advanced imaging equipment required more school. Dunno about the pay, but I made $10/hr as a part-time which was good compared to other jobs on campus. It's more suited to a trade or engineering technology degree than an B.S. in engineering.

    Some stuff is just fixing a mechanical scale by opening the case and screwing around inside while other stuff is standing by during surgery to make sure the defibrillator is in range and working. I actually helped design and calibrate equipment for a new endoscopy wing. Many $thousand+ monitors linked to a network that alarmed at a certain time and fed info to the main desk. Pretty fun, albeit tedious.

    The amount of schooling is actually variable. For instance at the hospital I worked at in California they were union. Which meant if you could pass a basic skills test and got accepted you started working immediately as an apprentice at 70% entry level pay and went to school two nights a week for a few years with each year bumping you up 10-15% in pay until you were making full earnings.

    Keeping in mind that some of the guys who had been doing it for 10+ years made around 80k a year, that's not bad. It's something I actually considered (and am still considering). If you calibrate ventilators or anesthesia machines and stuff, you need certifications, which will bump your pay even more.

    It really is a great job.

    edit: a few of the guys doing it were previously enrolled in school for things like electrical engineer and after two years they decided they wanted to just stay biomed because they enjoyed it so much. I'm sure you could easily find some community college that has an entire program for it.

    Also, for the last 5 years running the best paying technical position has been elevator maintenance and repair.

    dispatch.o on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Trade schools are some of the best value/money in education. They also tend to give you jobs that let you work 40 hours a week, and let you leave your work behind when you go home. And since they're for dirty people who can't get into college (in the minds of the people) then you'll always be able to find a job somewhere.

    Engineering degrees aren't even that great anymore, since there are a huge number of out-of-work engineers still scooping the entry-level positions, and there are also a bunch of people who lost their retirement savings in the stock market crash who won't be retiring any more.

    Robman on
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    VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Robman wrote: »
    Trade schools are some of the best value/money in education. They also tend to give you jobs that let you work 40 hours a week, and let you leave your work behind when you go home. And since they're for dirty people who can't get into college (in the minds of the people) then you'll always be able to find a job somewhere.

    Engineering degrees aren't even that great anymore, since there are a huge number of out-of-work engineers still scooping the entry-level positions, and there are also a bunch of people who lost their retirement savings in the stock market crash who won't be retiring any more.

    I sucked at my part-time BMT job because I was a traditional science engineer. It was all lecture, theory, and lab work. There was almost no basic hands-on "make sure you know how to use a torque wrench" stuff. Unfortunately, there was no time for that since modern engineering programs are structured toward research and/or professorship.

    The thing that is harder to get with trade school (compared to a university) is a chance for an eventual top-level promotion. Of course, you could always start your own company...

    VeritasVR on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    That's the big trade-off yes, a lower maximum income cap but roughly equivalent median wages. Electricians and plumbers make surprisingly large amounts of money, and if you have good aptitude for networking can make a shit-ton of money if you start your own business.

    Robman on
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    VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I took the trades route myself, and I have the great satisfaction of knowing that all the engineers, businessmen etc that I work with who look at me like im an un-educated minion... they actually make less money per year than myself and all the other tradesmen.

    Starting wage for me was $22 per hour, with the more experienced trades at my company averaging $30-$45 and the manager of our department (an electrician) making just over 100k per year. To put that into perspective, the director of engineering makes around 80k. Trades are a nice career path, the big thing about them is that you HAVE to love what you do for work to make it, without the drive from that you just won't advance to the management position down the road. I wouldn't change anything if I was to go back and do it all again.

    Varinn on
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    SimpsonsParadoxSimpsonsParadox Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So far most of this has been positive but I'd like to put up a word of caution that it can really depend on the area. For example, here in Florida my local community college has some very good 2ish year programs that routinely have higher hire rates/retention rates than the trade schools they compete against while being a bit cheaper to boot.

    SimpsonsParadox on
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So trade school it is, hearing all this stuff is really making me think trade school is a good path for me... especially due to the amount of time I have to get my life in order. I'm gonna go down to the local county collage and also look into some of the other medical training schools in the area to see what's what.

    Is anyone on here employed as an ultrasound/x-ray tech? Maybe they could shed a little more light on the career and the best way to get things started.

    Cptn Pants on
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    VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    So trade school it is, hearing all this stuff is really making me think trade school is a good path for me... especially due to the amount of time I have to get my life in order. I'm gonna go down to the local county collage and also look into some of the other medical training schools in the area to see what's what.

    Is anyone on here employed as an ultrasound/x-ray tech? Maybe they could shed a little more light on the career and the best way to get things started.

    I worked at a university medical center and the ultrasound/x-ray techs functioned parallel to the biomedical techs in the department of Clinical Engineering. They required more training and schooling but did make more money. Everyone had their workshop in the same place, although there were rooms closer to the "action" if necessary. There was a manger for them and a manager for the BMTs, and both reported to the director (who was typically a former, but experienced BMT, x-ray/ultrasound, or engineer-manager).

    Sometimes it was crazy fighting fires all day, like something didn't work or a doctor was unhappy. Sometimes it was just filling out reports and orders and just taking it easy.

