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Georgia Technical Schools - Georgia Technical Schools - What Field Do I Want to Study?

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No one doubts the importance of education, but what they do doubt is the best way that education is received. Some learners look at conventional college degrees as overpriced wastes of time—years of effort spent learning advanced mathematics, philosophy, history, and theory that, as interesting as it may be, has limited benefits to a particular trade. For many learners, it is more important to get in the workforce quickly and affordably than to put life on hold to study academic inquiry up close. For learners who wish to develop expertise in a practical trade, technical schools provide an efficient alternative to a conventional four-year degree.

The Technical College System of Georgia maintains more than twenty Georgia technical colleges, but students should not approach these institutions without first answering a few questions about their educational wants and needs.

What Field Do I Want to Study?

Georgia technical schools provide many fields for study. Some students begin their search with a trade already in mind, but others have yet to settle on a vocation. Basic categories for most tech schools can be summarized as follows:

  • Business: The “I want to handle money” major, business includes marketing, finance, and entrepreneurialism.
  • Communications: Those interested in television, radio, and internet communication should consider this degree.
  • Computer and Information Sciences: For programmers, developers, and data handlers, this field is for people who want to spend their work day at a computer.
  • Construction Trades: Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and other tradesmen belong to this category.
  • Services: Personal services like cosmetology and hair styling as well as culinary services like food preparation are available at some technical schools, while others are known to specialize in these fields.
  • Education: Education programs offer teaching certificates for the K-12 level.
  • Engineering: Anything dealing with drafting or dealing with expensive instruments.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences: Prepares students to care for human beings, ranging from child to pediatric care.
  • Health/Clinical: Includes nursing and certifications for using medical equipment such as x-rays, dialysis machines, etc.
  • Legal: This small field can secure work as a legal secretary or assistant.
  • Mechanical: This broad field deals with tech repair and equips students to install and repair televisions, air conditioners, and other large mechanical devices.
  • Precision Production: Includes delicate construction like woodworking and welding.
  • Science: For work as a laboratory technician.

Will I Be Full-Time or Part-Time?

To be a full-time student at Georgia technical colleges, a student must enroll in at least 12 credit hours. Being a full-time student carries several advantages such as health insurance and more financial aid options. The immersive environment should not be underestimated, either—many students stretch themselves far too thin in their attempts to juggle life with school, and being a full-time student allows for focused, thorough study.

Part-time study carries an entirely different set of advantages. For one, it allows school to be just one of many priorities, making it a common choice for parents, promotion-seeking workers, and other students with living situations which do not allow for full time study. Additionally, some learners prefer the one-at-a-time pacing of part-time study preferable to the rigorous workloads of full time learning.

Which Georgia Technical School Should I Pick?

For some learners, the school will choose itself. Many attendees prefer to attend local institutions for ease of commuting and residence. However, for those willing to travel, a few Georgia Technical Schools offer particularly robust programs. The two most well-respected Georgia technical schools are the Georgia Institute of Technology and Lanier Technical College.

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is Georgia’s most well-known technical school. Its School of Electrical and Computer engineering produces more electrical and computer engineers than any school in the United States. Additionally, its other programs are in the top 10 of college rankings in the U.S. News and World Report. A highly international school, it maintains a presence in China, Italy, Germany, and France as well as the U.S., a fact reflected locally in its substantial international population. It offers both graduate and undergraduate courses, making it a valid contender for more ambitious professional plans.

Lanier Technical College, or Lanier Tech, is a strong contender to Georgia Tech in terms of quality and reputation. Unlike Georgia Tech, Lanier specializes in two-year certificates in the fields of health (nursing, paramedic), personal and public service (cosmetology, fire science), business and computer (accounting, computer information systems), and technical and industrial (plumbing, electronics). Students speak very highly of Lanier’s programs, winning an overall student ranking unmatched by even Georgia Tech.

Georgia, Lanier, and other institutions also offer distance learning—the ability to complete the majority of coursework from home. This increasingly popular option allows learners to study at Georgia technical schools regardless of location and is preferred by nontraditional students such as stay-at-home parents, full-time workers, and the disabled.

How Will I Pay For It?

The Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) is the usual first step in obtaining aid for higher education. Beyond that are numerous technical schools which offer in-house scholarships based on merit, need, and other factors. If a potential student has been out of school for an extended period of time, a growing number of scholarships for non-traditional students have become available, offering aid to non-traditional students age 24 and older.

Once you are in, how soon can you be bringing in a paycheck? This depends on whether you are seeking a one-and-a-half degree certificate or a three year associate’s degree. As of 2009, an average of 43% of Georgia technical school students have finished their 18 month degrees, while an additional 33% have completed three year degrees ( Report Card dot Org 2009).

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