It seems unproductive and, honestly, foolish to take an online skilled trades course, right? Learning a skilled trade is such a hands-on endeavor that it would be a waste of time to read about how to do a thing without getting in-person instruction. Now, this is what most people would probably say if you told them you’re taking an auto repair course or a carpentry course online. But, though some people learn best by practicing what they study, an online course can be incredibly useful to someone looking to break into a trade. So, why should you learn a skilled trade online?
Depending on your circumstances, there could be many reasons. Take a recent graduate, Emrie, for example. Emrie grew up in the Virgin Islands and he moved to Florida in 2012 with plans to attend a technical school to learn the diesel mechanics trade. But Emrie ran into a few roadblocks because he needed to have a full-time job to pay for rent, food, and other necessities .There wasn’t a school in the area that had a diesel mechanics program in their night class schedule. So, he put his goal on the back burner until he could find another option. Through research, he found a few other schools, ended up putting time in and moving to a different city to make his dream happen before it fell through again for one reason or another. Emrie, finally feeling like he was going to have to give up his dream, was told about an online option, Penn Foster, by an instructor he trusted. “But then,” Emrie said, “my teacher told me about a course called Penn Foster. So that’s when I said ‘do they have the course?’ And he said ‘oh, it’s the same curriculum, everything!’”
After having trouble finding a school with the program he wanted that would work around his work schedule, an online diesel mechanics program was the right fit for him. He had already had some automotive experience, but diesel mechanics was a completely new field to him. However, he was able to learn the basics and earn a diploma he can put on his resume and “then go out and worry about the hands on aspect later.” Emrie continued, “You can get an apprenticeship, you can do whatever you decide to do after that, but at least you have the diploma now.”
This can work for any other skilled trade program, as well. Most trades have an apprenticeship or training program new hires will take part in to learn the hands on aspects of the job. Whether it’s carpentry, auto repair, or gunsmithing you can learn the theory before you practice and have something you can add to your resume when applying for open positions.
The biggest benefit of online skilled trade programs is that you can do the work around your work schedule. Many students are held back because they contemplate taking time off work or even losing their jobs to go back to school, something most of us can’t afford. But an online program works around your schedule and your needs, without forcing you to sacrifice a paycheck or hours at work.
If you’re someone who feels like they need a career change, or have wanted to pursue a trade or skill and didn’t know where to start your research, don’t dismiss an online school just because you think you won’t learn anything from it. Through digital study guides, detailed online simulations, and video resources, you can begin get the information you need to begin an entry level career in the trade of your dreams. It just takes concentration, dedication, and a deep enjoyment of what you’re learning. With Emrie, it took dedication to his goal to make it to graduation and he knew that. “This was a ‘years and years’ journey,” he said. “It ended with Penn Foster, and when you think about it, it’s going to start with Penn Foster, because Penn Foster education is what’s going to get you to the next chapter in life.”