    Try looking up Clinical Engineering and the job requirements at major hospitals to get a good idea of how to get started.

    VeritasVR on
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    chromdomchromdom Who? Where?Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    One thing:

    I am not sure, but it sounds like people may be talking apples and oranges here.
    What do you mean trade and/or tech schools?
    What do you think the suggesting posters mean?

    An ITT Tech or Phoenix University, I have heard differing opinions on regarding their value and their credentials for teaching. Jill & John's School of Nursing and Medical Technology is probably the kind of place you want to stay away from.
    Someone mentioned community colleges: that is probably a pretty good place to at least see where you need to go and what you'll need to learn to get the job s you're interested in.

    Another suggestion: when you do know where you want to aim, call a company/hospital/whatever that hires one of those guys, and ask *them* what they look for when hiring.

    Just throwing $0.02 out there

    chromdom on
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I was looking into either a community collage or maybe like a Berkley collage kind of thing, not sure if anyone here knows if any good schools in new jersey or not, but that's what I'm looking into at this point.

    Cptn Pants on
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    DiorinixDiorinix Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    As a short side note to others reading this thread, traditional college/university schooling is not a *bad* choice, even when you compare cost-effectiveness. The problem with scholary routes is that you're not getting a lot of real world experience in the field you're studying, so unless you enter academia you're disadvantaged against the field of 2-year diploma graduates with 2 years work experience. The advantages are you ARE trained to have more critical thinking skills and can take your education and apply it to other fields that aren't necessarily catered to your degree.

    Anecdote time:

    My wife received her Bachelor of Arts - Psychology from the University of Alberta, but had long since lost the passion for psychology. She started off as a per contract admin assistant for city hall, and within a very short period of time the offices and managers she was being contracted to realized how valuable a graduate with a degree that requires strong research and reporting skills could be to their department. She became permanent within a year as a policy analyst with one group, and was getting headhunted by other departments trying to buy her out. Two years later she's now working for the province in employment policy and international profession standards. That relates to psychology how?

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    chromdom wrote: »
    One thing:

    I am not sure, but it sounds like people may be talking apples and oranges here.
    What do you mean trade and/or tech schools?
    What do you think the suggesting posters mean?

    An ITT Tech or Phoenix University, I have heard differing opinions on regarding their value and their credentials for teaching. Jill & John's School of Nursing and Medical Technology is probably the kind of place you want to stay away from.
    Someone mentioned community colleges: that is probably a pretty good place to at least see where you need to go and what you'll need to learn to get the job s you're interested in.

    Another suggestion: when you do know where you want to aim, call a company/hospital/whatever that hires one of those guys, and ask *them* what they look for when hiring.

    Just throwing $0.02 out there

    As someone who has been there, has a job, don't do it.

    They were absolutely no help, the degree was practically worthless (oh it was worth about $40,000 in loans though) and it took me 5 years to actually get a livable wage because I worked my ass off. If you like $600 a month loan payments, go ahead.

    Stick to vocational schools and trade schools for electricians/carpenters and such. Xray techs are also a good field.

    bowen on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Varinn wrote: »
    Trades are a nice career path, the big thing about them is that you HAVE to love what you do for work to make it, without the drive from that you just won't advance to the management position down the road.

    This is really the key thing about trade schools, for two reasons. One, you're going to be doing a lot of it. If you're a plumber, you're going to be plumbing almost every day. If you're an x-ray tech, you're going to be doing x-rays every day. If you don't think it's interesting, you're going to get sick of it.

    The other reason is that trade schools train you to do, you know, a trade. They don't train you on the more "abstract" elements of education like a liberal arts undergraduate education, because they're teaching you how to do a job. 4-year colleges/universities don't train you how to do a job (just ask anyone in computer science, you don't really learn to code, you learn how computers and compilers work -- coding is just the path to get there).

    That means that a BA/BS *can* be more versatile. I know a guy who's been doing computer programming since the late 70s and he says that for new hires (not so much lately, of course), they hire people with English degrees -- because they want people who are trained to think, not necessarily just code. They can teach coding; they can't teach the "how to think around problems" element that's often a part of a liberal arts education. Having a BA/BS tends to make you more adaptable -- you can do grunt work, supervise, manage, etc. and not necessarily even in your field. The number of people with Classics degrees who don't work in Greek History is proof that these degrees are adaptable.

    Which also means that a BA/BS is riskier, because you can finish and not necessarily have a job. Or not really know how you even start to use what you've learned for getting a job. If you tend to be more practically-minded, you're going to be frustrated with the abstract elements in a BA/BS degree, and it's likely that you won't be trained how to actually DO something, unlike a technical degree.

    So yes, if you are really into medical trades and want to be hands-on with your work, trade schools absolutely have value. They're basically the fastest (and for medical, often the only) way to get into the field.

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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So, yeah I'm totally interested in doing some kind of medical training, but not nursing. The more I talk to people, and read on here about it the more interested I become. I'm going to start getting heavy into the research next week when things calm down in my personal life. Thanks again guys! I'll keep this open just incase anyone else has something to add.

    Cptn Pants on
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