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If you haven’t seen Pittsburgh recently, and still think of it as as the Smoky City, an industrial wasteland… think again. Pittsburgh was recently voted the Most Livable City in America by Places Rated Almanac, “America’s Best City for Relocating Families” in 2008 by Worldwide ERC, and the 10th cleanest city in the United States by Forbes magazine. In addition, a thriving healthcare industry and burgeoning high-tech sector have been seeking more skilled technicians. Luckily there are a large variety of technical and trade schools to help fill this need. If you’re thinking about enrolling in one of these schools around Pittsburgh, there are several factors you need to consider.

Academic Programs and Degrees: Does the school offer the program I want? Can I switch programs? How long will it take to complete my degree program?

Location and Online Presence: How far is the school from where I live or want to move? Can I take some or all of my classes online?

Finding a Job: Will the school help me find a job? What kinds of jobs are available with this degree? Are there positions in Pittsburgh, or will I have to move to find a job?

Of course, the first thing you need to do is find a school which offers the degree you want. Pittsburgh has an abundance of technical and trade schools that Tech Talk City offer Associate’s or equivalent degrees. If you’re unfamiliar with the schools in and around Pittsburgh, PA, here is a list to check out, along with what they specialize in. You will of course want to talk with the school before applying to see exactly what the degree programs entail and how long they take.

Bidwell Training Center – (Culinary, Medical, High-Tech programs)

Dean Institute of Technology – (HVAC, Building Maintenance, Electrical Technology, Combination Welding)

Rosedale Technical Institute – (Automotive, Diesel, Electric Technicians)

ITT Technical Institute – (High-Tech, IT (Information Technology), Business degrees)

Triangle Tech – (Carpentry, HVAC, Building Trades)

Western School of Health and Business Careers – (Medical, Business programs)

Pennsylvania Culinary Institute – (Culinary programs)

PennsylvaniaGunsmithSchool – (Gunsmithing)

Pittsburgh Technical Institute – (Business, Criminal Justice, Design, Technology and Healthcare programs)

There is a saying in Pittsburgh that “Pittsburghers don’t cross rivers.” Although the city’s numerous bridges make the city look pretty, they are choke points during morning and evening rush hour. Other infamous choke points include Route 28 in the North Hills, Squirrel Hill Tunnel, and Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Although traffic is not as bad in Pittsburgh as in other cities in America, it’s important to try to live close to where you go to school, and to avoid any choke points in your commute. It will mean more time and energy for you to concentrate on schoolwork. Of course, this is a moot point if you are able to take all of your classes online!

Some schools are better than others at helping students find jobs after graduation. It is ideal if you are able to talk to current and former students about their experiences at the school. Although current students will be able to tell you about campus life and how they are being prepared for the work force, only the former students will be able to tell you how easily they were able to start their new career after the school’s preparation. They can also tell you about the job market in that particular area and thus may help you pick exactly which degree to pursue.

Right now, employers in Pittsburgh are looking for employees with skills in health care and information technology. According to WPXI, a local television station, the jobs most in demand require some post-secondary education. Among the top five fastest-growing occupations in the area are computer support specialists, desktop publishers, respiratory specialists, respiratory therapy technicians, and cardiovascular technicians. Therefore, if you’re looking to stay in the Pittsburgh area after you graduate, these may be good fields to look into for your studies.

In conclusion, when you’re looking for a trade or technical school in Pittsburgh, you’re going to look for many of the same things that you would look for in a school anywhere else: good teachers, good programs, and a good location. However, there are a few specific things to check for when you’re looking at a program near Pittsburgh, including making sure that your school does not have choke points between you and the school, and that the programs you select are in demand in Pittsburgh. Good luck finding the technical school or trade school of your dreams in Pittsburgh, PA!

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